Many of us like to think of ourselves as being independent in some way or another; perhaps you see yourself as being an independent thinker and enjoy having the right to your own opinions and beliefs and actions.

For Centrelink, being “Independent” essentially means that your capacity to qualify to Youth Allowance is based only on your income (and rent assistance), not your parents’ income.

There are several various ways you can be considered as Independent by Centrelink and these are described below

INDEPENDENT: Age

You are automatically considered Independent for Youth Allowance purposes from the day you turn 22.

INDEPENDENT: Special Circumstances

If you are a refugee, an orphan, are in state care or have been in state care you are deemed to be Independent. This is also the case if you have a dependent child, or your parents cannot exercise their care taking responsibilities over you

INDEPENDENT: Working

If you have worked an average of 30 hours a week over 18 months in the last 2 years, you can demonstrate Independence for YA and ABSTUDY. Remote & regional students may apply for ‘Independence’ on the basis of employment through income or hours worked. For more information on this go to the SRC’s leaflet: srcusyd.net.au/src-help/centrelink/independence.

INDEPENDENT: Relationship

If you and your partner are a ‘Youth Allowance Couple’ you are considered ‘Independent’. You can also qualify as ‘Independent’ if you have been in such a relationship in the past.

You are part of a ‘Youth Allowance Couple’ if you are:

  • legally married and living together; or
  • in a same-sex relationship registered at a state or territory level; or
  • in a same-sex or opposite-sex de-facto relationship, including living together, for a continuous period of at least 12 months.

Your partner’s income and assets can affect your Centrelink payment. See the SRC’s leaflet: srcusyd.net.au/src-help/centrelink/relationships.

INDEPENDENT: Unreasonable to Live at Home (UTLAH)

If you have already moved out of your parent(s) home and can demonstrate it is ‘unreasonable’ for you to live with your parent(s), Centrelink will consider you ‘Independent’. Generally, Centrelink will consider it unreasonable if you, or someone in your home, is subjected to physical, emotional or sexual violence. There are a few other circumstances that may be consider. For more information go to: http://srcusyd.net.au/src-help/centrelink/independence.

You will need three supporting documents: One by you, one by a parent (not always possible) and one by a third party who is aware of your family life (e.g., counsellor, doctor, police office, teacher, religious leader, adult relative, or as a last resort, friend). Centrelink will probably ask to contact your parent(s), but you can instruct them not to if you believe contact could put you in danger.

For help with any information about Centrelink call 9660 5222 to make an appointment, or email your question to help@src.usyd.edu.au.