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.

6.2.3 Retirement & widows reviews


This section contains one topic covering review of payment in the retirement and widows grouping. This topic covers the following:

  • payment under an international agreement (1.1.A.120) - Age
  • marital status of Age recipients
  • WA reviews (ceased 1 January 2022), and
  • SpNP reviews.

Payment under an international agreement - Age

A review MUST be noted when Age is granted under an international agreement. This ensures the recipient transfers to an autonomous pension (1.1.A.360) as soon as they acquire the necessary 'qualifying Australian residence' period.

From a recipient's date of arrival in Australia (1.1.A.320), a review is automatically set at 10 years. If this date is incorrect, a manual review should be set for the appropriate date. To avoid overpayments, foreign income (1.1.F.160) treated as a direct deduction is reassessed as income when a recipient transfers to an autonomous pension.

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.

Act reference: SSAct section 8(1)-'income', section 7(5) A person has 10 years qualifying Australian residence if …

Policy reference: SS Guide 6.1 Changes in Income & Assets - Reviews, Part 10 Australian Social Security Agreements

Marital status of Age recipients

The date of review can also be governed by an Age recipient's marital status at grant. Autonomous Age is usually granted after 2 years continuous residence in Australia immediately before claiming pension to women who:

  • have a partner (1.1.P.85) who has died
  • was an Australian resident, along with their partner, when the partner died, AND
  • meet the qualification criteria.

Widowed women DO NOT have an automatic review set for 2 years from their date of:

  • arrival, OR
  • grant, if no date of arrival is recorded.

A manual review MUST be set for the appropriate date.

Recipients can become entitled to autonomous Age AFTER grant of agreement Age.

Example: This would occur most commonly if the male member of a couple (1.1.M.120) dies.

Act reference: SSAct section 43(1A) A woman is qualified for an age pension if …

WA reviews

Note: WA ceased on 1 January 2022. The following information is for historical purposes only.

WA recipients were subject to profiling reviews.

Policy reference: SS Guide Notification & recipient obligations for WA, 6.5 Profiling reviews

SpNP reviews

The arrangements applying to portability of payment overseas also apply to SpNP payments. If an SpNP recipient's income or assets increase to a level that precludes payment of pension, cancellation should ONLY be made after considering the circumstances of the increase.

Payment should be suspended if:

  • the increase is temporary, OR
  • the recipient's financial circumstances could deteriorate in the future.

Example: Factors to be considered before making a determination include:

  • previous fluctuations in the recipient's income
  • sources of income which may be unreliable in the future, and
  • other factors directly affecting the recipient's income or assets, such as exchange rate fluctuations.

The suspension period depends on the circumstances of the individual case. As a general guide however, a pension COULD be suspended for up to 2 years. Consideration of suspension for MORE THAN 2 years should be referred to Centrelink.

Policy reference: SS Guide 7.1 Conditions for payment outside Australia

Last reviewed: