Centrelink support when you lose a loved one

Losing a loved one is a very difficult time. There can be a lot of things to take care of and, depending on your circumstances, you may need to let Services Australia know.

Our staff are on standby to support you every step of the way. They can provide you with information and advice about payments, support and other services.

If you share with us that your loved one has passed away, we’ll update your Centrelink, Medicare, Child Support and aged care records at the same time, so you only need to tell us once. The fastest way to access this support is by calling us on 132 300 and saying ‘bereavement’ when asked why you’re calling.

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If your partner has passed away, we will assess 50 per cent of your jointly owned assets as being yours until you tell us that the assets have been transferred to you. We’ll send you a bereavement statement eight weeks after the date of death to help you update your income and assets. If you need more time to make the updates, please call to let us know.

As it can take up to 12 months for an estate to be finalised, any assets you are given from the deceased estate will not be counted until they’re received or able to be received.

Anything left to someone in a will is recognised as being owned by the beneficiary. This means any assets left to someone else in your partner’s will are not considered a gift by yourself and won’t affect your rate of pension.

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We also have a range of supports for you during this difficult time.

For example, you may want to appoint someone to be your correspondence nominee. Your nominee will be able to ask questions, make updates and act on your behalf. You can cancel the arrangement at any time online or by calling us.

You can also speak to a Financial Information Service Officer by calling 132 300. He/she can talk to you about any inheritance you receive and how this might have a bearing on your pension.

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You might be eligible for a Lump Sum Bereavement Payment if you and your partner were both on a pension when he/she died and your rate of payment as a single person is less than when you were a member of a couple. You don’t have to apply for this payment, we will help you when you get in touch with us.

If you want to know more, please visit servicesaustralia.gov.au and search ‘bereavement’. If you are on Facebook, check out our Seniors Update page where one of our Financial Information Service Officers talks about this further.

Hank Jongen is general manager, Services Australia

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Written by Hank Jongen

Hank Jongen is the human face of Centrelink, a government agency on behalf of the Department of Human services, responsible for $100 billion in funds, 40,000 staff and 99% of the Australian population at some stage or another



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