Media Release by The Hon Larry Anthony MP

Parental Income Test Linking

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Larry Anthony, today announced that the Australian Government will waive a large number of Youth Allowance overpayments that have been identified through the Parental Income Test Linking initiative.

“The Parental Income Test Linking initiative was announced in the 2002-03 Budget and allows Centrelink to link relevant information that may affect a Youth Allowance customer entitlement.

“One of the requirements for Youth Allowance recipients who are considered ‘dependent’ is that they provide accurate information about their parents’ income. However, some receive an exemption if their parents are receiving income support payments, such as Newstart Allowance or Disability Support Pension.

“Centrelink has conducted reviews of Youth Allowance recipients who received a parental income test exemption during 1998 to 2003. The review found cases where the parents’ circumstances had changed and the young person or authorised person did not supply new income details in regard to Youth Allowance. As a result, some Youth Allowance recipients had incurred an overpayment.

“The Government will waive overpayments for young people where their parents had actively notified Centrelink of their change in circumstances.

“Overall only a small percentage of Youth Allowance customers will have an overpayment as the majority of young people and their families have done the right thing and told Centrelink about any changes in their circumstances.

“The Parental Income Test Linking initiative will ensure that Youth Allowance recipients will not find themselves in this position in the future as records will be automatically linked. It will increase payment accuracy and make the system fairer and more efficient.

“Youth Allowance is a simple and flexible income support system, encouraging more young people than ever before to take up study or training. The Government spends more than $2.3 billion annually to support more than 380,000 young people through the Youth Allowance payment.

“Australia has a strong and generous social safety net and the Government wants people to receive every dollar that they are entitled to. We also have an obligation to Australian taxpayers to ensure that the system delivers correct payments. The Parental Income Test Linking initiative will do just that,” Mr Anthony said.