7 Things You Need to Know When Finishing School

2019 is quickly drawing to a close and if you’re finishing school and moving on to tertiary study or an apprenticeship, there’s a lot to think about.  We’ve pulled together our top 7 tips to help you get out there and chase your dreams.

#1 – You can get a payment if you’re not going to uni

If you’re studying an approved course, you can claim Youth Allowance as a student while studying at TAFE. You can also claim this payment if you’re doing an Australian Apprenticeship.

If you’ve decided to jump straight into the workforce, but haven’t got a job lined up already, Youth Allowance for jobseekers will be the best payment for you.

Keep in mind, you’ll need to meet the other rules for getting payments, like being under the income limits and living in Australia. 

No matter what your dream is, we can help you chase it!

#2 – You might get a payment even if your friends can’t

You and your bestie come from similar family backgrounds, are going to the same uni and studying the same course – so you should both be able to get a student payment, right? Not quite.

We look at lots of things when we’re assessing people for payments, and everyone’s situation is different.

Instead of comparing yourself to your friends, we recommend checking out our Payment and Service Finder tool here. This will give you a better idea of whether you can get a payment before you make your claim.

#3 – You should DEFINITELY claim as early as possible

This one is important! You should submit your claim in December if your course starts in late February. You can claim up to 13 weeks before your course or apprenticeship starts. So if you’re starting earlier, you should submit your claim now.

Getting in early means you’re less likely to experience a delay with your claim, and you’re more likely to get the money as early as possible.

You don’t need to be accepted into your course yet – but you will need a myGov account.

#4 – You can do (almost) everything online!

Claiming your payment, reporting your income, updating your address – these are all things you can do through your new Centrelink online account!

You’ll need to create a myGov account first, then link it to your Centrelink online account. From there, you can fill out online claim forms, get help from our digital assistants, and get a handy checklist with all the extra documents you’ll need to give us.

You can even apply for the Student Start-up Loan through your online account for extra help with some of those big initial expenses, like a new laptop or textbooks.

You’ll need to visit us in a service centre once to confirm your identity before you submit your claim. But after that, you can manage your Centrelink payments and responsibilities online.

#5 – You might be called ‘dependent’ even if you don’t live with your parents any more You might feel like you’re independent at 18. In many ways you probably are, especially if you’ve moved out of home and are supporting yourself.

We consider independence a little bit differently though. If you’re under 22, we may still consider you dependent.

This means we’ll take your parents’ income into account when assessing you for a payment, as well as any income you earn yourself.

Once you turn 22, we automatically consider you independent.

#6 – You can still work part-time or casually if you’re getting a payment from us

If you choose to work while you’re studying, you can earn up to $437 per fortnight without your payment being reduced.

We also have something called the ‘Income Bank’, which means you can build credits each fortnight when you earn less and draw on them when you earn more. This means you can work more in semester breaks and less during semester, and keep more of your payment.

If you’re working casually and getting Youth Allowance as a job seeker while you find your dream full-time job, you can earn up to $143 per fortnight without your payment being reduced.

You do need to be careful to report your income accurately while you’re working, or you may get a debt.

# 7 – You need to keep us updated with certain changes in your life

Once you start getting your payment, you need to let us know about certain changes in your life.

These changes include keeping us updated with any part-time or casual work you might be doing. You should also make sure you’re keeping us up to date with any changes to your study load, your course, your address and your relationship status.

This doesn’t mean you need to call us every time you meet someone cute, or if one of your classes was cancelled this week.

But we do need to know about any changes that might affect your payment, or you might end up with a debt.

Bonus tip!

You can find out more about how our payments work and how much you can get on humanservices.gov.au/leavingschool.

You can also get reminders, ask questions or have a laugh at our memes if you follow us on Facebook.com/StudentUpdate.