Do you want to apply for Centrelink youth allowance or another payment, but don’t know ABSTUDY from an Assets Test?
Government services can seem like a maze of confusing terms and endless forms, and its not always easy to know where to start.
But when you take things step by step, the process can be simpler than you think.
Your first step is to work out what kind of services you might be eligible for. There are different kinds of payments you may be able to get. They include:
- Youth Allowance, for students, apprentices and other young people
- ABSTUDY for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students
- the Disability Support Pension, for people living with a disability
- Rent Assistance, to help low income earners pay rent
- Newstart, for if you don’t have a job at the moment.
You might also be able to get concessions through Centrelink that can help you out with public transport and medical expenses.
Be aware of your situation
Lots of things affect whether or not you get a payment, and how much you’ll get if you do. They include:
- your age
- how much money you have (this is the assets test we were talking about earlier!)
- how much money you currently earn
- whether or not you’re studying
- your living situation
- whether or not you live with a partner
- how much your parents or guardians earn.
It’s worth having some idea about this stuff before you deal with Centrelink directly. But don’t worry if you’re not sure about your eligibility – they can talk you through it in person or on the phone.
Get in touch with Centrelink
There are different ways to get in touch with Centrelink to find out more information so you can make a claim.
The great thing about calling up is that you’ll be put directly through to the service you need. Wait times can be over an hour though, so it’s a good idea to call first thing in the morning or listen to your phone through headphones so you can do something else while you’re on hold. Give them a buzz on 132 011.
Sometimes the easiest way to explain your situation is to talk to someone face to face. There are Centrelink centres all over the country – find your local centre here. They’re often very busy and you might have to wait – so make sure to leave yourself lots of time and bring a book or something else to do.
You can access more and more Government services online. Register with MyGov then download the Express Plus mobile app. You’ll have access to more info, plus you can make claims and report your income and activity requirements.
Once you’ve spoken to Centrelink staff and made your claim, you’ll have to wait while Centrelink processes it. This can take around twelve weeks but can vary depending on the service.
Do your activities
Sometimes you’ll need to do things to get your payments, including:
- Going to appointments with an employment service provider
- Applying for a certain number of jobs per fortnight
- Telling Centrelink how other much money (if any) you have earned
- Meet certain university study obligations
- Work for the dole
It’s important you know what these activities are, and do them properly – if you don’t, you could lose your payments! If you’re not sure of something, it’s always good to ask.
Check out our tips on how to finance your studies. If money worries are having a big impact on your mood, it could be a good idea to seek some emotional support. Get in touch with your local headspace centre today.