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. Youth allowance (YA) - description

What is YA?

YA is an income support payment that provides financial assistance to young job seekers, aged 16 to 21 who are looking for work or undertaking other activities to improve their employment prospects, AND full-time students or Australian Apprentices aged 16 to 24.

YA may also be paid to a person who:

  • is temporarily incapacitated for work or study, or
  • has claimed DSP and is awaiting the assessment of their claim.

A young person aged 15 years old may qualify for YA if they are independent and have reached the minimum school leaver age in their state/territory.

Dependent young people undertaking full-time secondary study are NOT considered to be of YA age until they turn 18, unless they:

  • are independent
  • are required to live away from home to study, or
  • are determined by the Secretary to be not benefiting from FTB that is being paid to the person's parents.

Assistance for people aged above the age limits for YA is generally provided through other payments, such as JSP (for older job seekers) and Austudy (for older full-time students and apprentices).

Act reference: SSAct section 23(1)-'income support payment'

How YA is paid

YA is calculated on a daily basis and is paid in arrears, generally in instalments of 14 days. Instalment periods of less than 14 days may be paid where a person changes their payday arrangements.

Policy reference: SS Guide 8.4 Payment methods

Supplementary assistance

There are 2 types of supplementary assistance that recipients of YA MAY receive:

  • amounts that are included as part of the YA rate, and
  • payments or other benefits that are in addition to the YA rate.

Recipients of YA MAY receive one or more of the following as part of their YA rate:

They may also be entitled to the following while in receipt of YA:

Policy reference: SS Guide Supplementary benefits & employment assistance for YA recipients

Bereavement payment provisions

Following the death of a partner (1.1.P.85), the surviving member of a couple (1.1.M.120) may be eligible for bereavement assistance.

Act reference: SSAct Part 2.11 Division 10 Bereavement payments

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.1.5 Bereavement payment provisions, Continuation, variation or termination of YA

Background information

YA was introduced from 1 July 1998, replacing the following 5 schemes for young people:

  • Austudy for 16 to 24 year olds and certain 15 year olds
  • NSA for 16 to 20 year olds and certain 15 year olds
  • YTA for 16 to 17 year olds and certain 15 year olds
  • SA for 16 to 20 year olds and certain 15 year olds
  • more-than-minimum rate family allowance for secondary students aged 16 to 18 not formerly getting Austudy.

On 1 January 2012, FTB became the primary payment for dependent full-time secondary students living at home under the Supporting Families with Teenagers Measure.

On 1 July 2012, the maximum age for YA was increased from 21 years to 22 years for young job seekers (not undertaking full-time study or an Australian Apprenticeship).

Act reference: SSAct section 540 Qualification for YA-general rule, section 540A(1) Qualification for YA-claimants for DSP, section 542 Situations in which a person is exempt from undertaking full-time study (YA student), section 592J Qualification for relocation scholarship payment

SS(Admin)Act section 40F Employment pathway plan matters (YA job seeker), Division 2A Subdivision C Exemptions from employment pathway plan requirements (YA job seeker)

Policy reference: SS Guide Austudy payment (Austudy) - description, 3.2.3 YA - qualification & payability, YA - current rates

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