One of the key criteria that students need to meet in order to be eligible for Youth Allowance benefits is to be considered as independent from their parents. Centrelink sees independence as a specific set of criteria in which someone needs to meet in order to be considered for any Centrelink benefits with Youth Allowance. This means that if someone who is dependent on their parents may be ineligible for any Youth Allowance payment from Centrelink as their parents are considered to be providing for them. Although this is provided their parents have the capacity to support them.
So what is Centrelinks criteria for determining if you are Independent from your parents?
Firstly if you are 22 years or older you are automatically independent and will not need to worry. For those 21 or younger there is other criteria such as having parents that cannot exercise their responsibility or extreme family breakdown. Having a dependant child of your own is another criteria or being married or in a registered de facto relationship. There is several other criteria and this is all available on their website.
One interesting way students can become eligible for Youth Allowance is if they have supported themselves through full time through paid employment for 18 months and have worked at least 30 hours per week throughout this period you may be considered independent. This is interesting as some students after finishing school upon finding out they do not have the capacity to support themselves through university may choose to work for 18 months and support themselves. This may enable them to become eligible for Youth Allowance, give them a chance to save for university and also get some real world experience.
So what happens when you fail the Independence test?
Well its not an open and closed case that you are definitely not eligible for Youth Allowance. You may in fact still be eligible but what happens is Centrelink does what’s called the Parental Means Test, where they look at whether the Parents have the capacity to support the dependant Student. Centrelink will require a whole lot of paperwork on their parent’s assets and income to determine this. If their parents do not have the capacity to support, then the Student may be eligible for Youth Allowance.