To qualify for YA, a person must meet the criteria listed in the following table. Where more detail about a criterion is required, the second column indicates where you will find this.
ALL of the following
Be between the minimum and maximum ages for YA, AND
Be an Australian resident (section 7(2)), OR a certain SCV holder, in Australia at the time of lodging the claim, AND
SS Guide 3.1.1 Residence Requirements
Satisfy the activity test (1.1.A.40).
Act reference: SSAct section 7(2) An Australian resident is...
The minimum age for YA is 16 years.
Exception: Where the young person is above school leaving age in their state or territory, and is considered independent, then the minimum age for YA is 15 years.
From 1 January 2012, dependent young people undertaking full-time secondary study will not be able to apply for YA until they turn 18, unless they:
Young people in receipt of YA on 31 December 2011 can choose to remain on YA if they remain eligible or instead, relinquish their YA payment and have their parent(s) claim FTB for them from 1 January 2012 if their parent is otherwise eligible for FTB.
Act reference: SSAct section 543A(1) Minimum age for youth allowance - General
Any 15 year old claiming YA in a state or territory where the minimum school leaving age is 16 or higher does not satisfy the minimum age requirements and should test their eligibility for SpB.
If a 15 year old YA recipient in a state or territory where the minimum school leaving age is 15 relocates to a state or territory with a higher school leaving age they will retain their qualification for YA. This is because they have already reached the minimum school leaving age in the state or territory where they first qualified.
For young people living near state or territory boundaries, qualification is determined by the minimum school leaving age in the state or territory in which the person lives, not where they study/work.
Young people are considered to be early school leavers (1.1.E.05) until they have completed Year 12 or an equivalent qualification (Certificate Level II) (1.1.Y.20). These young people will ONLY qualify for YA if they agree to enter an EPP (1.1.E.103) with an education focus.
Early school leavers already in receipt of YA (job seeker) prior to 1 July 2009 will have their EPP activities amended to have an education focus. This transition period is from 1 January 2010 ending 30 June 2010.
A 15 year old can be considered independent if:
For a person to qualify as independent on the grounds that they have been in a de facto relationship for at least 12 months, the 12 months must have been while the young person was over the age of consent in the state or territory in which they live.
Young people aged under 18 years are considered NOT to have reached the minimum age for YA unless the person:
Dependent full-time secondary students who are not benefiting from FTB that is being paid to their parents for them may be able to apply for YA where the Secretary determines that failure to assist the young person is likely to place them at risk of disengaging from education because the parent is using the money for purposes other than providing support to the young person.
Dependent, full-time secondary students living at home who lodge a YA application on these grounds will need to have their claims assessed by a social worker who will make a determination as to whether or not the circumstances being experienced by the young person are likely to place them 'at risk' were they not to receive YA directly.
Act reference: SSAct section 543A(2) Minimum age for youth allowance-Persons not yet 18 years old
The maximum age for YA is:
Full-time students retain qualification until the end of their course, even though this may occur after their 25th birthday. The young person must actually be undertaking the course as a full-time student or Australian apprentice and receiving YA as they turn 25 in order to be assessed as not having attained the maximum age.
YA Australian apprentices retain qualification until the end of their continuous Australian apprentice status even though this may occur after their 25th birthday. The young person must be undertaking an Australian apprenticeship and receiving YA as they turn 25 to be assessed as not having attained YA maximum age.
To qualify for YA, the person must be an Australian resident currently in Australia.
Exceptions: Young people receiving YA as a full-time student can continue to qualify while outside Australia in certain circumstances (126.96.36.199). Australian apprentices can continue to qualify while outside Australia as long as their Commonwealth registration number remains current. YA job seekers may also continue to qualify while outside Australia for humanitarian reasons, an acute family crisis, eligible medical treatment or to attend Defence Force Reserve service.
A claimant must lodge a proper claim before YA can be granted.
