Financial planners set youth on the path to independence

Posted on 22/02/2016 by Jon Pegler in Audit & Advisory
Jon Pegler
Jon Pegler is a Senior Financial Planner within the Sinclair Wilson Investment Services team.  Based in the Mount Gambier office, Jon provides his clients with advice on a broad range...

What you need to know about Centrelink’s gap year requirements and Youth Allowance:

Often when people think of financial planners, they’re associated with decisions commonly made later in life. (i.e. managing investment portfolios or planning for retirement).

At Sinclair Wilson, our financial planners can help plan all areas of finance; including your gap year earning requirements. We can help you plan out your gap year and achieve independent status, unlocking access to youth allowance whilst you pursue your University studies.

Centrelink criteria can be complex and often do not lend themselves to general explanation. Our financial planners are qualified to give you individual tailored solutions on maximising your Centrelink entitlements.

If you’re a school leaver from regional and remote areas such as Warrnambool, Mount Gambier and surrounds; you may be able to be assessed as independent through work history. Typically this involves taking a gap year and:

    • Earning over $23,479 (75% of the National Training Wage) within an 18 month period since ceasing school

or

  • Working part-time at least 15 hours per week for two years since ceasing school

It is important to understand that whilst this satisfies the base independence criteria; other factors, such as your parent’s income, may also be taken into consideration.

For example:
If your parents earn more than $150,000 per year, as per the parental income test, you may not qualify for Youth Allowance. If however you have worked an average of 30 hours per week in an 18 month period since leaving school you may be assessed as fully independent.

Regardless if you’re considered fully or partially independent, a range of Centrelink benefits are available to help rural and regional students, and their families, deal with the significant burden of relocation for university studies. Specifically:

  • Youth allowance (up to $11,263 per year)
  • Rent Assistance (up to $3,364 per year)
  • Relocation Scholarships ($4,333 once off payment)
  • Student Start Up Loans ($2,050 once off payment)

Professional advice may cost less than you think and we can tailor our services to suit you and your needs. Our financial planners at Sinclair Wilson in Warrnambool and Mount Gambier can give you personalised advice on how Centrelink’s criteria apply to you, develop a strategy to ensure you achieve your independence goals and deal with Centrelink on your behalf.