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Savings and other money
Centrelink regards money you hold in cash, in any bank account, and any money owed to you
(for example, by an employer) as a “liquid asset”, which means it can affect when you will be
paid. Usually there is a waiting period of between 1 and 13 weeks before you receive payment
depending on your total liquid assets. Your payments will not be affected if your liquid assets are
$2500 or less for a single person or $5000 for a couple.

For all payments, there is an assets test. For dependent students receiving Youth Allowance, the
test will be the value of parents’ assets. For Independent students, there is a separate test for
home owners and non-home owners. Tests are also applied for Austudy and Abstudy payments.

Centrelink does not provide information about the way your payments are affected by particular
asset values, but if you are a dependent student, no payments can be made if your parents’
eligible assets exceed $547 000 in value. This amount does not include the principal family
home: the value of your parents’ home is not taken into account.
Assets include items such as real estate, motor vehicles, household contents and the value of
businesses and farms.

Income Bank

Income Bank is not a form of additional payment. This means that you cannot “apply” for
income bank funds from Centrelink. Instead, Income Bank allows you to build up “credit” to
offset any decreases in your Centrelink payment should you get a job. If you apply for Youth
Allowance, Austudy or Abstudy Centrelink will conduct a personal income test to make sure you
get the correct rate of payment. Under this test you are entitled to earn up to $236 per fortnight
without your Centrelink payment being reduced. This figure is known as your “fortnightly
income free area”. If you do not work during a semester/session of study (or if you earn less than
$236 per fortnight) you can accumulate (up to a total of $6000) any unused portion of your
fortnightly income free area to form an income bank. This means that when you start earning
more than $236 per fortnight your extra earnings can be offset against your income bank balance
instead of reducing your Centrelink payment. Once your income balance is reduced to zero any
money you earn over $236 per fortnight will reduce your Centrelink payment.

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