Policy reference: SS Guide 8.1.1 Claim Lodgement Provisions
A young person must satisfy the YA activity test by undertaking:
Exception: Full-time Australian apprentices do not have activity test requirements but must remain qualified for YA for payment to continue (i.e. must be undertaking a full-time Australian apprenticeship).
An early school leaver must satisfy the activity test by signing and complying with an EPP (1.1.E.103) which requires the young person to undertake for at least the required number of hours per week:
The appropriate number of hours per week is:
Act reference: SSAct section 544DA Youth Allowance Employment Pathway Plans-early school leavers
Young people claiming YA in the following circumstances may qualify:
Job seekers classified under SSAct section 5 as a principal carer of a child must, unless exempted, satisfy the activity test by complying with approved activities outlines in their EPP (1.1.E.103).
A principal carer will meet their participation requirements if they are looking for suitable paid work where the work is of at least 30 hours per fortnight, and participating in any other activities as specified in their EPP.
A principal carer can also choose to fully meet their requirements by undertaking 30 hours per fortnight of (or any combination of) suitable paid work, approved study (where the total number of hours includes contact and non-contact hours) and in some circumstances voluntary work. If the principal carer is not fully meeting their requirements in this way they will generally be required to look for suitable work or undertake other suitable activities as part of their EPP until their requirements are met.
Principal carer job seekers who are meeting their requirements through paid work, study or a combination of paid work and study for a total of at least 30 hours per fortnight are not required to remain connected to their employment services provider or accept any offers of suitable paid work.
Principal carers who are undertaking approved study, by itself or in combination with other suitable activities, who do not fully meet their requirements will be required to accept any suitable paid work that fits around any study that is outlined in their EPP, and is appropriate in respect of their caring responsibilities.
Principal carers who are undertaking voluntary work by itself or in combination with other suitable activities to meet the activity test must remain connected to an employment services provider.
Principal carer parents who are also early school leavers must comply with the early school leaver policy and activities included in their EPP must reflect these requirements. However, those that are meeting their participation requirements as a principal carer through 30 hours a fortnight of paid employment, voluntary work (or a combination of the two) cannot be compelled to participate in education and training.
Act reference: SSAct section 5(1)-'principal carer'
From 1 July 2006, changes to income support payments meant that young people who are assessed as having a partial capacity to work can qualify for YA.
The YA activity test applies to these people and the ESAt process determines the activities an individual may be required to undertake reflecting their individual capacity and circumstances. There is usually a requirement to study or look for work for at least 15 hours per week and/or appropriate activities unless already undertaking paid work consistent with their capacity.
The ESAt process is used to inform whether a young person has a partial capacity to work. The assessment also informs the kinds of activities a YA recipient will be required to undertake to their capacity in order to meet activity test requirements.
For YA purposes, a young person has a partial capacity to work if they have a physical, intellectual or psychiatric impairment and are assessed by a job capacity assessor as being unable to work, or to be trained for work of, at least 30 hours a week independently of support within the next 2 years.
An assessor will assess the young person's work capacity at the time of assessment and their work capacity within 2 years with interventions. Work capacity is assessed in bandwidths of 0-7 hours per week, 8-14 hours per week, 15-22 hours per week, 23-29 hours per week or 30 plus hours per week.
Payment eligibility and activity test requirements are based on a young person's work capacity within 2 years with intervention.
The exception to this is when a young person has a degenerative condition and their work capacity within 2 years with intervention is less than their work capacity at the time of assessment. In this case, payment eligibility and activity test requirements are based on work capacity at the time of assessment.
YA recipients with a work capacity within 2 years with intervention of 30 or more hours per week will not be considered to have a partial capacity to work.
All YA recipients assessed as having a partial capacity to work are eligible for YDS.
YA (job seeker) recipients assessed as having a partial capacity to work will receive a PCC, PhA and TAL (if they are a telephone subscriber). They will also be exempt from the parental means test for YA.
