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Centrelink Rent Assistance in Australia 2021

Man holding keys to a house

Rent is easily one of our biggest expenses, and one of the biggest hurdles for people who want to move out on their own. This is where Rent Assistance helps. Rent Assistance is a fortnightly payment available to lower-income earners who already receive certain Centrelink payments or pensions, in order to help them with their rental expenses. If you're a renter in Australia and want to find out more about Rent Assistance and if you’re eligible, keep reading below.


What is Rent Assistance?

Rent Assistance is a regular, extra, payment for people in Australia who pay rent and receive other payments from Centrelink Australia. It’s a non-taxable supplemental payment, for those who rent in the private rental market or community housing.

Rent is defined as the amount paid or payable at regular intervals by a person as a condition of occupying their principal home and includes amounts paid for:

  • lodgings (if board and lodgings is paid, only the amount paid for lodgings attracts Rent Assistance);
  • the use of a site for a caravan, mobile home, tent or other structure;
  • the right to moor a vessel;
  • services provided in a retirement village

 

Department of Social Services Australia

Rent Assistance rates 2021

Depending on your circumstances, the maximum amount of Rent Assistance you might receive differs. There is a minimum amount of rent you will need to pay in order to get Rent Assistance For every $1 of rent you pay above this minimum amount, you will receive 75c in Rent Assistance payments until the max payment threshold is reached.

People without dependent children

If you do not have dependent children under your care, here are the maximum Rent Assistance payments available to you, depending on your circumstances.


Rent Assistance rates for people without dependent children
  Minimum rent* Minimum rent* for maximum assistance payments Maximum assistance payment*
single $125.80 $313.53 $140.80
single, sharer $125.80 $250.96 $93.87
couple, combined $203.60 $380.67 $132.80
1 of a couple separated due to illness $125.80 $313.53 $140.80
1 of a couple temporarily separated $125.80 $302.87 $132.80

Source: Services Australia Rent Assistance payments 2021.
*Fortnightly amount

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People with dependent children

If you have one or more dependent children in your care, you can find the maximum amount of Rent Assistance available to you here.


Rent Assistance rates for people without dependent children
  Minimum rent* Minimum rent* for maximum assistance payments Maximum assistance payment*
single, with 1 or 2 children $165.06 $385.89 $165.62
single, with 3 or more children $165.06 $414.45 $187.04
a couple, with 1 or 2 children $244.16 $464.99 $165.62
a couple, with 3 or more children $244.16 $493.55 $187.04
1 of a couple separated due to illness or temporarily separated, with 1 or 2 children $165.06 $385.89 $165.62
1 of a couple separated due to illness or temporarily separated, with 3 or more children $165.06 $414.45 $187.04

Source: Services Australia Rent Assistance payments 2021.
*Fortnightly amount

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Am I eligible for Rent Assistance?

Rent Assistance eligibility is based on other payments you might be receiving through Centrelink. If you submit a claim for one of the other payments listed under Rent Assistance eligibility, Services Australia will automatically assess if you’re eligible to be receiving Rent Assistance as well. If you are also eligible for Rent Assistance, you might be asked to provide proof of a tenancy agreement and/or rent certificate before you begin receiving payments.

Rent Assistance eligibility

If you pay rent, and also receive one of the following payments, you can get Rent Assistance:

  • Age Pension, Carer Payment, or Disability Support Pension
  • ABSTUDY Living Allowance, Austudy, or Youth Allowance
  • Widow Allowance
  • Partner Allowance or Special Benefit
  • Family Tax Benefit Part A
  • Parenting Payment partnered or single
  • JobSeeker Payment or Farm Household Allowance

In order for “rent” to qualify you for the Rent Assistance payments, you will need to be paying above the minimum amount for one of the following:

  • Rent
  • Fees in a retirement village
  • Lodging
  • Board and lodging
  • Site or mooring fees (if your main home is a caravan, relocatable home, or a boat)

Rent Assistance eligibility for young people

Certain special rules apply to young people who may be eligible for Rent Assistance payments. These rules vary on if you’re living with your parents or not, and receiving one of the following payments:

  • ABSTUDY Living Allowance
  • Disability Support Pension
  • JobSeeker Payment
  • Youth Allowance

Who isn’t eligible for Rent Assistance?

You are not eligible for Rent Assistance payments if you meet any of the following conditions:

  • You’re leasing from a state or territory housing authority
  • You own or are buying the home you live in, except for relocatable homes
  • You’re travelling away from the home you own for less than 12 months
  • The Australian GOvernment is paying a subsidy to your approved residential aged care facility where you live
  • Your partner already receives Rent Assistance through the Family Tax Benefit
  • You get an allowance, and your partner gets rent assistance with their pension

How do I apply for Rent Assistance?

If you get any of the payments already listed above, you don’t need to submit a claim for Rent Assistance. When you claim one of the other eligible payments, Services Australia will automatically assess your Rent Assistance eligibility as well.

If you already get Rent Assistance and you need to change your address, you can do so by signing into myGov and going to Centrelink. In addition, you can change your details through the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app, visit a service centre, or call Services Australia.

Why was my Rent Assistance payment adjusted?

Changes to your circumstances can affect how much you get in Rent Assistance. Rent Assistance rates are updated on 20th March and 20th September of each year which will also adjust your Rent Assistance payments.

Some things that may change your Rent Assistance payments include:

  • The rent you pay increases or decreases
  • You move house
  • Your income increases or decreases
  • There is a change in your family circumstances

If your circumstances do change, in a way that may affect your Rent Assistance, you can update your details through the self-service portal on Services Australia. Depending on what change you make, you might need to submit proof of your residential tenancy agreement and/or to complete a rent certificate which can be submitted online, through the post, or at a service centre.

 

After you submit your proof of residential tenancy agreement or rent certificate, Services Australia will let you know if you’ll be receiving a Rental Assistance payment through a message sent to your myGov Inbox or a letter in the mail.

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