Home Australia Centrelink: University student Ashleigh broke both legs and was unable to work, but an outdated youth benefit rule meant she was denied a vital payment to make ends meet.

Centrelink: University student Ashleigh broke both legs and was unable to work, but an outdated youth benefit rule meant she was denied a vital payment to make ends meet.

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Ashleigh Griffith, 20, worked as a cleaner to support herself during her career in medical radiation sciences in Canberra, but was forced to quit after breaking both legs.

A university student who broke both legs and was unable to work was denied vital youth benefit to make ends meet due to a technicality.

Ashleigh Griffiths, 20, has been bedridden and needs a wheelchair or crutches to get around after suffering stress fractures in both legs.

Doctors told Griffiths it would be up to four months before he could put pressure on his legs and start walking.

The 20-year-old was forced to leave her job as a cleaner, an income she used to support herself while studying medical radiation sciences in Canberra.

Ms Griffiths has been applying for an office job, but in the meantime, in order to cover her living costs and help cover her medical expenses, she also applied Centrelink Youth Allowance.

Ashleigh Griffith, 20, worked as a cleaner to support herself during her career in medical radiation sciences in Canberra, but was forced to quit after breaking both legs.

However, his youth benefit application was refused because Centrelink does not consider him to be living independently.

Centrelink currently considers people under the age of 22 to be dependents, meaning the income earned by their parents or guardians affects their eligibility for the subsidy and also the amount they receive.

Parents can only earn $62,634 or less per year for their child to receive the full youth benefit payment of $639 per fortnight.

The biweekly payment is then reduced by 20 cents for every dollar above the threshold.

Ms Griffiths’ $150 a week pension covers all her expenses while she lives at home with her mother and two sisters.

To avoid HECS indexing, he also pays his college course fees in advance, which totaled $2,400 last semester.

Griffiths said she was put in a “terrible” situation after her application was denied because her mother earns too much and has used her savings to pay medical bills.

The 20-year-old is also worried about not being able to pay for her next placement, which involves 2,000 hours of work not covered by the government.

“Those savings were so I could afford to go on placement because on placement you pay for everything, your uniforms, your food, your accommodation,” Mrs Griffiths said. Yahoo Finance.

‘Eating that during all my appointments is quite stressful… I still have to support myself and I still have my placements.

“With the cost of living, there is no way my mother or any parent could fully support their child doing that in the average Australian home.”

Centrelink denied her youth benefit application because she was under 22 and considered dependent on her parents.

Centrelink denied her youth benefit application because she was under 22 and considered dependent on her parents.

More than 450,000 students under the age of 22 are being “excluded” from youth benefit because they are considered dependents, the National Union of Students has found.

The union has been campaigning to lower the independence age for the purposes of Centrelink support from 22 to 18.

The 2024 Australian University Deal report also suggested Centrelink increase the parental income test limit from $62,634 to $68,857 a year.

Raising the means test threshold would allow more students to qualify for Youth Grant payments.

In 2009, former Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard lowered Centrelink’s independence age from 24 to 22.

Daily Mail Australia has contacted Services Australia for comment.

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