The “poor uni student” paradigm is almost an unspoken rule for student life. Sure, when you first start uni you may set out a perfect meal plan. Go-tos usually consisting of Avo toast, your daily $4 coffee and anything you could steal from your parents’ house. But unfortunately, being able to afford nothing but two-minute noodles and Maccas is almost a rite of passage for students living away from home.
It’s difficult not being able to poach from your parents’ house like you did in high school. Not to mention being unable to retain anything other than casual work due to the pressures of full-time study. So, to make ends meet financially, it seems that’s there’s only one option for survival: youth allowance.
Believe me, once your claim is processed, youth allowance can feel a heavenly process. A little money streaming into your bank account every fortnight (if you are eligible) can seem like a beacon of light. The week’s groceries (and maybe a night out with your roommates) is able to be afforded. Unfortunately though, despite the relief youth allowance can bring, there is a giant hurdle to be crossed before you can reap its rewards. The dreaded application form – the source of great pain for many students.
Here are the thoughts we’ve all had when trying to navigate the infuriating application process, because “the struggle is really real.”
“So – it’s not just a one-page form then?”
Sadly, the application for youth allowance is one long form filled with a massive array of questions ranging from your personal details and family information, to your savings, work history and degree info. After filling out Centrelink’s crazy-detailed application, being labelled as part of “the lazy generation” by your uncle at the family gatho will be sure to sting a little more than usual. Filling out the form doesn’t even guarantee that your claim will be granted. Binging Netflix honestly seems like a better option sometimes.
“Oh shit – what’s my tax file number?”
Some of the questions within the application form are straight forward. Your address: tick. Parents’ date of birth: fine. Your employers ABN or any form of information relating to the foreign concept that is the Australian taxation system: NOPE. If you’re lucky, your ‘rents won’t be far away and when in doubt, it’s always best to seek some help.
“Sure Centrelink – it’s totally reasonable that I would own my own boat/house/estate”
The nerve Centrelink possesses to even suggest that we, as struggling students trying to get youth allowance, have a stash of valuable assets just waiting to be called upon. Not cool Centrelink, not cool.
“This is too much – maybe I should just defer uni instead”
Realistically, you will probably think this continuously if you’re in the midst of the long, painful process of trying to get youth allowance before you start your degree. At times, Centrelink’s process can seem like it was specially designed in order to discourage students from applying. However, once you answer that final question or upload that last supporting document, you will feel as though a gigantic weight has been lifted off your shoulders. It’ll feel like it was all worth it.
“You can’t be serious – 6 weeks for processing????”
Once you’ve managed to finish the application, you return to the claims home screen. It’s here that you look at your “estimated processing completion date.” Staring at the screen, you do the maths in your head and realise that you could have probably just saved yourself the time and stress, and found a part-time job in that amount of time. Oh well..
Once your claim is finally complete, one positive thing to come out of it (despite the moolah itself) is the gained knowledge that you have completed one of the “must-do” student experiences. So take comfort in the fact that you are definitely not alone in one of the greatest struggles facing all students.
So, while the claim is being processed, relax, you’ve earned it. And hey, maybe even celebrate by treating yourself to something other than noodles for dinner again?
Image source: NBCUniversal Television