Review of the Transition to Independent Living Allowance (TILA): An analysis of the 1 January 2014 reforms to TILA

Aim of publication

On 1 January 2014 the Department of Social Services (DSS) introduced a streamlined administration process that integrates TILA with existing leaving care systems and requires a transition to independence plan be agreed with the TILA recipient.

As an action under the Third Action Plan 2015–18 of the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009–2020, DSS agreed to examine the 2014 reforms to TILA to ensure it continues to target those who need it most and improve efficiency.

The DSS Review of the Transition to Independent Living Allowance aimed to determine the effectiveness and efficiency of the operational arrangements to administer TILA.

The primary research questions were:

  1. Have the 1 January 2014 reforms lessened the administrative burden on caseworkers and young people?
  2. Is the payment accessible to eligible young people and caseworkers supporting them?
  3. What can be changed to ensure that the objectives of TILA can be met more effectively or efficiently?

Who is it for?

The review is for the information of state and territory child protection and policy officers, caseworkers, advocates for young people in care, and young people eligible to receive TILA.

What does it cover?

The bulk of the Review of the Transition to Independent Living Allowance was conducted in mid-2015 and included an online survey completed by state and territory TILA caseworkers and administration officers. Secondary data on the demographic details of TILA recipients was collected from the Department of Human Services and details of the TILA operations were sourced from DSS.

The review made four recommendations, most of which DSS has implemented.

Key findings include:

  • Of the 60 per cent of people surveyed who used the previous TILA arrangements, 81 per cent were of the view that the reforms have improved (28 per cent) or greatly improved (53 per cent) the TILA payment and process as a whole.
  • Average waiting times have decreased (from start to finish) with 63.4 per cent of applications finalised within two weeks.
  • The introduction of the Unified Government Gateway (UGG) has been welcomed by most case workers, with the UGG taking 1-3 days to process applications.

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