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. Causes & types of income & assets reviews


This topic explains the main types and causes of income and asset (1.1.A.290) reviews. This topic covers the following matters:

  • the purpose of income and asset reviews
  • the causes of income and asset reviews
  • the timing of a review
  • income reviews versus income AND asset reviews
  • automatic and manual issue of reviews, and
  • the result of a review.

Act reference: SSAct section 8(1)-'income'

Purpose of income & asset reviews

Centrelink conducts income and assets reviews to ensure that recipients continue to receive their correct pension entitlement. A review generally involves reassessing a recipient's circumstances in the same way as the original claim was assessed, although in some cases other provisions are specified.

Causes of income & asset reviews

A review is conducted when a person's circumstances change. Centrelink initiates a review when it becomes aware of a person's changed circumstances from one of the following sources:

  • a person, or someone on their behalf, OR
  • a third party (see example), OR
  • automatically produced by the system, OR
  • data matching and profiling, OR
  • follow-up of a manually recorded review, usually identified as needed at an earlier assessment.

Example: Through information, from say the Australian Federal Police, or through public denunciation.

Policy reference: SS Guide 6.1.2 Change in Circumstance Reviews, 6.5 Profiling reviews

Income reviews versus income AND asset reviews

The following table shows the 2 main types of reviews conducted when a person's circumstances change and when each type is used.

A review of a person's … occurs with a change in their …


income ONLY.

TOTAL income and assets

asset value that approaches the relevant asset limit.

Explanation: Asset changes that do NOT affect a person's asset value limit are usually only recorded, with no review action taken.

Timing of review

A review can be conducted immediately and/or at a specified date in the future.

Automatic & manual issue of reviews

The following table shows which reviews are generated automatically by the system, or manually by staff. A subsequent manual review is coded for a later date whenever any outstanding issues need to be clarified or reviewed.

A review is issued … for …

automatically by the system

  • asset reviews, for recipients (with the exception of Age recipients) paid under the assets test, AND
  • asset value reviews of financial investments (1.1.F.135), although these can also be requested on the system, AND
  • Centrelink valuation reviews, although these can also be requested on the system, AND
  • pensioners (Age and PPS recipients) identified through profiling, AND
  • income and asset reviews of private trusts and private companies, AND
  • overseas selective pensioner entitlement reviews, AND
  • 6-month overseas reviews.

automatically by the system, AFTER action by staff

  • asset reviews of hardship and HEAS (formerly PLS) recipients, AND
  • tax return reviews for sole traders and partnerships, AND
  • reviews of future entitlement to a lump sum or assets from superannuation, compensation (1.1.C.240), or a deceased estate, AND
  • principal home (1.1.P.420) reviews for sale of the home or absence due to nursing home (1.1.N.140) admission.

manually, after a system prompt

  • data matching reviews of the records of the ATO, Department of Home Affairs, and state corrective services departments, AND
  • National Selective Review System (NSRS) -reviews for local initiatives, office referrals, public information, and profiling reviews.

manually by staff, as needed

  • recipient requested reviews, AND
  • qualification (1.1.Q.10) reviews, AND
  • fluctuating income or casual earnings reviews.

Result of a review

Once a recipient's circumstances have been re-assessed, there may or may not be an effect on their payment. This will depend on the qualification and payability rules for the specific payment.

Policy reference: SS Guide Part 3 Qualification & payability, Pensions income test, 4.2.3 Pensions & benefits assets tests, 6.5 Profiling reviews

Last reviewed: