Step 4: Start Rent Allowance

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How you receive Rent Allowance

Rent Allowance (RA) is paid via the Defence pay system (Defence One). It cannot be paid directly to your landlord or agent.

You receive it fortnightly, in arrears. This means each payment you receive is for the previous 2 weeks.

It can take 2 to 6 weeks to receive your first allowance after you apply. The quicker you submit your documents, the quicker you’ll receive it.

RA is paid from the date you move in. In some situations, you can apply to have early rent payments and other costs reimbursed

If you have questions about payments, call the Defence Call Centre on 1800 DEFENCE (1800 333 362).

Participate in the annual RA review

If you receive an RA, you must participate in the RA review every year.

Claim reimbursement for utility costs

You can apply to have utility costs reimbursed if you are a:

member with dependants who is unaccompanied (MWD(U))
member without dependants (MWOD) submariner

The maximum benefit you can claim is in Chapter 7 of the Defence Pay and Conditions Manual (PACMAN).

Submit a copy of the paid bill and your receipt via an enquiry in Online Services using the ‘My Account’ link. We will then process your claim.

The paid bill must show:

  • your name
  • your address
  • the billing period
  • all charges

The receipt can be a:

  • screen shot of your payment history inside your utility provider account
  • current bill that shows you paid a previous bill
  • screen shot of the BPAY payment from online banking

You can do this for multiple providers. For example, gas, water and electricity.

You cannot claim these amounts:

  • Green energy
  • Late fees
  • Refundable deposits

Tell us if your situation changes

If your situation changes, you must tell us as soon as possible.

You can tell us about the change and submit documents on Online Services. If the change is not listed, raise an enquiry in Online Services under 'my account'.

We will say if you need to upload supporting documents. If you do, you must submit them within 14 days. This helps us avoid or limit any debt because of the change.

You must tell us about personal changes such as:

  • rank change
  • categorisation change
  • marriage
  • separation
  • birth of a child
  • new dependant is recognised
  • dependant is no longer recognised
  • you purchase a property
  • you are deployed
  • you take leave without pay
  • a visitor comes to stay for an extended period
  • you take on a flexible work arrangement outside your posting location

And, if you are a MWD(U) and you return to the family home for an extended period.

You must also tell us about property changes, such as a change to:

  • how much rent you need to pay
  • who shares the property with you

Move to a new house in the same area

You must tell us if you wish to move to a new house in the same posting location.

You may also wish to view:

Log in to Online Services to see available properties.

If you have approval to live outside your posting location, your approval does not apply to a new property. You must get approval again.

Your unit or base changes and you wish to stay in your property

You need approval from your Commanding Officer if you wish to live outside your posting location.

Your categorisation changes

If you become a member with dependants (MWD), you will still receive RA. But the rates are different.

You may also wish to consider a Service Residence.

You are deployed

If you are a MWOD or MWD(U) and you are deploying, consider if you want to keep your rental property.

If you will be deployed for 6 months or more and want to give up your rental property, call Toll Transitions on 1800 819 167. They can give you information about storage entitlements for your personal property.

Quick reference table for change documents

Form or document
If you sign a new lease for your rental property.

Must show:
  • tenancy start and end dates
  • property address
  • rent amount
  • signatures of all parties
If you don’t have a lease, complete an Owner/Member statement [PDF 487 Kb].

Rent receipt

If your rent changes, or as proof for the annual RA review.

Must show:
  • property address
  • name of occupants
  • the rent amount
  • period of payment
Change of categorisation

If your categorisation changes, Defence will confirm categorisation changes to allows us to adjust your RA amount accordingly.

Change of sharing occupants

If the people who live with you changes. Allows us to adjust your RA amount accordingly. The form is available on Online Services.

Visitor notification form

If you have a visitor come to stay for more than 5 weeks. This may affect your RA amount. Download a Visitors notification form [PDF 285 Kb] 

Use the RA calculator

Login to Online Services to check your entitlement using the Rent Allowance calculator.