Step 1: Check your eligibility

On this page:

Who is eligible for Rent Allowance?

You are generally eligible for Rent Allowance (RA) unless:

  • you or your dependants own a suitable property in your posting location (does not apply to members with dependants who are unaccompanied [MWD(U)])
  • you’re required to live on base

If you own a property and want to find out if you’re still eligible for RA, please raise an enquiry in Online Services under 'my account' and we will assess you for eligibility.

If you’re required to live on the base, we may ask you to provide written permission from your Commanding Officer.

Other things to consider

MWD(U) and member without dependants (MWOD) submariner

Member with dependants (MWD)

  • We must approve your RA, even if you want to move to another property in the same location
  • We may not approve RA if there are suitable Service Residences available
  • You can apply for your family in your posting location

If you change categorisation to MWD while in receipt of RA, you may choose to occupy an SR. Please visit Online Services to view available properties.

Find out if you are eligible

Use the Rent Allowance calculator to find out if you’re eligible for RA, and how much you may receive.

If the calculator shows that you are eligible, you can:

If the calculator cannot determine if you are eligible, the system will send a request to our regional office. We’ll review it and email you our decision.

If we approve it, you can then apply for RA in Online Services. If we do not approve it, we’ll contact you to discuss other options.

How RA is calculated

Defence determines the rates for RA and reviews them every year. Your allowance is calculated this way: Rent minus your member contribution

Rent means 1 of these amounts (whichever is lower):

  1. Your share of the weekly rent or
  2. Your rent ceiling

Member contribution means the amount you must contribute to your rent. It’s based on:

  • your rank
  • your categorisation
  • how many people will live with you

If you’re a MWD(U), you do not pay a member contribution.
If you’re a MWOD, you may not need to pay a member contribution if:

  • you’re posted to a seagoing submarine
  • you leave Australia on a deployment
  • you are deployed, at sea or living under field conditions for more than 22 days

You do not need to tell us, and your contribution will stop automatically. You can find more details in Chapter 7 of the Defence Pay and Conditions Manual (PACMAN).

If you need help

Please raise an enquiry in Online Services under 'my account'.