Departure & Arrival Notification


Under the notification provisions social security recipients must notify Centrelink about both overseas departures and arrivals in Australia if their travel may impact on their entitlements or rate of payment. Recipients living in a country other than Australia also have to notify Centrelink if they depart or return to that country if this travel may also impact on their social security entitlements and payment rate.

Note: In any circumstances, income support payments cease to be payable after the prescribed portability period ( has elapsed 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. Social security recipients may also cease to be payable if the person overseas ceases to qualify for payment, e.g. PP stops for a PP recipient when their youngest child turns 6 for a partnered recipient or 8 for a single recipient.

When a social security recipient notifies Centrelink of their departure, Centrelink should collect the following information.

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

Information obtained before recipient's departure

The following information should be obtained before departure if relevant:

  • date of departure, expected date of return (if any), destination,
  • reason for departure, if required,
  • medical information,
  • payment information,
  • information about AWLR (1.1.A.340), and
  • the recipient's address for correspondence.

Medical information

DSP is generally only portable for an absence of up to 4 weeks in a 12-month period. 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 permanent and severe impairment 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 Payability of DSP, Overview of portability legislation, General rules of portability, Medical assessment for DSP, Application of portability rules (portability table)

Payment information - general

Based on the information provided by the recipient, the following must be considered:

  • whether payment is portable for an unlimited or a limited period of time,
  • the purpose for travel, where relevant (e.g. any payments with limited portability, such as NSA, SpB or for approved temporary absences),
  • whether absence is temporary or permanent,
  • whether affected by the 'former resident' provisions, departure to New Zealand or payment under an agreement,
  • specific qualification requirements, such as the activity test, from which the recipient has to be exempted to continue to qualify while outside Australia,
  • other qualification considerations (e.g. is a carer travelling with the care receiver, or in a respite period),
  • consequential changes (e.g. to RA, home ownership, balance of bank accounts),
  • whether the rate will be affected by proportional portability (1.1.P.310), and
  • whether the payment is to be made by the local CSC or CIS.

Act reference: SSAct section 1217 Meaning of maximum portability period, allowable absence and portability period

Payment information - CFP

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 a comparable foreign payment (CFP)

Payment information - AWLR & proportional portability

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.

Policy reference: SS Guide 2.2.4 Verifying Residence, Australian working life residence

Last reviewed: 20 September 2016