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Centrelink Rent Assistance in Australia 2022

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 or a first time renter 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.

According to Social Services Australia:

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 (only the amount paid for lodgings attracts Rent Assistance, not other expenses like rental bonds or insurance);
  • 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 Centrelink Rent Assistance you might receive differs.

There are two separate rates for Rent Assistance:

  • Rent Assistance Rates for People Without Dependent Children
  • Rent Assistance Rates for People With Dependent Children

There is a minimum amount of average 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.

1- Rent Assistance Rates for People Without Dependent Children

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

Centrelink Rent Assistance Rates for People Without Dependent Children
Situation 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

2- Rent Assistance Rates for 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.

Centrelink Rent Assistance Rates for People Without Dependent Children
Situation 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 centrelink payments 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.

Who is Eligible for Rent Assistance

You are eligible for Rent Assistance if you pay rent and also receive one of the following payments:

  • 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 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

Some young people may be eligible for Rent Assistance payments. However certain rules apply.

Young people may be eligible for Rent Assistance if they are living with their parents and receiving one of the following payments:

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

Who is Not 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/renting to buy 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 Centrelink rent assistance with their pension
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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 Changed?

Changes to your living circumstances can affect how much Rent Assistance you receive.

Rent Assistance rates are updated on 20th March and 20th September of each year which will also adjust your Rent Assistance Centrelink payments.

Some things that may change the amount of your Rent Assistance payments include:

  • If the rent you pay increases or decreases
  • If you move house or change address
  • If your income increases or decreases
  • If 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 the changes you make, you might need to submit proof of your residential tenancy agreement or 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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