If you apply for Youth Allowance, you may be assessed to see if you are considered independent or not. You only need to meet one of the criteria below to be considered independent.

If you are considered independent, your parental income will not be taken into account when working out how much you will be paid. If you are considered dependent, the Parental Income Test may be taken into account when working out how much you will be paid.

You may be considered independent if:

  • you are 22 years or older, or
  • you have supported yourself through full-time employment of on average 30 hours per week for at least 18 months during any period of 2 years, or
  • your parental home is in a regional/remote area and you have supported yourself through:
    • earning 75% or more of wage Level A of the National Training Wage Schedule over a 14 month period, or
    • working at least 15 hours a week for at least 2 years, or
  • you are a refugee, or
  • you are an orphan, or
  • you are in state care or only stopped being in state care because of your age, or
  • you have, or have had, a dependent child, or
  • you are or have ever been married or been in a Registered Relationship, including living as a member of a couple for 12 months or more, or six months (in special circumstances)
  • your parents cannot exercise their responsibilities, or
  • it is unreasonable for you to live at home.

NOTE: You may be required to provide proof of any claim for independence based on any of the reasons listed above.


An orphan is a person aged 15 years or older whose birth or adoptive parents are both deceased.

Refugee without parents in Australia

If you hold a Group 1.3 entry permit (permanent resident, refugee and humanitarian) or had one of these when you were granted Australian Citizenship, you are regarded as independent for the purposes of Youth Allowance and Disability Support Pension. However, you are not independent under this criteria if you have a parent living in Australia or you are wholly or substantially dependent on someone else on a long term basis.

Unable to Exercise their Parental Responsibilities

Parent/s may be considered to be unable to exercise parental responsibilities if they are missing, mentally incapacitated, serving a prison sentence, or living in a nursing home for an indefinite period. Verification of this will be required. A parent who is unable to exercise parental responsibilities does not include a parent who is unable to provide a home for their child because of their own lack of stable accommodation. In this instance independence may be considered under the criteria for unreasonable to live at home.

State Care

Select this option if you are in State Care and are not living with a parent, and:

  • are in the guardianship, care or custody of a court, a Minister or a Department of the Commonwealth, State or Territory, or
  • there is a current direction from a court, Minister or Department placing you in another person's care or custody who is not your parent, or
  • you have stopped being in State care as described above only because of your age.

Extreme Family Breakdown, Serious Risk or Other Exceptional Circumstances

Select this option if it is unreasonable for you to live at home due to:

  • extreme family breakdown
  • where there is serious risk if you continue to live in the parental home, or
  • you are consistently deprived of basic necessities such as food, water, clothing, power, shelter or sleep, or
  • your health and well-being are seriously threatened by drug or alcohol abuse, criminal or illegal activities, or
  • there is violence in the home, or
  • your parent(s) being unable to provide a suitable home because they lack stable accommodation.

Supported Yourself

You may be considered independent if you have supported yourself through full-time paid employment for at least 18 months within any two year period. You do not need to work for 18 consecutive months, or work in the same job. Full-time employment means that you have worked for an average of at least 30 hours per week throughout the 18 months.

If you have been working in a job that has not consistently provided you with 30 hours per week work, then your hours of work can be averaged over periods of a maximum of 13 weeks.

Paid employment includes periods of paid leave, overseas employment and unpaid leave due to employer shutdown outside of your control. If you were a full-time apprentice or trainee this is also considered full-time employment.