Is it easier to apply for Austudy and rental assistance, than it is to seek employment and try to balance out your life whilst trying not to overwork yourself and die? I endured the application process to find out. Firstly, you need to work out if you are eligible. Chances are, if you’re in a low income bracket or doing more than 2 units per semester you will be eligible for some support. To determine your eligibility and possible entitlements, click here.
As with most organisations, the majority of simple transactions are available online meaning less face-to-face conversations with employees that seem not to want to be there, and standing in line with customers who also don’t want to be there. That situation usually only leads to far too many people crammed into a building with air-conditioning struggling to keep up, and each person struggling not to kill one another. Online sounds great, right? So, our next objective is logging on…
If you were born in Australia, Centrelink has a record of you whether or not you’ve ever directly received payments from the Government – lucky you! All you need to do then is obtain your record number and be set up with a temporary password. It should be possible to do this either over the phone or in the local branch. However, if you weren’t born in Australia the process will almost definitely take longer, and you will undoubtedly need to prove you’re human and not a little green alien from Mars.
Useful Tips for the application process:
- Don’t leave it to the last minute and set aside a few uninterrupted hours to complete the application process
- Be sure to have your tax file number, bank account and rent* details readySave the application as you go but avoid pausing in the middle. Your session may time out and you may have to complete details a second time
- Log out properly each time as opposed to closing the window. If you don’t, the site will struggle to log you back in
- Download the app – Centrelink has an app which allows you to easily access the online functions right in your hand
- Be sure to declare the cost of school books you expect to incur during the application as this is an additional Austudy allowance allocated each semester.
Friends of mine offered me this: Be 80% honest rather than 150%. Being overly honest and declaring information that is not necessarily relevant may cause complications and delays to the process. Take for example, a part-time social media coordinator for which the work is not consistent and peaks every 3 months when the company’s newsletter is released.
Rather than declaring this, it is easier to not declare the employment and to contact Centrelink only IF the amounts earned during peak times are expected to be higher than what is allowed. This is not an omission of any critical details, provided the intention is not dishonest.
If all else fails and you do still need to see someone in the branch, try to visit after the lunch rush! ♦ Rent details are important as you may be eligible for living assistance as well. This will be factored in and you may receive a higher austudy allowance than expected.
In the end…
From submitting the final paperwork to the first payment, it took 20 days. This is great news, considering that the busiest time of the year is just before the semester begins. I made my first inquiry mid-January and within the month we were ready to roll.