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Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA) is a rent supplement provided by the Australian Government which is paid through Centrelink to help low-income earners who are renting accommodation.

People living in social housing properties owned by the Aboriginal Housing Office may be eligible to receive CRA from Centrelink.

What is Aboriginal Housing Office CRA rent?

Aboriginal Housing Office CRA rent is the amount of rent a tenant pays when they are eligible for CRA. It is made up of:

  • The subsidised rent that would apply to an Aboriginal Housing Office property without CRA, plus
  • The amount of the household’s CRA.

An example of Aboriginal Housing Office CRA rent

Aboriginal Housing Office tenant Mary Jones, receives a Centrelink pension of $400 per week and is also entitled to receive $50 per week CRA.

Mary’s CRA rent is set at 25% of her Centrelink pension of $400. This is $100 plus her total CRA payment of $50. This means the rent that Mary pays is $150 per week.

The CRA rent cannot be more than the market rent for that property. If the market rent for Mary’s property was $120 per week, her rent would be $120 per week.

How do I apply for CRA?

If you are a new tenant you must apply for CRA through Centrelink as soon as possible. You need to tell them how much your CRA rent is, so they can calculate what you are entitled to.

To process your application Centrelink will require the following:

  • Centrelink Rent Certificate (the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) can help you fill this out)
  • CRA Rent Letter (given to you by DCJ)
  • CRA Report (given to you by DCJ)
  • Residential Tenancy Agreement

Once your new CRA rent is calculated, you will receive your CRA Rent Letter and CRA Report. You will then need to give this information to Centrelink so they can assess the correct amount of CRA.

If you are already an Aboriginal Housing Office tenant, you must advise DCJ within 28 days of any change to your household either by completing an online Tenancy Form or lodging a Rent Subsidy Applicant form with supporting documents.

What happens if I do not apply for CRA?

It is very important that you apply for the CRA you are entitled to because, even if you don’t, your rent will still include that amount.

If you do not receive CRA, or your CRA has been cancelled, contact Centrelink urgently to find out if you are eligible. You can also ask Centrelink to consider backdating your CRA entitlement. Then let your Client Service Officer know about Centrelink’s decision on your CRA entitlement.

What if Centrelink says I am not eligible for CRA?

If you are not eligible for CRA, your rent will not usually include any CRA amount. You will need to provide evidence of Centrelink’s decision to DCJ.

Your Client Service Officer will arrange to have your CRA rent reviewed; they will then contact you with the result of the review.

Paying your CRA rent

You can pay your rent using any of our payment options. These are:

  • Online via ePay on the DCJ website
  • through the Rent Deduction Scheme
  • BPAY©
  • by Direct Debit from your bank account

The Rent Deduction Scheme is an easy way to pay rent if you receive Centrelink payments. This lets you have rent (and other payments such as water usage) taken from your payments and sent straight to DCJ. To sign up for Rent Deduction Scheme, you can complete a Tenancy Online form or download a copy of the form from DCJ website.

If you have signed up to the Rent Deduction Scheme, DCJ will automatically adjust your deduction when your rent and other payments change.

What if I disagree with a DCJ decision about my CRA rent?

If you believe DCJ has made a wrong decision you should first discuss your concerns with your Client Service Officer, who can arrange to have your CRA rent reviewed, then contact you with the result of the review.

If you still believe your CRA rent has been set incorrectly, you can ask for this decision to be reviewed. To do this, fill in a Review of Decisions form available online or from any DCJ Housing office.

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Last updated: 28 Jul 2019