Act reference: SSAct section 16B Partial capacity to work, section 540AB Qualification for youth allowance-claimants with medical conditions affecting their capacity to work
Policy reference: SS Guide 1.1.P.56 Partial capacity to work (NSA, YA (job seeker), PP & SpB (NVH)), 3.2.8 Activity Testing & Mutual Obligation for NSA/YA Job Seekers, 1.1.E.104 Employment services assessment (ESAt)
A young person does not have to meet the activity test, if they have:
Where the Secretary determines special circumstances exist that make it unreasonable to require an early school leaver (1.1.E.05) to undertake an approved course of training or education, the EPP may include other approved activities (188.8.131.52).
It is preferable to reduce an early school leaver's requirements, rather than exempt them from the activity test. The activity test is flexible enough to make this possible. When circumstances arise that impede an early school leaver's ability to meet their usual requirements the activity test can be adjusted to reflect those circumstances (3.2.11).
During the period of any exemption, the young person is not required to participate in any of the activities outlined in an EPP, if an EPP has been negotiated.
Act reference: SSAct Part 2.11 Subdivision C Youth allowance-Exemptions from the activity test
A YA job seeker who has a working credit balance and takes up employment, is treated as still being qualified for the period it takes to run down their working credit balance despite not satisfying the activity test. This allows the person to benefit from their working credit balance - providing encouragement to young people to take up a job.
This treatment will continue until the earliest of:
Act reference: SSAct section 1073J Working credit balance prevents loss of qualification in certain cases
Policy reference: SS Guide 184.108.40.206 Working Credit Depletion
Australian apprentices do not have activity test requirements but must remain qualified as an Australian apprentice (have a current Australian apprentice registration identification number) for payment to continue.
Part-time Australian apprentices undertaking a full-time training or study block are considered full-time students.
Young people who are in a prison, remand centre or similar cannot qualify for YA. Young people under a home detention order or similar can qualify for YA, provided they can satisfy the activity test.
Policy reference: SS Guide 3.1.4 Imprisonment, Psychiatric Confinement & Prison Release
New Zealand citizens who are the holders of an SCV who arrived in Australia at any time on or after 26 February 2001 and do not meet the definition of an Australian resident for social security purposes can qualify for YA under certain circumstances.
New Zealand citizens who are SCV holders may be exempt from the residence requirements and able to qualify for a one-off period of payment for up to 6 months of either SA, NSA or YA (subject to other qualification requirements) if:
Note: No applicant will be able to meet the conditions of this provision until 26 February 2011.
The 6 month period does not start until any relevant waiting and/or preclusion/exclusion periods have been served and payments commence.
Transfer between payments is not permitted under this residence exemption. For example, YA (other) recipients who turn 22 years old during their 6 months on payment will be unable to transfer to NSA and are unable to receive YA beyond the maximum age.
A temporary absence such as a holiday does not mean that a person ceases to reside in Australia and can be included in the 10 years.
SSAct section 38B may be applied to treat a person in certain circumstances as having received an income support payment in respect of the continuous 6 month period even though the person did not actually receive such a payment during a part or parts of the period, for example due to employment income.
To qualify and retain qualification for payment under this residence exemption the person must be the holder of a non-protected SCV. If a person is granted a different visa they will no longer qualify under these provisions, and will incur the 104 week NARWP before they may re-qualify for SA, NSA or YA.
An SCV holder who was in Australia on 26 February 2001 is a protected SCV holder, and may be regarded as an Australian resident. For more information regarding protected SCV holders, refer to 220.127.116.11 Residence Requirements.
Act reference: SSAct section 540 Qualification for youth allowance-general rule, section 540AA Qualification for youth allowance-new apprentices, section 7(7) Residence exemption for one-off payment, section 38B Notional continuous period of receipt of income support payments, section 23(1)-'waiting period'
Last reviewed: 20 March 2013