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5.4.1 Overview

Subject to paragraph 5.5.2, a student who has been granted education allowance at a 'living away from home', 'double orphan' or homeless rate may be entitled to the payment of rent assistance.  Rent assistance for students under the education schemes is not subjected to a means test.  To be eligible to receive rent assistance a student must be 16 years of age or older.

Rent assistance payable under the Scheme, whether to a student in or outside Australia, is only payable in the same circumstances that rent assistance would have been payable to the student under the Social Security Act 1991 if the student had not been a student receiving benefits under the Scheme but had been a person receiving youth allowance under that Act.

Note – as at 1 April 2003, rent assistance must, among other things, be only for premises in Australia and the maximum period that rent assistance is payable, while a student is outside Australia, is 26 weeks.

Departmental Instruction C36/1998 provides guidance on assessing Rent Assistance for VCES beneficiaries.

Rent Assistance cannot be paid:

(a)in advance (except for secondary students in boarding schools where the 'living away from home' rate is paid a term in advance; or

(b)while a student is resident overseas; or

(c)when a student who receives Rent Assistance returns to their parental or family home at the end of the educational year (A student who has a requirement to maintain accommodation until the following educational year may continue to receive rent assistance; or

(d)to a student who is a home owner; or

(e)to a student who is a tenant of a state or territory housing authority.

The formula to be used for the provision of rent assistance is:

(fortnightly rent – current rent threshold) x 75%.

The amount of Rent Assistance payable is the lower of the calculated amount or the maximum Rent Assistance amount.  The rent threshold and the maximum rate of Rent Assistance are indexed twice annually with any increase taking effect from the first payday on or after the 20th March and the 20th September indexation dates each year.