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Youth Allowance and Social Security Payments

If you have information that can help others work their way through the maze of conditions and requirements, or simply tips that may be helpful, please email them to Beverley so she can include them on this page. Help her keep this page updated. Thank you!

Parenting Payment

The change-over from Parenting Payment (Partnered) is when your youngest child turns six years of age, and at eight years of age for Parenting Payment (Single). You are unable to get Parenting Payment past the cut-off age and and have to transfer to Newstart but the change-over is administrative only. It may entail additional reporting requirements and possible regular interviews - families have reported that they attend an interview every three months and also hand in a form as well show their homeschooling registration certificate once a year. Home education is classified as an exemption to the work activity test under the Social Security Act. Depending in which state or territory you live you will need to be registered as a home educator or your children will need to be exempted from attending the school at which they are enrolled.

Youth Allowance

The following collection of items and information relate to questions about Youth Allowance provision: some are now of a historical nature.

Lindy, a homeschooling mum, reports that Centrelink has finally acknowledged that home education is legal up to seventeen years of age. Her family have been been granted Youth Allowance and back paid. 14/12/2011

The following can be found on the Centrelink website:

"Changes to Youth Allowance

After 1 January 2012 young persons aged 16-17 years old, dependent, living at home and still in full-time secondary study will generally not be able to start to receive Youth Allowance.

Those currently receiving Youth Allowance on 31 December 2011 may continue to do so. However, the increased rate of Family Tax Benefit Part A may be a better option for the family.

To receive Family Tax Benefit Part A, the young person needs to stop their Youth Allowance and a claim for Family Tax Benefit must be lodged by their parent/s or guardian/s with the Family Assistance Office.

If Youth Allowance is stopped after 31 December 2011 and the family has claimed Family Tax Benefit, it is possible to go back to Youth Allowance if it's decided that it is the better payment option.

From 1 January 2012 the Youth Allowance age of independence will reduce to 22."

Payments will be automatically changed to take these changes into account.

There is an online estimator to check if Family Tax Benefit or Youth Allowance is more financially beneficial.

I found the following information on the NSW Board of Studies website:

"Are home-educated students eligible for Austudy?
Youth Allowance/Austudy is only available for students of 16 to 24 years of age. Each application is assessed according to family income and whether the student is enrolled in full-time study. Students studying at home may apply, but they must show they are studying full-time and satisfy the family income criteria. For more information about Austudy contact the Centrelink Call Centre, phone 13 24 90.
Are home-educated students eligible for discounts on book purchases under the Educational Textbook Subsidy Scheme (ETSS)?
Home educators are eligible for the discount textbook subsidy. To receive the benefits from this scheme home educators must provide their letter of confirmation of registration or Certificate of Registration for Home Schooling when purchasing textbooks from a subsidy-registered bookseller. For a full listing of registered booksellers in NSW, phone 1300 139 249 (free call) or refer to the following website: www.textbooksubsidy .gov.au/ETSS/ PublicBookseller s/Booksellers. asp or contact the Commonwealth Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs (DEETYA), phone (02) 6240 7183.
Are home educators eligible for the Back to School Allowance?
Home educators are eligible for the Back to School Allowance. This allowance is distributed through the Department of Education and Training. For more information contact the Department of Education and Training, phone 1300 656 056.
Inquiries regarding the eligibility of students over the age of 15 years to receive the allowance should be directed to the Department of Education and Training on the phone
number above."

One family were granted youth allowance with the wording on the form stating: 'Your Youth Allowance is based on you studying full time at NSW OFFICE OF BOARD OF STUDIES, Year 10 10 Secondary Studies with the course ending on the 19th December, 2003'

This was taken from a 2003 Centrelink website (from my archives and it could well be irrelevant now):

"YA is not intended to provide assistance to families who choose to withdraw their children from a formal school setting without considering the requirements of the State/Territory education
authorities that grant education qualifications.
However, YA is available for home-based schooling where the relevant State/Territory Government school education authority has given specific approval for the student to undertake home study. The authority must confirm that the study is full-time and conforms with, and will be accredited towards, the secondary qualification accredited by that authority.
In some cases, where education authority approval has not been given, YA is available for home schooling where the student is:
-formally registered at a secondary school recognised for YA purposes -studying accredited subjects, AND -undertaking a workload deemed to be full-time by the school."

Some families opt for enrolling their homeschooled students in OTEN as a way of being eligible for Youth Allowance. You'd need to pick a course that is full time, which may compromise your home learning program, and you'd probably need a statement from OTEN to give to Centrelink to back your claim.

When our sons turned 16 we claimed FTB, which gave us approximately $25 a week (I think) until they turned 21.

I'd also ask Centrelink more about what kind of letter of proof of study they require, who from, what would satisfy them in your son's case, etc.

To my knowledge this situation hasn't been satisfactorily dealt with yet, but Centrelink must be fielding enquiries about it every week now.

Youth Allowance & Homeschooling Links

Adele Carrall , unschooling mum and educational activist writes:

'Home' educated children are now entitled to Youth Allowance.

