Tackling the Centrelink Beast

Centrelink can be confusing and overwhelming in trying to understand entitlements and working out exactly what payments you are eligible to receive.

The main payments that some students may be eligible to apply for are Youth Allowance and Austudy, but there may be other types of payments which you may be eligible for depending on your circumstances. It is also important that you check that you are getting all your entitlements.

General information to be aware of:

  • When trying to work out the type of payment and how to apply you should start by using the online payment and service finder.
  • There are different eligibility requirements for each type of payment and additional supplementary payments such as rent assistance, living away from home allowance, student start-up loan and of course a concessional health care card, so it is essential you check you are getting all your entitlements.
  • In getting an overall sense of your entitlements and any requirements check the Centrelink bible otherwise known as A guide to Australian Government payments.
  • If looking through detailed and complex information causes you further confusion or if you have just given up, we recommend registering for an appointment with a Financial Counsellor. They can help explain your entitlements, any requirements, and more importantly, exceptions.
  • While generally you are not considered independent of your parental income for Youth Allowance assessment purposes until you are 22 years of age, there are some limited exceptions to this rule, and you should book in with a Financial Counsellor if you want to find out more.
  • In addition, while on Youth Allowance or Austudy, you can earn up to $480 a fortnight without your Centrelink payment rate being affected.
  • You can also ask for an explanation or review of a Centrelink decision if you lodge an SS351 within 13 weeks of being given notice of the original decision. Financial Counsellors can also advise and support you in lodging this form.

Financial Counsellors at La Trobe

If you want to further understand or discuss your options in relation to Centrelink or are struggling with the cost of living or any other financial issues, do not forget to contact your Financial Counsellor who will help you in working your options.

For more information on the range of services, Financial Counselling can provide or register for an appointment, visit our Financial Counselling website.