Summary of CFP Legislation

CFP legislation (1.1.C.230)

The CFP legislation was introduced on 20 March 1994 for agreement countries only.

The relevant provisions were transferred to the SS(Admin)Act with effect from 20 March 2000, still for agreement countries only.

From 20 September 2000 the requirement to claim CFP was extended to non-agreement countries and recipients may now be required to claim from any overseas country under SS(Admin)Act section 66.

For agreement countries the current policy applies without any changes. Recipients or claimants of Australian social security payments of any age may be required to claim their entitlement to a CFP.

For non-agreement countries, the policy is limited and applies to recipients of Australian age pension age who are required to claim all entitlement to age, invalidity and survivor pensions, together with company pensions and superannuation from overseas countries. Other recipients are encouraged to claim all outstanding entitlements from any overseas country. Refer to explanation 3 under CFP requirements for special conditions in relation to claims under the New Zealand Agreement.

For comprehensive information on agreement and non-agreement countries see the Centrelink International Services page on the DHS website.

Act reference: SS(Admin)Act section 66 Notice to obtain foreign payment

Rationale for the legislation

The legislation was introduced to ensure recipients access all available income streams, thus reducing their dependence on Australian income support and generally improving their overall income. The legislation applies to recipients of specified payments, listed below, regardless of where they were born (1.1.A.120).

Definition of CFP

CFP means a payment that is regulated by the social security system of a foreign country and similar to Australian social security pensions.

CFP requirements

The legislation requires recipients who claim or who already receive the following Australian social security payments to take reasonable action to claim the maximum CFP from any country. The requirement applies to people who claim or receive the following social security payments, as well as to their partner, who may be a non-pensioner partner (1.1.P.85):

  • age pension,
  • wife pension,
  • widow allowance,
  • widow B pension,
  • bereavement allowance,
  • parenting payment,
  • disability support pension, and
  • carer payment.

The requirement will only apply if Centrelink issues the recipient a legal notice to this effect.

Explanation 1: Centrelink issues notices requesting recipients to lodge and pursue foreign pension claims if the Secretary is satisfied that they would be entitled to such a pension. The recipient's partner may also be asked to take action to similarly obtain such an entitlement. The recipient of a notice under the legislation is given no less than 14 days to comply. In the event of non-compliance, the legislation provides for cancellation or suspension of the Australian pension, or rejection of the claim, unless the Secretary decides to exempt the person from the requirement to claim.

Explanation 2: The CFP legislation applies to CFPs made by all countries. However, the requirement to claim CFP is only triggered if under the legislation of the claim country there is a likelihood of a successful claim.

Explanation 3: Former New Zealand residents in Australia who were in receipt of an Australian social security support payment on 30 June 2002 are not required to lodge a claim for New Zealand CFP as long as they continue to reside in Australia and continue to remain on income support, including if they transfer to a new payment (e.g. transfer from NSA to Age).

Those who, after 30 June 2002 lodge a claim for Age and are over 65, or DSP and are severely disabled would be required to claim an equivalent New Zealand payment under the terms of the 2002 Social Security Agreement with New Zealand (NZS and New Zealand invalid's benefit respectively). Other New Zealand payments are not exported overseas and consequently a person is not required to claim them under CFP legislation.

Act reference: SS(Admin)Act section 66 Notice to obtain foreign payment, section 82 Cancellation or suspension for failure to take action to obtain foreign payment

SS(IntAgree)Act Schedule 3 New Zealand

Policy reference: SS Guide 7.1 Conditions for payment outside Australia, 7.2 Arrangements for payment outside Australia

Last reviewed: 6 February 2017