Home Ed, Centrelink and Kids Aged 16+

VHEAC Communique August 2018
August 28, 2018
Assistance for Isolated Children information for home educators
Assistance for Isolated Children
September 7, 2018
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Home Ed, Centrelink and Kids Aged 16+

If parents are receiving Jobseeker or Family Tax Benefit, they may lose it when their youngest child turns 16, but not everyone does.


Once the youngest child turns 16, the automatic exemption from the Mutual Obligation Requirements ceases. You may still be eligible for an exemption but if so, you will receive the lower level of Jobseeker (not the higher level you received previously). Exemptions are assessed on a case-by-case basis as follows:

In some circumstances, you may continue to get this exemption. For example, if your child is still completing secondary school through home schooling or distance education.

You need to provide proof of:

  • registering for home schooling, or
  • enrolling your child in distance education

OR, provide proof of your child’s ongoing home education, if you:

  • don’t need to register for home schooling, or
  • are exempt due to your state or territory rules

This proof can include workbooks, examination results or lesson plans.

Source: Exemptions from Mutual Obligation Requirements for principal carers (DHS)

Family Tax Benefit

At age 16, the continuation of FTB includes study requirements that the kids be:

  • in full time secondary study in an approved course leading towards a year 12 or equivalent qualification
  • have an acceptable study load, or
  • have been granted an exemption from Centrelink.

Home education does not automatically meet these requirements and there is some subjectivity within Centrelink on whether it does and/or whether to grant an exemption.

When your child turns 16, you receive a letter about the study requirements. Contact Centrelink to discuss your circumstances. It pays to be informed so go armed with information on the requirements and your own circumstances from:

If you lose the FTB, your choices are:

  • Continue home educating without it.
  • (Victorians) Enrol in year 10 or VCE with Distance Ed (you need to have been registered with the VRQA for at least 12 months)
  • A combination of part-time work/part-time study can qualify as ‘full-time education’. Centrelink will not give a blanket comment on what constitutes suitable study/work experience etc. but volunteering can apparently count as part-time work.
  • Appeal the decision where it will be looked at on a case-by-case basis.
  • Some families do nothing when they receive the Centrelink ‘turning 16 letter’ on the basis that home ed = school enrolment. Their payment continues unaffected but some have subsequently been asked to repay the monies received.
  • Consider alternatives to VCE (see our Older Students section).

Youth Allowance

Youth Allowance (YA) is unavailable to home educated students unless they have completed Year 12 or equivalent.  The YA requirements define Year 12 equivalent as as Certificate III, bridging course etc

Check the details against your circumstances:   

Home ed kids often move into courses at this point. Undertaking a course on a full-time basis will satisfy the YA requirements as long as the course leads to a recognised qualification



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