ASK ABE: Centrelink payments cut off

Dear Abe,

I hope you can help me with a problem I have with Centrelink. I am in my third year of my health science course and I am on a Youth Allowance payment. Even though I didn’t receive anything previously, they say that the one year I did at another uni doing a similar course counts towards the amount of time I’m allowed to study and my payments will run out in the middle of the year. Is this true? And if so, what can I do?

Healthy Now


Dear Healthy Now,

The basic formula for the “satisfactory progress” (or maximum allowable time for completion for Austudy) of your course is the normal length of your course plus the length of one subject. For example, for a Bachelor of Arts course that would be 3 years plus 1 semester. If you had completed the previous course, you would be allowed the full 3 years plus 1 semester. If you withdrew from the course, because of “special circumstances beyond (your) control”, you would also be allowed the full 3 years plus 1 semester. However, if you did not complete the previous course, and you did not have special circumstances causing you to withdraw, the amount of time allowed would include the time spent at the other course.

So to answer your question, if you had special circumstances (with documentation) you would be able to study for 7 semesters in this degree and be payable. If you did not have special circumstances, you would be eligible for 7 semesters minus 2 semesters (from previous study).

If you were on an Austudy payment this answer would be completely different!
In terms of alternative payments for the period not covered by Youth Allowance you should talk to an SRC Caseworker to see if there is another payment available.


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