3.8.1.10 Qualification for RA

Summary

This topic discusses qualification for RA. It covers:

  • qualification criteria
  • RA and FTB
  • adjusting RA payments when eligibility commences with FTB Part A, and
  • RA and blind pensioners.

Qualification (1.1.Q.10) criteria

To qualify for RA, an applicant must meet the criteria listed in Table 1. If more detail about a criterion is required, the second column indicates where you will find this.

Table 1

Criterion More detail
ALL of the following
Be qualified for a social security pension, benefit or allowance, and/or be qualified to receive FTB Part A at greater than the base rate, and See Table 2 for more detail regarding pensions, benefits and allowances.
Pays, or is liable to pay, rent (other than Government rent) above the specified rent threshold in order to occupy their principal residence, and 3.8.1.80 Government Rent & RA, 5.1.7.10 RA - current rates, 3.8.1.60 Payments That May be Treated as Rent
Be renting a home in Australia (1.1.A.320), and  

not be any of the following:

  • an ineligible homeowner, or
  • an aged care resident living in a Commonwealth funded residential care service where a residential care subsidy is payable to the approved provider for the applicant's care, or
  • a recipient of YA receiving the at home rate, or
  • have a partner (1.1.P.85) receiving FTB Part A at greater than the base FTB child rate, or
  • an allowee with a partner who receives a rent increased pension.
1.1.I.140 Ineligible homeowner, 3.2.6 YA at the Away from Home Rate

Act reference: SSAct section 23(1)-'social security pension', section 23(1)-'social security benefit', section 13(1)-'ineligible homeowner'

FAAct Schedule 1 clause 3 Method of calculating Part A rate (Method 1), Schedule 1 clause 25 Method of calculating Part A rate (Method 2)

Legislation

Qualification for RA is contained in Table 2 and the RA part of the SSAct.

Act reference: SSAct Part 3.7 Rent assistance, section 13 Rent definitions

Table 2

Pension/allowance (with policy reference- description) Eligibility for RA RA rate calculator Does sharer's measure apply for single recipients?
ABSTUDY (3.8.1.104) Certain ABSTUDY recipients are eligible for RA - refer to the ABSTUDY Policy Manual for information on eligibility criteria

Aged based:

  • 21 yrs and over - NSA rates.
  • Under 21 yrs - YA rates.
Yes
Age pension (single) (1.2.3.10) Yes SSAct section 1070L Yes
Age pension (couple) (1.2.3.10) Yes SSAct section 1070L No
Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment (1.2.6.20) No SSAct section 1061P(1) to (3) Not applicable
Austudy payment (1.2.2.30) Yes - from 01/01/2008 the Government has extended RA eligibility to Austudy recipients. SSAct section 1070Q Yes
Bereavement allowance (1.2.3.90) Yes SSAct section 1070M Yes
Carer allowance (1.2.5.50) No Not applicable Not applicable
Carer payment (1.2.5.20) Yes SSAct section 1070L No
Crisis payment (1.2.6.30) No Not applicable Not applicable
Disaster recovery allowance (1.2.6.40) No Not applicable Not applicable
Disability support pension (1.2.5.10) Yes SSAct section 1070L , section 1070N, section 1070P No - exempt
Double orphan pension (1.2.4.20) See FTB FAAct Schedule 1 Part 5 Division 2B See FTB
DSP (blind) Yes, if income and assets tested (non-blind rate). SSAct section 1065-A1 No - exempt
Family tax benefit (FA Guide 3.1.4.30) Only if getting FTB Part A at greater than the base rate. FAAct Schedule 1 Part 5 Division 2B Not applicable
Incentive allowance (3.6.1.80) No - if the person or their partner receives IA, RA is not payable. Not applicable Not applicable
Mobility allowance (1.2.5.40) No Not applicable Not applicable
Newstart allowance (1.2.1.10) Yes SSAct section 1070Q Yes
Parenting payment (partnered) (1.2.4.10) Yes

SSAct section 1070R

FAAct Schedule 1 Part 5 Division 2B

No
Parenting payment (single) (1.2.4.10) Yes

SSAct section 1070M

FAAct Schedule 1 Part 5 Division 2B

No
Partner allowance (1.2.2.10) Yes SSAct section 1070Q No
Sickness allowance (1.2.5.30) Yes SSAct section 1070Q Yes
Special benefit (1.2.6.10) Yes See applicable primary payment Yes
Widow allowance (1.2.3.30) Yes SSAct section 1070Q Yes
Widow B pension (1.2.3.40) Yes SSAct section 1070M Yes
Wife pension (1.2.3.20) Yes SSAct section 1070L No
Youth allowance (1.2.1.20)

Yes, if:

  • dependent living away from home rate
  • independent living away from home, or
  • independent at home and is or has been a member of a YA couple, or has or has had a dependent child.
SSAct section 1070Q Yes

Act reference: SSAct section 1070L Rate for CPs and certain age, disability support and wife pensions, section 1061P(1) to section 1061P(3) Determinations of rates (AGDRP), section 1070Q Rate for YA, Austudy, MAA under Part 2.12B, NSA, PA, SA and WA, section 1070M Rate for BVA, WidB and certain PPs, section 1070N Rate for DSP (person aged under 18), section 1070P Rate for DSP (person aged between 18 and 21), section 1065-A1 Method of calculating rate (Age and DSP (blind people)), section 1070R Rate for certain PPs

FAAct Schedule 1 Part 5 Division 2B Rent assistance

RA & FTB

When a person receives a social security payment and FTB Part A, RA is usually paid with FTB Part A. However, in some cases RA may be paid with the recipient's social security payment instead.

Example: An FTB recipient does not take maintenance action, and is paid the base rate of FTB Part A. This recipient is not eligible for RA with FTB. However, RA may be paid with the social security payment.

Adjusting RA payments when eligibility commences with FTB Part A

When a person has received RA with a social security or veteran's entitlement payment for a period and it is later found they are eligible for RA with FTB Part A, the amount of any arrears of FTB Part A are adjusted to account for the amount of RA already paid.

Act reference: FAAct Schedule 1 clause 38J Offsetting for duplicate RA under family assistance and social security law, Schedule 1 clause 38K Offsetting for duplicate RA under family assistance and veteran's entitlements law

Policy reference: FA Guide 3.1.4.30 Rent assistance

RA & blind pensioners

Rates of Age and DSP paid to blind people are not subject to the income or assets test unless the person claims RA. If a blind person wishes to test their eligibility for RA their pension is calculated in accordance with the income and assets tests. The amount payable under the normal income and assets tests with RA is compared to the means test free rate without RA and the higher amount is paid.

Act reference: SSAct Part 3.7 Rent assistance, section 1070 When this Part applies

Policy reference: SS Guide 4.3.1.30 Rate of income - couples, blind pensioners & children

Last reviewed: 12 August 2019