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.

6.1.3 Reviews - Death of a Recipient


This topic explains the death review. It covers the determination and assessment of the surviving partner's (1.1.P.85) circumstances.

Determining the surviving partner's circumstances

Action following the death of a recipient MUST NOT be delayed merely to clarify the details of a surviving recipient's current circumstances in order to finalise a death review. Payment MUST be cancelled immediately when a benefit recipient dies. A surviving partner's circumstances MUST be reviewed to determine:

  • whether the couple's assets (1.1.A.290) and investments have been transferred to the partner or remain in the estate,
  • details of the estate and expected date of finalisation,
  • ownership of any real estate, including a home property,
  • whether superannuation or compensation (1.1.C.240) payments are transferring to the partner and if so, the rate payable,
  • the partner's eligibility in their own right, and
  • eligibility to an autonomous pension (1.1.A.360) in cases where the survivor was being paid under an international agreement (1.1.A.120).

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.1.5 Bereavement payment provisions

Assessing the surviving partner's circumstances

If a surviving partner is the beneficiary of any income from the estate, it is NOT assessed until they become entitled to receive the income. Jointly owned income or assets automatically pass to the survivor on the death of their partner.

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

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