Rent Assistance – How Much Can You Get?

By Joshua Chadwick October 1st
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One of the most significant expenses Australians have to deal with is rent, and the rising cost of living isn’t exactly making it easy.

What does make it easier is Rent Assistance, a government-mandated payment to help potential tenants across Australia with their rental expenses. So, how much is Rent Assistance, and who is eligible?

For all renters across Australia and any potential first-time renters, here’s everything you need to know about Rent Assistance.

What Is Rent Assistance?

Rent Assistance is a regular payment for Australians that pay rent and already receive government welfare support (pension, income support, more than the base rate of Family Tax Benefit Part A). This payment is provided by Services Australia, otherwise known as Centrelink.

The Rent Assistance Centrelink provides a non-taxable income support payment for those who rent in the private rental market or are currently occupying community housing.

Rent Definition

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 (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 (special conditions apply).

This rental assistance is in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and is adjusted every 6 months, from March 20 to September 20.

Rent Assistance Eligibility

Those looking to benefit from financial assistance must fall under certain circumstances. For starters, you must pay for one of the following:

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

Once you qualify for one of the conditions above, you can get Rent Assistance if you’re already receiving one of the following:

Due to these parameters, not everyone can get Rent Assistance. On the shortlist of those who are not eligible for the rental assistance program are people who:

  • Are travelling away from the home they own for less than 12 months
  • Get an allowance or have a partner who gets Rent Assistance with their pension
  • Have a partner who gets rent assistance with Family Tax Benefit
  • Lease from a state or territory housing authority
  • Live in a residential aged care facility that receives an Australian Government subsidy
  • Own or are buying the home they live in, except relocatable homes

How Much Rent Assistance Can You Get?

To determine the amount of Rent Assistance you’ll be provided with, you must first reach a minimum amount of rent paid fortnightly.

For every $1 of rent you pay above the minimum amount, you’ll receive 75c, which cannot exceed the maximum amount provided by Services Australia.

The rates on Rent Assistance are updated on the 20th of March & the 20th of September each year, correlating with the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

There are two main metrics the rates follow, which follow whether the individual/s under the tenancy have dependent children to care for (If you have dependent children, you’ll usually get Rent Assistance with Family Tax Benefit Part A).

People Without Dependent Children

If You’reYour Fortnightly Rent Is More ThanTo get the maximum payment your fortnightly rent is at leastThe maximum fortnightly payment is
Single$135.40$337.54$151.60
Single, sharer$135.40$270.16$101.07
Couple, combined$219.20$409.60$142.80
1 of a couple separated due to illness$135.40$337.54$151.60
1 of a couple temporarily separated$135.40$325.80$142.80
Updated as of September 2022

People With Dependent Children

If You’reYour Fortnightly Rent Is More ThanTo get the maximum payment your fortnightly rent is at leastThe maximum fortnightly payment is
Single, with 1 or 2 children$177.80$415.62$178.36
Single, with 3 or more children$177.80$446.23$201.32
A couple, with 1 or 2 children$262.78$500.60$178.36
A couple, with 3 or more children$262.78$531.21$201.32
1 of a couple separated due to illness or temporarily separated, with 1 or 2 children$177.80$415.62$178.36
1 of a couple separated due to illness or temporarily separated, with 3 or more children$177.80$446.23$201.32
Updated as of September 2022

How Do You Apply For Rent Assistance?

Typically, you don’t have to go out of your way to apply for Rent Assistance, as Centrelink will assess eligibility themselves once you claim any of the other additional government service payments listed above.

Due to this process, you may need to provide your tenancy application form to claim Rent Assistance, which can be done through myGov, by post or at a Centrelink centre. For more eligibility criteria, you can check online with Centrelink here.

Ensure as well that all your details (name, rent, income changes, marital status, social security, etc.) are updated with Centrelink. This includes all housing options, whether they be public housing, social housing, private rental accommodation and more.

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Joshua Chadwick
Joshua Chadwick
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