The Student Income Bank (SIB) is like an imaginary bank account of income test credit. Centrelink understands many students work more during holidays and the SIB is designed to average out the impact of your earnings.
INCREASES TO YOUR SIB
Each fortnight your SIB goes up by the amount your income is below $437, e.g., if you have no income, your SIB increases by $437; if you earn $300 your SIB increases by $137. The maximum your SIB can accumulate to is $10,900. Your SIB is not reset each semester or year – it rolls over so you can keep your credit as you study. However, if you cease being a full-time student you lose any credit and start from $0 again when you return to full time study.
DECREASES TO YOUR SIB
If you earn more than $437 in a fortnight, Centrelink will look at your SIB before reducing your payment. Your payment is reduced only if your SIB is $0. If you have credit left in your SIB, then your SIB will be reduced by the amount your income is over $437 that fortnight, e.g., if you earn $600 your SIB credit goes down by $163 without your payment being reduced. Your SIB cannot go below zero. Once your SIB hits zero the amount of income left over that fortnight is subject to the Personal Income Test and the Partnered Income Test, and your payment will be reduced.
CALCULATING PAYMENT REDUCTIONS
If you know your SIB balance and your fortnightly gross (before tax) income, you can work out if your payment will be reduced and by how much. Here are some scenarios.
Your payment will not be reduced if:
Your payment will be reduced if your income is over $437 and you do not have enough SIB balance to offset this.
You receive no payment if:
If your SIB balance is zero, you will not receive a student payment in a fortnight if your income in that fortnight is:
$966.84 per fortnight, Living at home, single, no dependents $1,234 per fortnight, living away from home, single, no dependents (slightly higher if you are eligible for Rent Assistance)
Also, if the amount of your payment reduction exceeds your maximum payable amount of Youth Allowance or Austudy you will get no payment that fortnight.
PARTNERS INCOME: THE PARTNERED INCOME TEST
If you have a partner (either married or de facto), you will be subjected to the Partner Income Test each fortnight, regardless of whether you share money or not. Your Youth Allowance or Austudy payment is reduced by 60c for every dollar that your partner’s gross income in a fortnight goes over: $1,234 – if they are getting Austudy or Youth Allowance as a full-time student. That number is the point at which your partner would not be payable for their Centrelink payment.
If your partner is not getting Austudy or Youth Allowance as a full-time student then your payment is reduced by 60c for every dollar that your partner’s gross income in a fortnight goes over: $994 – if they are 22 or older, or $944 – if they are under 22 years old.
These numbers are the points at which they would not be payable for the relevant Centrelink payment as a job seeker [Youth Allowance (Jobseeker) and Newstart Allowance (Partnered)], whether they get those payments or not. Your partner might be working, or a student and not on a payment, but Centrelink still use those numbers.
Different rules apply if your partner is receiving a social security or service pension (e.g., Age Pension).
Do they have to look at your partner’s income?
Whether you are in a defacto or marriage like relationship is an open question, particularly if you have lived with your partner for under 12 months and/or do not consider this to be a permanent arrangement. See the SRC leaflet Relationships & Centrelink for more information about how your relationship may affect your payment.
THE PARENTAL INCOME TEST
If you are on Austudy or YA independent (e.g., over 22 years), you do not need to worry about your Parental Income.
If you are on ‘dependent’ Youth Allowance, Centrelink looks at your Parental Income annually. Your payment will not vary each fortnight because of your parent/s income.
See the SRC leaflet How Parental Income Affects Youth Allowance for more information.
For any Centrelink information make an appointment with an SRC Caseworker by calling 9660 5222.
Students' Representative Council, University of Sydney