Single? Married? A bit on the side?

Your relationship status affects your pension. So, best to know the rules.

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Your relationship status affects your pension

Whether you’re single or a member of a couple, this can affect:

  • the type of payment you get
  • if you can get a payment
  • the amount you get.

Your income and assets will likely affect your payment. If you have a partner, their income and assets may also affect your payment.

This is important because making a false claim to Centrelink can get you into big trouble. If caught, you will not only have to pay the money back, but you might also be convicted of fraud.

Having a partner

In the eyes of Centrelink, you are considered to be a couple if you have a partner. This includes being:

  • married
  • in a registered relationship
  • in a de facto relationship.

You may still be a member of a couple if you're not physically living with your partner. For example, your partner may fly-in fly-out or live away for work, like military or oil rig workers.

If your partner asks you to confirm your relationship status

If your partner is making a new claim for an income support payment, Centrelink will need to know their relationship status. This means they may need you to confirm your relationship status.

If they ask you to do this there are TWO options, depending on the situation. The online claim will tell your partner which option you can use.

You can use either:

If you can use the Partner Confirmation Logon service online, you’ll need a Reference Number and Access Code. Your partner can give you these.

If your partner uses one of Centrelink’s paper claim forms, Centrelink may contact you to confirm your relationship with them.

What’s considered when assessing a member of a couple

To determine if you’re a member of a couple, Centrelink may need to assess your relationship. They’ll consider the following:

  • financial aspects of your relationship
  • nature of your household
  • social aspects of your relationship
  • if you have a sexual relationship
  • nature of your commitment to each other.

If you tell them you’re a member of a couple, they don’t usually assess your relationship against these things. But they may look at them if your circumstances change.

They can decide you’re a member of a couple even if all of these things aren’t part of your relationship.

Special provisions

If you think being a member of a couple causes you unfair hardship you should call Centrelink, which says it assesses each request on a case by case basis.

You need to tell them about any changes to your relationship status because if you don’t, you may be paid the wrong amount and you’ll have to repay the money. There may be other penalties.

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