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. Departure & arrival notification


Under the notification provisions social security recipients must notify Centrelink about both overseas departures and arrivals in Australia if their travel may impact on their entitlements or rate of payment. Recipients living in a country other than Australia must notify Centrelink if they depart or return to that country. This will enable Centrelink to provide the recipient with advice on how their travel may impact on their social security entitlements and payment rate, any payment reviews applicable and the recipient's obligations while they are outside Australia.

Note: In any circumstances, income support payments cease to be payable after the prescribed portability period ( has elapsed or if the conditions for portability are not met, unless the person's portability period has been extended. Payments may also cease to be payable if the recipient overseas ceases to qualify for payment, for example, PP stops for a PP recipient when their youngest child turns 6 for a partnered recipient or 8 for a single recipient.

Act reference: SSAct section 1217 Meaning of maximum portability period, allowable absence and portability period, section 1218C Extension of person's portability period—general

SS(Admin)Act section 67 Person who has made a claim, section 68 Person receiving social security payment or holding concession card, section 81 Cancellation or suspension for non-compliance with certain notices

Information about the recipient's departure

When a social security recipient notifies Centrelink of their departure, they may be required to provide the following information:

  • date of departure, expected date of return (if any), destination
  • reason for departure, if relevant
  • medical information, if relevant
  • payment information
  • information about their AWLR (1.1.A.340), and
  • the recipient's address for correspondence.

Based on the information provided by the recipient, the following will be considered:

  • whether payment is portable for an unlimited or a limited period of time
  • the purpose for travel, where relevant (for example, any payments with limited portability, such as JSP, SpB or for approved temporary absences)
  • whether absence is temporary or permanent
  • whether affected by the 'former resident' provisions, departure to New Zealand or payment under an agreement
  • specific qualification requirements, such as mutual obligation requirements, from which the recipient has to be exempted to continue to qualify while outside Australia
  • other qualification considerations (for example, is a carer travelling with the care receiver, or in a respite period)
  • consequential changes (for example, to RA, home ownership, balance of bank accounts)
  • whether the rate will be affected by proportional portability (1.1.P.310), and
  • whether the payment is to be made by the local Services Australia service centre or CIS.

Act reference: SSAct section 1217 Meaning of maximum portability period, allowable absence and portability period

Medical information

In certain circumstances (for example, where a person is covered by an international social security agreement and is in receipt of DSP, or where the person has a terminal illness and is severely disabled), medical information may be necessary before the recipient leaves Australia or the agreement country in order to determine DSP portability.

Medical information is also required for DSP recipients who seek indefinite portability of their pension on the basis of a permanent and severe impairment and no future work capacity. DSP recipients applying for portability under these provisions are required to undergo a portability assessment which includes an assessment of their impairment and their future work capacity (JCA).

DSP recipients need to apply for portability under these provisions while in Australia and are required to undergo the portability assessment before departure.

Generally, those recipients who are overseas will need to return to Australia to undergo a portability assessment under these provisions.

An exception to the requirement to return to Australia for an assessment will apply in limited circumstances where a DSP recipient is unable to return to Australia because they have had a serious accident, or been hospitalised, before the end of their current portability period.

Policy reference: SS Guide Payability of DSP, Overview of portability legislation, General rules of portability, Medical assessment for DSP, Application of portability rules (portability table)

Payment information - CFP

Recipients who are required to claim a CFP and are going outside Australia may be asked about the possibility of obtaining a CFP from the other country, if they are going to a country which may allow a claim for the CFP from within that country but not from within Australia.

Recipients with foreign pensions from some countries, such as the UK and Germany, may be entitled to receive a foreign pension rate increase if they return to those countries.

Policy reference: SS Guide 7.3 Comparable foreign payments

Payment information - AWLR & proportional portability

In cases where residence information has not yet been established, information on AWLR is required from the recipient before departure so that the correct advice is given if the rate is to be affected by proportional portability.

Policy reference: SS Guide Residence requirement, Australian working life residence

Payment information - sale of home before departure

If a pensioner sells their principal home and is intending to move overseas and buy another home, the capital amount from the proceeds of the sale that are set aside for the new purchase can be disregarded as an asset (1.1.A.290) for a period of up to 12 months. However, any proceeds of the sale put in a financial investment (for example, savings account) will be subject to the deeming rules under the income test which affect their rate of payment.

Act reference: SSAct section 11A(1) A reference in this Act to the principal home …

Policy reference: SS Guide General provisions for assessing the principal home

Recipient obligations when outside Australia

While overseas, social security recipients are required to notify Centrelink of any change to their circumstances which may impact on their entitlements.

Recipients who have review forms fall due while they are overseas must return them to Centrelink by the due date to guarantee continuity of payments.

PP recipients who are scheduled to attend an interview to discuss the commencement of formal participation requirements at a time when they are expecting to be on an approved overseas trip can reschedule the interview to discuss their Job Plan to another convenient time preferably prior to their departure, or on their return to Australia.

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