Increases in the 2013 Centrelink Budget and What This Means for Students
The Australian government has tweaked the 2013 budget to provide more help to recipients of assistance payments. The three types of additional assistance include the Schoolkids Bonus to replace the Education Tax Refund, the Family Tax Benefit Part A and the Supplementary Allowance.
If you’re a student currently receiving Austudy or Youth Allowance payments, you will be able to take advantage of the new Supplementary Allowance from March 2013.
What is Supplementary Allowance?
Supplementary Allowance is a new type of assistance payment that provides you with two additional payments per year. The program will start in March 2013 and will help more than one million people.
The amount you receive depends on whether you’re single. If you’re single, you will receive $210 per year; If you have a partner or a dependent child, you will get $175 per year.
The payment will be disbursed in two installments — you will get half the amount in March and the other half in September. Each time, the amount will be indexed to Consumer Price Index (CPI) so it keeps up with inflation. This means that the payments will go up over time.
The Supplementary allowance is non-taxable.
How Do I Apply for Supplementary Allowance?
If you already receive Austudy or Youth Allowance payments, you don’t have to do anything to start receiving Supplementary Allowance payments. You will automatically start receiving your first Supplementary Allowance payment on your first payday after 20 March 2013.
The money will go directly into your nominated bank account, so be sure to check your account transactions on the day you’re scheduled to receive your first assistance payment after March 2013.
What’s in the Future for Supplementary Allowance?
The Supplementary Allowance program does not have an end date, which means that it will continue indefinitely until the government decides otherwise.
Before the government decided on Supplementary Allowance, welfare groups and the Greens had been running a campaign to push for an increase in allowance payments.
While Supplementary Allowance provides additional financial support, it’s only about $4 more per week than before. This is a lot less than the $50 per week increase the campaign wanted.
There is concern that the Supplementary Allowance payments are not enough. Politicians, businesses and community groups are calling for even higher payments and this could possibly happen in the near future.