Unfortunately, Centrelink (and based upon our own experiences with this department, I consider that it is, in every way, absolutely unfit to be dealing with children/funding for education) is notorious for its extreme lack of coordination and principally (but not solely) due to this, unless 'home' educating families in need of Youth Allowance obtain information on how to go about obtaining Youth Allowance for 'home' educated children from sources other than Centrelink: their children will be denied Youth Allowance; and, as those low income 'home' educators who currently receive full Family Tax Benefit Part A will have this drastically reduced - to a mere $42.00 per fortnight - when their children turn sixteen, these families will be subjected to a situation which forces low income parents to either go hungry and still be unable to keep up to date with bills for essential services or send their children off to mass schooling institutions or work.

Despite 'home' educated children's now being able to receive Youth Allowance, the situation is extremely inequitable :-

. Centrelink's list of 'proof of identity' documents does not provide sufficient 'points value' documents for 'home' educated children.

In our case, the only way we could obtain sufficient points value documents to meet Centrelink requirements in this area was to purchase a mobile telephone plan in my daughter's name and unless this situation, where Centrelink, despite having a listed points value of 70 for an Australian Birth Certificate, does not regard this as being worth any points at all, "As it has to be sent in anyway," or, in other words, is mandatory, when my son turns sixteen in less than a year, we'll be placed in the position of having to pay out some $36.00 per month for two unwanted and absolutely, except for the purpose of providing Centrelink with 'proof of identity' for two children for whom we were already receiving Family Tax Benefit, unnecessary mobile telephones.

. 'Home' educated children are required to fill out a form titled 'Application for Payment of Youth Allowance/Austudy Payment for Full Time Students' on a fortnightly basis and - at their parents' (travelling and time-wise) expense - deposit it with a Centrelink office or agency.

. In addition to the above 'home' educated children are required to keep a record of their weekly studies in a Centrelink provided booklet titled 'Participation Record', which booklet is designed for those who are participating in activities which, in Centrelink's view, will or have the potential to lead directly to employment. This booklet must be submitted to Centrelink for approval every twelve weeks.

It is not only absolutely inappropriate but discriminatory in the extreme that the legal practice of 'home' education is treated as an abnormal situation by Centrelink and that, in stark contrast to the Youth Allowance situation for children who attend mass schooling institutions and by that means already have their education funded by Government and, with payment of Youth Allowance, receive two separate forms of Government funding of their education yet, I have been given to understand, are not subjected to either of the above, 'home' educated children are treated like 'out of work' or 'training for work' adults by Centrelink.

Eligible 'home' educating parents (Youth Allowance is means tested) who need or, despite the above, wish to have their children receive Youth Allowance can, if necessary, have their local Centrelink office refer to their infranet for information on how Centrelink's Tuncurry (N.S.W.) office went about allocating Youth Allowance to a 'home' educated child.

The Federal Minister who is in the position to make changes regarding the discriminatory attitude of Centrelink towards 'home' educated children is Hon. Larry Anthony M.P..

Adele (from N.S.W.).
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Allan Weatherall writes:

Thanks to Adele from NSW we now have a copy of Centrelink's guidelines for dealing with homeschoolers

This procedure will assist with determining if a customer who is undertaking home-based schooling satisfies the YA activity test as a full-time student.
Customers who wish to satisfy the Youth Allowance (YA) activity test as a full-time student are required to study an accredited course at an approved education institution.
YA is not intended to provide assistance to families who choose to withdraw their children from a formal school setting without considering the requirements of the State/Territory education authorities that grant education qualifications.
However, YA is available for home-based schooling where the relevant State/Territory Government school education authority has given specific approval for the student to undertake home study. The authority must confirm that the study is full-time and conforms with, and will be accredited towards, the secondary qualification accredited by that authority.
In some cases, where education authority approval has not been given, YA is available for homeschooling where the student is:
- formally registered at a secondary school recognised for YA purposes
- studying accredited subjects, and
- undertaking a workload deemed to be full-time by the school.

This policy, we believe, has been adapted from their policy on Distance Education and unfortunately contradictions abound. The foremost being this:
Because all young people are legally entitled to leave school at the age of 16, no school anywhere in Australia has the legal authority to either grant approval or withhold approval for a child to undertake study at home. A senior representative of the Victorian Education Department told me that she could not grant approval for homeschooling since a child at 16 is deemed to be at an age where they can leave school if they wish. Therefore it is impossible for anyone to comply with these conditions.

Secondly, homeschooling by it's very nature is home-based so it begs the question: How can a child be enrolled in a school and be undertaking those same studies at home? Does the school have an obligation to provide resources and curriculum to homeschoolers in their geographical area? Most schools would not want to carry this added burden, and most homeschoolers would not want or require it (other than perhaps having access to school libraries and maybe occasionally other facilities).

Thirdly, these guidelines give no ground to the fact that homeschoolers follow a heavily adapted and customised curriculum that usually falls well within the guidelines of the Commonwealth Education Act. As long as families comply with these minimum requirements, surely it is descrimination to withold benefits from them.

The Education Act states the minimum requirements for education. Most homeschoolers go way beyond those minimum legal requirements. So it begs the question: Is it even legal that Centerlink places requirements which are above and beyond what is required by the Education Act?

No doubt other issues will emerge, but I felt this may be of great interest to all those currently dealing with this issue...

Allan Weatherall

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Beverley Paine with her children, and their home educated children, relaxing at home.

Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active supporter of national, state, regional and local home education groups.

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We began educating our children in 1985, when our eldest was five. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn since they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. We hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was! Beverley Paine


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