Are grey nomads entitled to claim rent assistance?

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Centrelink and rent assistance for grey nomads
Travellers can upload claims via the website rather than in person

A common question we are asked is whether you can receive Rent Assistance for caravan park fees while travelling around Australia. Rent Assistance is targeted to make sure we are helping those who need it.

Rent Assistance is a supplementary payment and is paid in addition to certain Centrelink payments, such as Age Pension, Carer Payment, Disability Support Pension or Newstart Allowance. It’s not a payment you can apply for, and the amount you receive depends on how much rent you pay.

We’ll assess your eligibility for it when you claim a payment from us, and if you move to a new address, we’ll check if you’re still eligible to receive it or if your payment needs to be adjusted. You can find out if you’re eligible to receive Rent Assistance by using the Payment and Service Finder tool on the home page of our website.

If you are a homeowner and are travelling around Australia, you won’t be eligible for Rent Assistance for the first 12 months, as the social security system considers you to be temporarily absent from your principal home. After 12 months, your caravan or motorhome becomes your principal home, and your family home is classed as an asset.

After this point, you may then be eligible for Rent Assistance for caravan park site fees. However, if you’re not a homeowner, you may be eligible for Rent Assistance if your main home is a caravan, relocatable home, or a boat and you’re paying site or mooring fees. There’s a minimum amount of rent you need to pay each fortnight in order to receive Rent Assistance.

If you receive Rent Assistance, it’s important to let us know of any change in you circumstances. You must tell us within 14 days of the change and the easiest way to do this is through your Centrelink online account, the Express Plus Centrelink app, or through phone self-service.

It’s in your best interest to advise us on the day you check in to each caravan site so that we can assess your Rent Assistance using the most current information. To avoid making trips in and out of town, we recommend asking staff at one of our service centres for multiple copies of our rent declaration forms, so you can fill them in on arrival at each check-in.

You can then upload it to your online account on myGov or lodge it in person at a service centre, Access Point or Agent. We have 350 Agents and 240 Access Points across Australia, and they are a fantastic resource for customers travelling remotely. They’re run by host organisations, such as council or community centres, on our behalf. While they don’t provide our full range of services, they can offer access to free Wi-Fi, computers and printers, fax, and phones.

Find where our Agents and Access Points are at this website.

Travelling customers can plan to meet up with one of our Mobile Service Centres if they require bespoke advice. You can find the dates and destinations for our Mobile Service Centres on our website here.

  • Have you successfully claimed rent assistance as you travel? Comment below.

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39 Responses to Are grey nomads entitled to claim rent assistance?

  1. You gotta be jokeing! In my opinion IF you put in a claim for rental ass and are traveling around in your caravan you should be ashamed of yourself!

    • I really can’t see a problem with it. IF people have worked and paid taxes all their lives them the should be able to claim a legitimate entitlement. I’d much rather see the Grey Nomads travelling the country during their retirement years collecting assistance than these groups of unemployed youth all claiming the dole, or Newstart or what ever it’s called. You just have to stop off at some of the free camping spots around the country to see the deplorable groups of them all enjoying centrelink handouts while the drink and drug themselves silly. This notion that older people are a burden on society is rubbish. The youth of today need to step up.

      • Totally agree so true

    • Laurie, totally agree with your comment.

    • Some people are travelling in their caravan following temporary work (as often this is all they can get); their caravan is their only home & therefore they are FULLY entitled to rental assistance if they meet the other criteria. Please don’t be judgemental.

      • I agree with you pensioners are better off on the road as they cannot afford to pay half their pension for a lousy room in a backyard just to stay near their family

    • Not every baby boomer retired with assets and a huge superannuation Laurie. It is actually cheaper for pensioners to travel via caravan to get the extra convenience of not paying for water and electricity. Spare a thought for those who may not have had the opportunity or advantage of financial knowledge that you seem to have had.

    • If people are lucky enough to own a home and a caravan setup there is no reason they should get rental assistance. A lot of pensioners, young and old, are on the road as there are NO affordable options for them in cities. It’s not necessarily a choice they have made, uprooting themselves from support networks etc. as there are NO affordable accommodation choices near their families and friends. And they may have no super or very.little. So they travel, but Not in the style of many motherboard. There are no expensive day trips, eating in pubs or restaurants, wine with dinner in the caravan parks etc.

      • You are correct You are not entitled to rental assistance in a caravan park if you still own your principal home but if you do not own your own home yes you are fully entitled to claim rental assistance

    • You are a very poorly educated person person who obviously did not read the comments from the general manager of Centrelink.
      if the caravan or motorhome is there Primary place of living yes they can claim, it’s not for holiday makers

    • Why because someone cannot afford a home other than a caravan? Who are you to judge.l anyway? Stop trolling and move on.

    • Why should anybody be ashamed Laurie. I live in a village and I don’t tell anyone I am on a part pension because of some people like yourself.
      Jealous. I bet if you qualified you would claim rental assistance.

    • And some people need to be ashamed for claiming benefits when they could work. Why should people who have worked hard and paid taxes miss out on something they’re entitled to

    • Well said . If your enjoying travel you can possibly afford to pay the fees & most are doing the free sites anyway .

    • Can I get rent assistance if I free Camp?

    • Not all people travelling around in a caravan are doing it for the love of it a lot off people are looking for work and therefore living in a caravan park whilst they are working and travelling is probably the cheapest option to paying big rent plus having the added cost of transporting their worldy goods with them and a lot of people have to chase the seasonal work or be on the dole Being able-bodied and able to work is much better than being on the dole so why should these people not receive the rental assistance

  2. We have been on the road for one year at the start of our trip we were told we could not get rent assistance so we have not claimed all year. Not happy

    • Rob, the article does say you can’t claim for the first year if you still own your own home. But you can start now. Safe & happy travels.

