Communities and Justice

Independent Living Allowance

Turning 18 years of age is an important milestone for any young person as they start their adult life. Young people in long-term statutory out-of-home care will need support to navigate this time in their lives, just like any other young person.

From 1 February 2023, young people who have recently left out-of-home care, can access the new Independent Living Allowance

For current allowance rates, refer to DCJ Care Allowances fact sheet.

Can I apply?

You are eligible for the Independent Living Allowance if you:

  • are 18 to 20 years old 
  • lived in out-of-home care for at least 12 months before you turned 18 years of age
  • did not leave care before the age of 18 years following an adoption, guardianship or restoration order
  • live independently
  • don’t own the house you live in
  • need support with housing and essential living expenses.

You are still eligible even if you:

  • are receiving Transition to Independent Living (TILA) or other government supports
  • live in subsidised accommodation 
  • are accessing the Commonwealth Youth Allowance (however, the Independent Living Allowance may affect your eligibility for the Commonwealth Youth Allowance, depending on your income)
  • receive other sources of income (this allowance may impact your tax returns, as it is considered taxable income).

You may not qualify if you:

  • live with a carer who receives the Staying on Allowance
  • have left care following an adoption or guardianship order
  • were restored to a parent or parents before turning 18 years of age
  • are accessing supported independent living programs
  • have your housing needs met by other government or non-government settings, including corrective services.

When can I apply?

Applications open on 1 February 2023.

How do I apply?

The application is a three step process. If you meet the eligibility criteria, begin your application by completing step 1 listed below. You will need to complete all steps to receive the payment. 

Step 1: Online application

Fill in this short application form online. After completing the application, you will receive a confirmation email with a reference number. Please save this reference number in case you need to contact us about your application.

Step 2: Further information and ID check

After we receive your application form, our team will call you to discuss your application. We will ask you a few more questions about your current situation to assess your eligibility. We will also check your identity over the phone. You will need a Medicare card, drivers licence or passport number to do that. 

Finally, we will ask you to send us your bank statement.

Step 3: Bank account verification

Email us a bank statement with your name and bank details. This helps us ensure the payment goes to you and that no one else claims this allowance on your behalf.


Once all three steps have been completed, we will organise your payment. 

We will do our best to process all applications as quickly as possible, however there may be delays. 

If you want to follow up your application, or would like to let us know any changes, please email the Care Leavers Line at and quote your reference number.

Can I apply if I am not yet 18 years of age?

If you haven’t yet turned 18 years of age, your caseworker will talk to you about your options and will include them in your leaving care plan. If you choose to stay with your carer, your carer may qualify for the Staying on Allowance

If the Independent Living Allowance has not been included in your leaving care plan before you turn 18 years, you can return to this page to get the latest information on how to apply for the Independent Living Allowance.

What can I use the allowance for?

There are no rules on how you spend your allowance. This is an ongoing payment to help with the rising cost of living such as rent, gas and electricity, groceries, transport and other essential living expenses. 

Other supports and contacts

You can access support and financial assistance until you turn 25 years of age, through the After Care Allowance and other programs. Learn more on the Youth Hub website, speak to your caseworker, or contact the Department of Communities and Justice Care Leavers Line at

Last updated:

18 Mar 2024