TEENAGERS have been paid the SchoolKids bonus of up to $820 directly into their bank accounts – and they don’t have to show how they spend it.
The Daily Telegraph has learned some students aged 16-19 on Youth Allowance received the no-strings-attached payment in June.
It is almost four times the amount of the $220.40 fortnightly Youth Allowance payments given to students who are under 18 and living at home.
The SchoolKids Bonus is designed to help pay for education costs at primary and high school, and the majority of payments were made to families receiving family tax benefit part A.
However, full-time students aged 16-19 on Youth Allowance, AbStudy (living allowance) or the disability support pension with pensioner education supplement are also eligible for the bonus.
Federal opposition education spokesman Christopher Pyne said the “cash splash” could be spent on anything from a new pair of sneakers “to a trip down to the local pub and a flutter on the pokies”.
“The failure of the policy is that it is not linked to education expenses,” he said.
“The government paid this money as compensation for the carbon tax and dressed it up as education but it bears no relation to education.
“This government has a record of a shambolic handling of new government programs and spending commitments and this is just the latest example.”
The revelations come after The Sunday Telegraph revealed many parents have also been paid the $820 SchoolKids bonus despite not having children at school.
The Gillard government confirmed there was a loophole that did not require parents to offer proof of school attendance to get the cash.
Tasmanian independent MP Andrew Wilkie raised concerns earlier this year about the bonus, warning it would go to pokies and alcohol, like the government’s 2008 stimulus package payment.
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