Rural youth help goes wanting
Minister for Community Services Larry Anthony today said only a third of eligible young people had claimed Youth Allowance after eligibility for the payment was extended for rural families at the start of this year.
“Only 2,500 young people have claimed Youth Allowance under the generous assets test limits that were extended at the start of this year. The Government estimates around 4,700 more young people may be eligible and not realise it.
“Previously 50 per cent of the value of a family’s interest in the assets of a farm or business could be disregarded for eligibility for Youth Allowance and on 1 January 2001 this limit was increased to 75 per cent.
“This change means young people from families with farm or business assets worth up to $1.7 million may qualify for Youth Allowance, subject to parental means testing.
“This is another specific initiative from this Government to help country kids who study away from home. We also give rural students who have to live away from home to study a higher rate of Youth Allowance and access to the Student Financial Supplement Scheme, Fares Allowance and the Student Income Bank.
“There are a significant number of families in regional communities yet to access Family payments announced as part of tax reform.
“Rural families may not know that the assets test which previously applied to family benefits was abolished. Farming families who may be asset rich but income poor will benefit greatly from the change.
“From 1 July the maximum rate of Family Tax Benefit Part A is $122.92 per fortnight for a child under 13 and $155.82 for a child between 13 and 15 years,” Mr Anthony said.
Families should clarify their eligibility at their local Centrelink office. Alternatively they can call 132 490 regarding Youth Allowance and 136 150 regarding Family Tax Benefit.