The Guides to Social Policy Law is a collection of publications designed to assist decision makers administering social policy law. The information contained in this publication is intended only as a guide to relevant legislation/policy. The information is accurate as at the date listed at the bottom of the page, but may be subject to change. To discuss individual circumstances please contact Services Australia.

1.1.S.66 Secondary pupil child


This definition only applies to a person who may be considered the child of a main supporter (1.1.M.10). The main supporter must be receiving one of the following income support payments:

  • parenting payment
  • youth allowance
  • jobseeker payment, or
  • special benefit.


A person is considered to be a secondary pupil child of a main supporter at a time in a financial year if all the following components are met:

  • at the time the secondary student child

    • must have turned 16 years of age, but not yet turned 19 years
    • must not have completed their final year of secondary school or an equivalent level of education
    • must be undertaking secondary education or a course of study or instruction that is determined under Student Assistance Act 1973 section 5D to be a secondary course
    • must not be likely to earn an income of more than income threshold ( in the financial year (this does not include ABSTUDY, AIC or any other payments made to the person under the SSAct)
    • must live with and be wholly or substantially dependent on their main supporter, and
    • must not be a member of a couple with their main supporter.

If the circumstances of a secondary pupil child change and one or more of the above is no longer true, then, from that point in time in the financial year, they are no longer considered a secondary pupil child and their main supporter would no longer be considered a main supporter.

Income in the financial year

If a secondary pupil child, who was expected to earn less than the income threshold during the financial year when they were classified as a secondary pupil child, earns over the income threshold, the date at which they stop being a secondary pupil child is the date at which they earn over the income threshold, or are expected to earn over the income threshold for that financial year.

If the main supporter of a secondary pupil child was receiving a higher rate of payment due to being a main supporter, a debt would only be raised from the point in time that the secondary pupil child earned over the income threshold or was expected to earn over the income threshold for that financial year. There would be no debts recovered for the period in the financial year prior to the secondary pupil child earning over that amount.

The below examples are for the 2019 income threshold. For income thresholds see

Example: If in July 2019 a person who usually earns $200 per week, and is likely to continue to earn $200 each week, meets all other criteria for a secondary pupil child they should be considered a secondary pupil child. If in November 2019 that same secondary pupil child increases their hours of work for a short period and their earnings suddenly increase putting them over the $11,706.30 limit for a secondary pupil child, their main supporter would cease being a main supporter from November, any higher rate they received between July and November should not be recovered, however, any higher rate received from November should be recovered.

A person who is likely to earn over the income threshold in a financial year should not be considered a secondary pupil child.

Example: A person who earns more than $226 per week on a regular basis could not be considered a secondary pupil child at any time during the year as they are likely to earn over $11,706.30 during the financial year.

Act reference: SSAct section 5F Secondary pupil child, section 5G Main supporter of a secondary pupil child

Student Assistance Act 1973 section 5D Minister may determine secondary and tertiary courses etc.

Policy reference: SS Guide 1.1.M.10 Main supporter (PP, JSP, YA, SpB), Historical student income dependency limits since 1975

Last reviewed: