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. Member of a couple - age of consent


For the purposes of social security law, both members of a couple must be over the age of consent, applicable to the relevant state or territory where they reside, for a de facto relationship to be recognised.

However, if a claimant/recipient is living in a de facto relationship where one or both partners are under the age of consent where they live, while they are not classified as a member of a couple, they will receive the partnered rate of payment and the partnered income and assets tests apply.

Young people claiming/receiving YA, DSP and ABSTUDY, where they are under the age of consent, cannot be considered to be in a de facto relationship for the purposes of being regarded as independent, and will be subject to parental income testing unless otherwise exempt.

Further information on age of consent for each state or territory can be found at

Policy reference: SS Guide 1.1.M.120 Member of a couple, Types of member of a couple relationships, De facto relationships (YA & DSP)

ABSTUDY Policy Manual

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