Recipients have to notify Centrelink about both departure from and arrival to Australia, as under the notification provisions; these are events that can affect a person's social security payment. Recipients living in a country other than Australia also have to notify Centrelink if they depart or return to that country. If a recipient fails to notify Centrelink of their departure from Australia, their payment can be suspended to review whether the person continues to qualify for payment during their absence from Australia. If the recipient does not qualify, their payment MUST be cancelled.
Note: In ANY circumstances, income support payments cease to be payable after the period stated in the 'Portability of social security payments table' elapses or if the conditions stated in the table in respect of the absence are not met, UNLESS the person's portability period has been extended. They may also cease to be payable if the person overseas ceases to qualify for payment, e.g. PP stops for a grandfathered PP recipient when their youngest child turns 16.
When a recipient notifies Centrelink about a departure or an arrival the following information should be collected from the person.
Act reference: SSAct section 1217 Meaning of maximum portability period, allowable absence and portability period, section 1218C Extension of person's portability period-general
SS(Admin)Act section 67 Person who has made a claim, section 68 Person receiving social security payment or holding concession card, section 81 Cancellation or suspension for non-compliance with certain notices
The following information should be obtained before departure if relevant:
DSP is generally only portable for any absence of up to 6 weeks. However, in certain circumstances (i.e. where a person is covered by an international social security agreement and is in receipt of DSP, or where the person has a terminal illness and is severely disabled) medical information may be necessary before the recipient leaves Australia or the agreement country.
Medical information is required for DSP recipients who seek indefinite portability of their pension on the basis of a severe and permanent disability and no future work capacity. DSP recipients applying for portability under this provision are required to undergo a portability assessment which includes an assessment of their impairment and their future work capacity (JCA).
DSP recipients need to apply for portability under these provisions while in Australia and are required to undergo a portability assessment before departure.
Generally, those recipients who are overseas will need to return to Australia to undergo a portability assessment under these provisions.
An exception to the requirement to return to Australia for an assessment will apply in limited circumstances where a DSP recipient is unable to return to Australia because they have had a serious accident, or been hospitalised, before the end of their current portability period.
Policy reference: SS Guide 220.127.116.11 Payability of DSP, 18.104.22.168 Overview of Portability Legislation, 22.214.171.124 General Rules of Portability, 126.96.36.199 Medical Assessment for DSP, 188.8.131.52 Portability Table
Based on the information provided by the recipient, the following must be considered:
Act reference: SSAct section 1217 Meaning of maximum portability period, allowable absence and portability period
Recipients going outside Australia and who are required to claim a CFP, should be asked about the possibility of obtaining a CFP from the other country, if going to a country which may allow a claim from within that country but not from within Australia. Also, recipients with foreign pensions from some countries, such as the UK and Germany, may be entitled to receive a foreign pension rate increase if they return to those countries.
Policy reference: SS Guide 7.3 Claiming CFP
In cases where residence information has not yet been established, the information on AWLR should be obtained from the recipient before departure so that the correct advice is given if the rate is to be affected by proportional portability.
Last reviewed: 2 January 2013