    • Rob, you may now be eligible as it’s been one year, re read the article

    • If you can prove the rent you have been paying you can get back payment. I received 18 months of rent assistance back payment as I never lodged it as was to busy, moved away on the road and took my old lease and rent reciepts into centrelink and the lady said I was eligible for back payment

      • You are extremely lucky but I’d be careful Simon. If someone else assesses your past payment you might find you have an overpayment and you will have a debt to centrelink to repay. The regulation clearly states you can only get paid in arrears for 14 days of a claim. I found out by personal experience. Also have found that 7 different centrelink personnel have 7 different interpretations of how to apply entitlement.

        • I think the truth is you can get 13 weeks backpay from the date you lodge your rent relief application. 12 or 13, but not more or less than that. there can be a delay in receiving that initial payment, but that can be a helpful windfall when doing it tough.

  3. I’m with you Laurie. You don’t have to look far to see why this country is going broke.I thought rental ass is for when you are renting a house.Not for the fees of a caravan park.If you can afford to travel Aus in a van then you can afford a house and stay off the road. I don;t want to meet that type of bludger on my travels.

    • Hey Dave, read the article before having a whinge. If a caravan is your home then its no different than renting a flat. You are entitled to it. Better a grey nomad than some skungy bludger.

    • So you’re saying that because I happen to own a 21 year oId vehicle (a van) and I’ve set up a bed inside for myself (so I don’t have to sleep on the street), that I should be able to “afford a house and stay off the road”? Seriously?

  4. rent assistance is for people who are in financial difficulty not for people who just want to trave and have the working people of Australia pay for there holidays

    • Obviously you’re not trying to live on a pension that you’ve worked 50 years paying for Barry. It’s not our fault that this govt gives gifts to companies and squanders the money we’ve been paying for years

  5. If you own a house and travel , then after certain time you can claim rent assistance, but your house will be an asset and then your assets will be to big you won’t be eligible for pension
    So work that out. Also you can only travel or be away from your house for 3 months ( I think) and then you lose some pension.i think it’s the utilities. They forget elect , rates, etc still have to be paid.
    I find this is against all the people who saved and have a house. This should not happen. The pension is our right, we paid our taxes all those years. We should not be subjected to an asset test on our homes if we want to travel. America gives you pension after 65 nothing to do with assets and you can do temp work also.

  6. Government payments are not an entitlement or right. Those taxes you paid were spent on many other so called “entitlements” – e.g. Roads, Health, Police, Education & on it goes. Entitlements or hand outs are now screwing this country. Don’t be critical of anyone who has worked hard, saved hard, paid for financial advice over the years so they do not have to put their hand out. Thank goodness they are amongst us.

    • I’m one of those and never had a handout and will be a self-funded retiree. I started to work casually as a 13-year-old. Was a single Mum working at 17? I am proud to be in this position and looking to help others now in my 60’s that aren’t. Instead of whining just get on with life in a happy country and think ourselves lucky.

  7. What is the fuss for.
    If you apply and get rent assist you have it. If you don’t get it well you don’t have it. Some people will be eligible some not.
    It is your own fault if you do not investigate what you may be eligible for. It is not going to be spoon fed to you

  8. Some interesting perspectives here. I admit, I am a self funded retiree, over pension age, home owner and receive nothing from the Government. Those on the band wagon of “I’ve paid my taxes” and therefore entitled to assistance, well, I too paid my taxes & probably paid more in tax than a lot of people have earned in their working life, so why am I not “entitled” to Government assistance. Taxes have nothing to do with pensions or Government assistance.

  9. Our caravan is our only home. When we rented a house we were eligible for rent assistance. As it’s based on how much in site fees we pay, why shouldn’t we be eligible for a bit of assistance while we’re on a pension? I don’t understand the reasons some are against us receiving it. We’ve worked for 50 years

  10. It seems to me if people living on the road are receiving rent assistance, they are obviously entitled to it. And probably have not enjoyed a good financial situation throughout there life. Leave them alone to enjoy life as best they can. There’s probably plenty of other areas government money is being spent unfairly if you really what to make someone’s life unpleasant.

  11. Some people are quick and rash in judging other people without knowing their needs and circumstances. The silver spooners can’t recognise that an organisation has determined certain people have a need for assistance and recognise that as an “entitlement”
    How much volantary work have these people who judge others done. What have they done to serve their country for the better of others and who gives them the right to publicly judge.what they can’t seem to understand…bloody unAustralian mate.!

  12. So . What next? Will there be claims submitted for travelling expenses
    between c/van parks?

    • Build a bridge David.

  13. Statistics from the Tax Dept show just about no one who has claimed a tax rebate during their working life has not fiddled with or over exaggerated a claim…be it for laundry, clothes, boots, travel, tools etc.
    These are the people who now judge and criticise others who are entitled to and make honest legal claims for expenses which an organisation has deemed legitimate. But blokes like Dave are the first to judge, condemn and criticise. People who live in glass houses shud not throw stones. Cheers.

  14. Hi
    I’m 74, divorced live on my pension. I have been paying $250+ a week for a granny flat just to be close to my family. Now am thinking to live in caravans as close as possible to my family (Sydney) I think it would be cheaper and better lifestyles. I have a reliable small car. Any advice would be much appreciated.

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