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.

2.2.6 Confirming a death

General requirements

Under NO circumstances should any death action or death transaction be processed unless there has been a POSITIVE:

  • confirmation of death, AND
  • identification of the deceased.

Advice of death

Advice of the death of a recipient may be notified in a phone call, letter or counter visit by the:

  • deceased's partner
  • a relative, or
  • a friend.

The full name, address and phone number of the informant, and their relationship to the deceased should be ascertained for Centrelink' records.

Centrelink may also learn of the death from:

  • a notice in the newspaper
  • a police report
  • a notice from the Registrar of Deaths
  • returned correspondence
  • an 'Advice of death' form
  • proof of life certificate
  • sighting of the death certificate
  • contact with the hospital where the person died
  • contact with the funeral home, OR
  • from other means.

Note: Recipients who are residing overseas may need to complete a proof of life certificate once every 2 years. See 6.2.1 for details.


Whether Centrelink is advised of the death or becomes aware of it, IMMEDIATE action on the same day MUST be taken to confirm the identity of the deceased.

Confirmation of death and identity of the deceased can be accepted if the recipient's full name together with 2 of the following items are provided:

  • deceased's last address in full
  • date of birth
  • CRN, OR
  • partner's name (if married or widowed).

Where there is any doubt, the deceased's identity should in the first instance be confirmed by direct telephone contact with the funeral directors concerned. If contact with relatives is proposed, social worker involvement may be necessary. Where death cannot be confirmed and the recipient's whereabouts cannot be established, payment is to be suspended pending further investigation.

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