Understand what benefits I'm entitled to

Getting financial help from the government

What benefits can you get?

There’s more to government benefits than the retirement pension or dole. Are you missing out on help from the government? Here’s a shortlist of some of the government benefits you may be entitled to.

  • Newstart Allowance—This is financial help while you’re looking for a job. It helps you do activities that may increase your chances of finding employment.
  • Youth Allowance—You may qualify for financial help if you’re 16 to 24 years old and, typically, are studying full-time or undertaking a full-time Australian apprenticeship or in training. You can also qualify if you’re looking for work or are sick.
  • Pensioner Education Supplement—If you’re a student in high school or university, you may be able to get help with the ongoing costs of your courses.
  • Low Income Health Care Card—Depending on your salary, the government can help you with cheaper prescription medicines and various other health discounts.
  • Energy Supplement—If you’re receiving other benefits, you may be entitled to the Energy Supplement. This is an ongoing payment to help support your household.

Before you receive any money, you’ll have to meet their eligibility criteria. For more details on how to access these government benefits, use the payment finder on the Department of Human Services website.

Getting started with benefits

The process for claiming depends on the specific benefit, but you can generally follow these steps:

1. Check that you’re entitled to receive the benefit
As your first step to claiming benefits, you need to make sure you meet their requirements for eligibility. You can usually find the specific criteria by searching on the payment finder on the Department of Human Services website.

Generally, eligibility is based on age, employment status, living situation or whether you’re working or studying at the moment. There are generally strict criteria on who can and who cannot apply for the benefit.

2. Fill out the form and collect your supporting documents
To find out if you will be paid the benefit and how much money you’re eligible for, you’ll have to fill out a form and provide some documents. The documents will need to support what you’ve written on the form, and may include your identity card, a certificate from a previous workplace or your school, or proof of your financial situation. The documents are important to accurately and quickly assess your claim, so it’s recommended that you take the time to collect everything requested and submit it in one go.

3. Submit your claim
It’s usually possible to submit forms online, but there will almost always be a face-to-face follow up at a Centrelink service branch. You’ll need to make an appointment and bring your original documents.

4. Wait for the outcome
Your application will be assessed by a service agent. They’ll inform you if your application was successful or whether you need to supply more documents. If it was successful, they’ll confirm when your benefits will start, how much they’ll be, how long they will last and any other conditions.

For more details on how to access government benefits, visit the Department of Human Services website.

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It’s important to consider your particular circumstances and read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement or Terms and Conditions before deciding what’s right for you. This information hasn’t taken your circumstances into account. 

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