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. Continuation, variation or termination of Age


The following table lists the circumstances in which payment of Age may change.

Payment of Age is … if …
  • the delegate determines that the payment is to be suspended, for example, continuing entitlement to payment requires immediate investigation
  • the recipient or their partner has a short period (up to 3 months) of employment income that reduces the payment to a nil rate
  • the recipient has a nil rate, income from employment and meets relevant criteria, OR
  • the recipient is confined in a remand centre, prison or psychiatric institution (in relation to an offence), for LESS than 3 months.
  • the recipient dies
  • the recipient is paid another social security or DVA income support payment
  • the rate becomes nil due to the recipient's income or assets
  • the recipient fails to comply with a notice under SS(Admin)Act section 68, 192 or 193
  • the recipient is confined to a remand centre, prison or psychiatric institution (in relation to an offence), for MORE than 3 months
  • the recipient or their partner fails to take action to obtain a CFP (1.1.C.230), OR
  • payment is not payable for other reasons.
  • the recipient's partner is imprisoned
  • the recipient's partner dies, OR
  • the partner of a saved single rate recipient commences to receive a pension or benefit.

Suspension during short periods of employment

If an Age recipient or their partner undertakes a continuous period of employment of up to 3 months, then payment should be suspended so that Age can be restored on cessation of employment.

Suspension should only occur if employment income and other income combined would yield a nil rate of payment.

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.1.12 Employment income nil rate period

Suspension instead of cancellation for an Age recipient with employment income

If an Age recipient meets the relevant criteria, their payment can be suspended for up to 2 years, instead of cancelled.

Policy reference: SS Guide Suspension instead of cancellation for Age recipients with employment income

Restoration after suspension

The delegate should ensure that qualification and payability of the payment is correct before restoring a suspended recipient.

If necessary, these circumstances are explained in more detail in the rest of this topic.

Act reference: SS(Admin)Act section 80 Cancellation or suspension determination, section 81 Cancellation or suspension for non-compliance with certain notices, section 82 Cancellation or suspension for failure to take action to obtain foreign payment

Policy reference: SS Guide 7.3.3 CFP notices & reasonable action requirements, Suspension instead of cancellation for Age recipients with employment income

Imprisonment - recipient imprisoned

Age is not payable during any period of imprisonment. Payment should be suspended or cancelled immediately.

As a general guide, payments should be suspended for imprisonment periods of less than 3 months and cancelled for longer periods of imprisonment. The delegate can, however, use their discretion for periods of imprisonment slightly longer than 3 months.

Death of recipient

Upon application, payments accrued by the person before their death may be paid to another person who, in the Secretary's opinion, is best entitled.

If a recipient has a partner, their partner MAY qualify for some bereavement assistance.

Act reference: SS(Admin)Act section 58 Payment of social security payment after death

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.1.5 Bereavement payment provisions

Another pension or benefit becomes payable

A recipient's Age payment ceases to be payable, immediately BEFORE the day on which any of the following become payable to them:

  • another social security pension
  • a social security benefit, OR
  • a DVA service pension.

Example: A recipient who is receiving Age is advised that they qualify for, and will be paid CP from 8 June 2000. Their Age payment will therefore be terminated with effect from 7 June 2000.

Act reference: SSAct section 23(1)-'social security pension', section 23(1)-'social security benefit'

Payment of Age to recipients receiving DVA Disability Compensation Payment

DVA pays social security Age to pensioners who also receive a DVA Disability Compensation Payment, and who chose to receive their Age through DVA. DVA also pays Age to the partners of pensioners who receive a DVA Disability Compensation Payment, and who choose to receive their Age through DVA.

Explanation: This arrangement is administered under a MOU between DVA and DSS. Age continues to be administered under Social Security law and in accordance with the guidelines set by DSS.

Imprisonment - partner imprisoned

When the partner of an Age recipient is imprisoned, any social security income support payments being made to the partner cease.

While a recipient's partner is imprisoned, the recipient is paid the partnered (partner in gaol) rate. This is adjusted to the partnered rate from the date of their partner's release.

Act reference: SSAct section 4(11)(f) Standard family situation categories, section 1064-B1 Maximum basic rate, section 1158 Some social security payments not payable …

SS(Admin)Act section 80 Cancellation or suspension determination

Policy reference: SS Guide Payability during periods in gaol or psychiatric confinement, Situations that constitute being in gaol or psychiatric confinement

Death of partner

If the recipient is a member of a couple and their partner dies, the recipient MAY qualify for bereavement assistance, IF the partner was:

  • receiving a social security pension
  • receiving a DVA service pension, OR
  • a long-term social security recipient.

The death of a partner may necessitate a change in the recipient's Age rate, based on their income and assets as a single recipient.

Act reference: SSAct section 82 Qualification for payments under this Subdivision, section 83 Continued payment of deceased partner's previous entitlement, section 84 Lump sum payable in some circumstances, section 23(1)-'long-term social security recipient'

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.1.5 Bereavement payment provisions

Compliance with notification obligations

A change in a recipient's circumstances may result in a reduction or termination of their pension. If the recipient was obliged to advise Centrelink of this change, then when they provide this advice and when Centrelink processes the change determines when their pension reduces or ceases. This is explained in the following table.

If the recipient … when processed by Centrelink …
in the same entitlement period … in the next entitlement period … in a later entitlement period …
advises Centrelink within the notification period Age adjusted from date of event. Age adjusted from start of next entitlement period. Age adjusted from the day after the end of the notification period.
fails to advise within the notification period

rate is reduced, or Age ceases to be payable from the day on which the event or change in circumstances occurred.


Age is reviewed when:

  • a recipient granted under an International Agreement satisfies the residence requirements for an autonomous pension
  • a recipient advises of a change in circumstances
  • Centrelink becomes aware of a change in the recipient's circumstances
  • automatic or manual reviews become due, or
  • the recipient's partner dies.

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.10.2 Entitlement periods, 6.1 Changes in Income & Assets - Reviews, 6.2.3 Retirement & widows reviews

Last reviewed: