What is Centrelink?

Centrelink is a Government service which provides support to Australians who face financial hardship.

People who receive support from Centrelink come from many different backgrounds and the benefits people receive reflect this. There are payments for people with disabilities, for older people, people who live in rural or remote communities, indigenous Australians, those affected by a natural disaster such as bush fire, families, job seekers and students – to name just a few.

Here we will have a look at two benefits many young Australians are eligible for; Youth Allowance and the Disability Support Pension. We’ll go into a bit of detail about eligibility and the application process. The information on this page has been taken from Centrelink publications.

For full details about Youth Allowance and the Disability Support Pension as well as all the other types of benefits and pensions you may be eligible for, make sure you have a look at the Centrelink website.

Youth Allowance

What is it?

In a nutshell, Youth Allowance is a payment to support people aged 16-24 who are studying full-time, undertaking an Australian Apprenticeship, training, looking for work or those who are really unwell.

Am I Eligible?

You might be! Eligibility depends on a few different things, which include:

  • your age and whether you are doing an approved course or training
  • if you are dependent or independent
  • income and asset tests, and
  • residence requirements

Details explaining each of these requirements can be found here.

The Disability Support Pension

What is it?

This pension supports people who have a physical, intellectual, or mental health condition that stops them from working,  or those who are permanently blind.

Am I Eligible?

The basics of eligibility include;

  • over 16 years of age
  • Permanently blind or have been assessed as having a physical, intellectual, or mental health condition. Centrelink will most likely require documentation from your doctor or specialist.
  • Unable to work, or be retrained for work, for 15 hours or more per week at or above the relevant minimum wage within the next two years due to disability
  • Having been assessed as having a severe disability or as having actively participated in a Program of Support.

Further details about eligibility requirements can be found here.

What other benefits can I get from Centrelink?

If you are eligible for Youth Allowance, or any other benefits from Centrelink, you may receive a Health Care Card too. This card allows you to purchase prescription medication at a cheaper rate and pay less or nothing at all when visiting your doctor. If you pay water or electricity bills you can be eligible for a concessional discount too. It also allows you to purchase concession tickets for public transport, the cinema and other events (just make sure you have it on you so you can prove your eligibility).

Centrelink is also the provider of Medicare Cards, if you are 15 or older you are able to get your own, have a look here for more information.

How do you claim a Centrelink benefit?

The easiest way to apply is online. First you have to register for an account, you can do that here. You can also call the Youth and Students number 132 490 or the Disability, Sickness and Carers number on 132 717, but be warned there is often a very long wait time. For more information on how to make a Youth Allowance claim have a look here.

You will need to answer a few questions about your circumstances, after this Centrelink will tell you if you need to book an appointment with them to show proof of identification. They have an online booking system with instructions.

Finally they will ask you to upload your documents digitally, instructions can be found here.