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The Start Work Bonus assists DCJ tenants starting work for the first time or re-entering the workforce after a break.

We know that starting work can sometimes mean extra costs such as new clothes and travel.

If a person in the household over the age of 18 commences employment and you are approved for the Start Work Bonus, the extra money from starting a new job will not be included for up to 26 weeks when we calculate your rent. You will pay the same rent as you did just before you started work.

Who is eligible?

You are eligible if you are over the age of 18 and you:

  • start work, and
  • tell us about starting work within 28 days.

You are not eligible if you:

  • already pay market rent
  • are changing jobs
  • are moving from casual to permanent or from part-time to full-time work.

For more information see eligibility for the Start Work Bonus.

How do I apply?

You should tell us if you or a household member are starting work as soon as possible. To apply for the Start Work Bonus you will need to fill out either a Tenancy Online Form or a Rent Subsidy application form with the date you (or the household member) started work and your new household income details. In addition, an Employment Income Details form must be completed by the employer including the start date of employment.

We will assess your rent subsidy application and if we approve you for the Bonus we will write to you to confirm this. The letter will include information about how much rent you should pay and the date to pay that amount from.

How much extra money would I have in my pocket?

During the Start Work Bonus period you will have no increase in your rent so you will have extra money. You can use the Start Work Bonus calculator to see how much extra money you will have if you start work and are approved for the Start Work Bonus.

What happens when the Start Work Bonus ends?

After 26 weeks, your rent will increase based on your new household income. After getting a job, most tenants find they still only have to pay 25% of their income in rent and they continue to receive a rent subsidy. That means you are still better off than you would be in the private rental market.

If you or a household member stop working during the 26 week period, please tell us as soon as possible. This allows us to reassess your rental subsidy correctly and ensure that you pay the correct rent.

Will my lease end if I start work?

No matter how much you earn, your lease will continue until its end date. Before your lease ends, we will review your income.

More information

For more information call the Housing Contact Centre or visit your local DCJ Housing office.

For help finding work, look for a local Job Active provider or call Job Services.

Job Services Australia
13 62 68

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Last updated: 16 Aug 2023