There have been many recent changes to Centrelink payments following the COVID-19 outbreak. For accurate, up-to-date information go to: http://ejaustralia.org.au/wp/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Claiming-Centrelink-during-COVID-19.pdf.

A number of changes in rules or your circumstances might now make you eligible. These include: 

  • If you are considered ‘dependent’ and your parents’ income has changed then Centrelink can look at their current financial year income for the ‘parental income test’.
  • If one of your parent’s starts receiving a Centrelink income support payment that might also help when they look at the parent income test.
  • There have also been a temporary suspension of the Newly Arrived Residents Waiting Period and changes to the Liquid Asset Waiting Period

If in doubt, always apply. Do so as soon as possible, as payments can only be backdated to the time you apply. Waiting on the phone for Centrelink can take a few hours: where possible try applying online, or be prepared for that wait.

To remain eligible for a student payment (such as Youth Allowance (student), Austudy, or Abstudy), you need to be enrolled full-time (18 credit points or more), unless you have a medically documented “temporary incapacity”. If there are other COVID-19 related reasons (such as, accommodation problems or caring duties), recent changes allow for some relaxation of the Activity Test. Seek advice from a, SRC caseworker before dropping to part time study. Please note: if you stop receiving your student payment, you will also stop receiving the “Coronavirus supplement”.