The Guides to Social Policy Law is a collection of publications designed to assist decision makers administering social policy law. The information contained in this publication is intended only as a guide to relevant legislation/policy. The information is accurate as at the date listed at the bottom of the page, but may be subject to change. To discuss individual circumstances please contact Services Australia.

2.2.2 Verifying personal details


This topic supports General procedures for confirming & verifying identity by clarifying verification of the following personal details:

  • name
    • change of name
  • gender (in limited circumstances)
  • age/DOB, and
  • children.

General requirement

When creating a new record or confirming the person's identity, the person's name, middle name, surname and date of birth must be their legal name and be taken from a Commencement of Identity document that can be verified with an authoritative source. Examples of such documents are birth certificate, passport or immigration card.

Policy reference: SS Guide General procedures for confirming & verifying identity

Change of name

A change of name request must be accompanied by a change of name certificate or any other acceptable change of name document, and this evidence must be recorded on the system. For claimants in special circumstances where provision of such documents might not be possible, alternative proof of change of name may be accepted and recorded on the system. For identity to be confirmed, the main aspects of identity such as name, middle name, surname and date of birth must be taken from an authoritative source and verified. A person's previously known names will appear on their record providing a history of name changes. Children aged under 18 years cannot change their legal name without the consent of both parents, or one parent in limited circumstances, and without relevant documents being provided.

Policy reference: SS Guide General procedures for confirming & verifying identity

Verifying age/DOB

DOB and therefore age can be established through verifiable documents provided by the person to confirm their identity that indicates their age. The following records are considered acceptable for the purposes of verifying age:

  • birth certificates
  • passport or naturalisation certificates
  • immigration card
  • certificate of identity, and
  • document of identity.

Some people may not be able to verify their DOB. In these cases, people will need to confirm their DOB under alternative identity confirmation rules.

Policy reference: SS Guide Persons experiencing difficulty with identity confirmation & verification

Verifying DOB of refugees & other people born overseas

In some situations refugees and other people born overseas cannot verify their DOB.

The Department of Home Affairs has a policy on assumed DOBs for people who are born overseas and whose DOB is unknown. This policy operates as follows:

  • for unaccompanied humanitarian minors the assumed DOB of 31/12/yyyy is handwritten underneath the official DOB on documents or visa labels:
    • if the year of birth is known the format for recording on documents will be 00/00/yyyy, for example, 00/00/1993. The assumed DOB will be handwritten underneath as 31/12/1993.
    • if the month and year is known the format for recording on documents will be 00/mm/yyyy, for example, 31/05/1993. The assumed DOB will be handwritten underneath as 31/05/1993.
  • for all others, the Department of Home Affairs records the official DOB as 'unknown' (or 00/00/yyyy) on internal immigration files and visa documents.

Prior to 5 April 2004, DSS policy was that an assumed DOB of 1/1/yyyy, be recorded for all applicants who cannot verify their DOB, such as, some overseas born, indigenous people, older people and people from remote locations.

With effect from 5 April 2004, when a Department of Home Affairs document is presented by an unaccompanied humanitarian minor (UHM) where an assumed DOB of 31/12/yyyy is handwritten by the Department of Home Affairs underneath the official DOB, the handwritten assumed DOB must be accepted by Centrelink for the purposes of income support payments. That is, Centrelink must also record that person's DOB as 31/12/yyyy.

This policy is not retrospective. Those applicants who have been given an assumed DOB of 1 January yyyy prior to 5 April 2004 should retain this DOB.

Verifying DOB of other people including indigenous people, older people, people from remote locations & migrants

For all people (other than unaccompanied minors), whether born in Australia or overseas, whose DOB is unknown, the policy will continue to be the same, that is, when a person cannot provide any information about their DOB, their DOB is assumed to be 1/1/yyyy.

A change to the official date of birth as recorded on the system for people whose date of birth could not be initially verified, and was recorded using an assumed date, cannot be changed without presenting evidence to the correct date of birth in the form of a verifiable Commencement of Identity document.

Policy reference: SS Guide Persons experiencing difficulty with identity confirmation & verification

Verifying identity & personal details of children

A doctor or a midwife's certificate completed at the time of the child's birth is normally sufficient POI. The applicant needs to provide a passport if the child is born overseas.

If the children are claimed as dependants, the FTB record is to be checked and the details noted on the applicant's file. If there are discrepancies between details supplied by the applicant and those on record, these should be discussed with the applicant.

Explanation: An index check should be done to ensure that the applicant's partner is not already receiving FTB.

Verifying gender

Gender information is collected and recorded to help verify the identity of individuals who claim, or are in receipt, of social security payments. Gender or sex is not a factor that affects qualification or payability for most social security payments, with the exception of a limited range of social security payments.

Official documentation to advise of, or change, gender will no longer be required in most instances. However, where gender is still required to be verified for certain social security payments, an Australian birth certificate, current Australian passport or current foreign passport, or a statement from a registered medical practitioner or registered psychologist, are acceptable documents to verify a person's gender.

For claimants experiencing difficulty with providing sufficient documentation for identity verification refer to

Transgender & gender diverse people

As outlined in the Australian Government Guidelines on the Recognition of Sex and Gender, the Australian Government recognises that individuals may identify as a gender other than the sex they were assigned at birth or during infancy, or may not identify as exclusively male or female.

The term intersex refers to people who are born with genetic, hormonal or physical sex characteristics that are not typically 'male' or 'female'. Intersex people have a diversity of bodies and gender identities, and may identify as male or female or neither.

A person who is trans or transgender is someone who identifies as a gender that is different to the sex assigned to them at birth, regardless of whether they have undergone hormone therapy, sex affirmation surgery or other medical procedures.

A person of a non-binary gender is someone whose biological sex cannot be unambiguously determined or someone who identifies as neither male nor female.

For social security purposes an individual can identify as M (male), F (female) or X (non-binary/intersex/unspecified). The X category refers to any person who does not exclusively identify as either male or female, that is, a person of a non-binary gender.

A person who is transgender or gender diverse may have undertaken some medical treatment (whether hormone therapy, sex affirmation surgery, and/or other medical interventions) to assist with their transition. However, medical treatment is not a pre-requisite for the recognition of a change in gender marker for social security purposes.

Policy reference: SS Guide General procedures for confirming & verifying identity, Persons experiencing difficulty with identity confirmation & verification

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