Frequently Asked Questions for Foster Carers

What is the Transition to Independent Living Allowance?

Transition to Independent Living Allowance (TILA) is a payment of up to $1,500 to help young people cover some basic costs as they prepare to leave, or have already left, foster care.

Who is eligible for TILA?

To be eligible for TILA, a young person needs to be between 15 to 25 years old and is leaving, or has already left, your care.

The young person may also be eligible for TILA if they stay at home with you after the care order expires.

The young person can talk to their case worker about their eligibility.

What can TILA be used for?

The young person and their case worker together decide on the appropriate use of TILA as part of a transition to independence plan.

The allowance can be used for a range of support services as well as training and education materials including:

  • housing – including connecting utilities, moving expenses and bond payment
  • essential household items – including appliances, whitegoods, furniture and consumables
  • life skills training – including financial/budgeting, nutrition/cooking and home maintenance
  • employment, education and training expenses – including books, a computer, enrolment fees, internet connection, clothing for work or interview and transport to undertake studies or employment
  • one-off transport expenses – including driving lessons and vehicle registration
  • public transport passes or other essential items that support a young person to access the above
  • counselling support – to address any issues identified in the transition to independence plan.

TILA is to be used for the benefit of the young person and not for fixed items installed into premises not owned by the young person.

What is a transition to independence plan?

A transition to independence plan is a record of a young person’s goals and the support needed to achieve these goals.

The young person will work with their case worker to develop a transition to independence plan. The transition to independence planning will consider the young person’s housing, financial security, health, life skills, education/employment/training, identity and culture, legal matters and social relationships/support networks.

How does the young person in my care apply for TILA?

They need to work with their case worker on a leaving care plan and agree on what the payment will be used for and when.

The case worker will apply for TILA on their behalf and manage the payment.

How is TILA paid?

TILA is paid as either a lump sum ($1,500) or in up to six instalments (minimum of $250 per application) as agreed between the young person and their case worker. A separate application must be made for each instalment.

The TILA payment is not made directly to the young person. The payment is transferred into the bank account of the caseworker's organisation or the department. The case worker purchases the goods or services on behalf of the young person.

Is TILA an assessable income for tax purposes?

TILA is not an assessable income for tax purposes.

What if they don’t have a case worker?

If the young person needs a case worker, they can contact their state government department for child protection. They must have a case worker to apply for TILA.

  • Australian Capital Territory (Community Services Directorate) – (02) 6207 4579
  • Northern Territory (Department of Children and Families) – (08) 8922 7097
  • New South Wales (Department of Family and Community Services) – (02) 9716 2222
  • Queensland (Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services) – (07) 3224 8045
  • South Australia (Department for Education and Child Development) – hilda.cheng@sa.gov.au(08) 8226 6037
  • Tasmania (Department of Health and Human Services) – (03) 6233 2273
  • Victoria (Department of Human Services) – 1300 532 846
  • Western Australia (Department for Child Protection and Family Support) – (08) 9222 2658

Is there any other support available to young people leaving care?

Young people leaving care can access a range of Australian Government payments and services, such as Youth Allowance, Reconnect and jobactive. For more information visit Support services for young people moving to independent living.

Where can I find more information?

You can find more information at www.dss.gov.au/TILA.

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