3.8.1.40 Notification, verification & recipient obligations for RA

Notification obligations

RA recipients must qualify for and receive a social security pension, benefit or allowance, or FTB Part A at greater than the base rate, in order to receive RA.

RA recipients must meet all the notification obligations and requirements associated with the pension, benefit or allowance they are receiving.

Notifiable events for RA

Recipients generally have 14 days to notify Services Australia (Centrelink) of a change in circumstances unless a specific exception applies.

RA recipients must inform Services Australia (Centrelink) when there is a change in their circumstances, for example:

  • there is a change of residential circumstances, such as change of address, rent amount variation, move to government housing, no longer pay an amount for rent, or
  • they marry or become a member of a couple (1.1.M.120), or
  • they separate from their partner (1.1.P.85), or
  • they start or stop sharing their accommodation with others.

Explanation: This is important even if the change does not immediately affect the rate of RA payable. This is because changes to the minimum rent thresholds and maximum rates in March and September each year may affect the rate paid.

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.1.3 Notification & recipient obligations, 5.1.8.50 Common provisions affecting indexation of pensions, 5.1.8.20 Common benefit rates

FA Guide 5.2.1.10 Change of circumstances - general provisions, 5.2.1.20 Change of eligibility circumstances, 5.2.1.30 Change of rate circumstances

Verification

RA recipients must verify the amount of rent they are paying to Services Australia (Centrelink) by providing a current lease or tenancy agreement, or a rent verification document as determined by Services Australia.

Some recipients are exempt from having to verify the amount of rent they pay. They are:

  • people living in exempt accommodation, i.e. boarding style accommodation, refuges (1.1.E.168)
  • people living full-time in a non-Commonwealth funded bed in residential care facilities (3.8.1.60, 4.6.4.30), and
  • people in retirement villages.

As part of supporting individuals through the impacts of the Coronavirus outbreak, recipients or their partners who are receiving an income support payment that will attract the COVID-19 supplement are exempt from having to verify the amount of rent paid. This exemption will cease when the COVID-19 supplement ceases. From 12 May 2020, this exemption is extended to all recipients of an income support payment or FTB and the exemption will cease when the COVID-19 supplement ceases.

Policy reference: SS Guide 2.2.13.20 RA - verification required, 3.8.1.10 Qualification for RA

FA Guide 3.1.4.30 Rent assistance

Last reviewed: 1 July 2020