HomeCentrelink – Services AustraliaExplained: Centrelink advance payment

Explained: Centrelink advance payment

If you receive an income support payment from Centrelink, you may be able to get part of your payment paid to you early as an advance payment.

Working in a similar way to a payday loan (but without the exploitative interest), an advance payment lets you cover unexpected expenses, then pay the amount back over time.

Who can get an advance payment?

You can get an advance on your Centrelink payment if you have been receiving one of the following for at least three months:

  • Age Pension
  • Carer Payment
  • Disability Support Pension
  • Farm Household Allowance
  • JobSeeker Payment
  • Parenting Payment
  • Youth Allowance for job seekers.

You can also apply for an advance at any time (without the time restrictions) if you receive one of these payments:

  • Family Tax Benefit (Part A)
  • ABSTUDY Living Allowance
  • Austudy
  • Mobility Allowance
  • Youth Allowance for students.

How much can you get?

The amount you can be advanced, and how often you can be paid that advance, depends on the payment you’re getting. There is also a minimum and maximum advance amount you can get.

For example, if you receive the Age Pension, Disability Support Pension or Carer Payment, you can get an advance payment once in six-month period (13 fortnights).

If you’re single, the minimum advance amount is $519.75 and the highest is $1559.25. If you’re part of a couple, you can get a minimum of $391.80 and maximum of $1175.40.

You can be paid the total advance amount in one payment, have the total split over two payments or up to three payments of the lowest advance amount.

You can’t get another advance if you have less than the lowest advance amount available. In this case, you’ll need to wait until you’re eligible again.

The lowest and highest amounts are indexed along with pension amounts each March and September.

How is it paid back?

From the fortnight after you get your advance, Centrelink starts reducing your payment each fortnight to recover the debt.

The total amount you owe is divided by 13, for the 13 fortnights you’ll be required to pay back the advance. This is done automatically, and you are not required to do anything.

It’s possible to repay the amount earlier by increasing the amount you have withheld each fortnight. To do this, you’ll need to contact Centrelink directly to set it up.

How to apply

The easiest way is to apply online through your myGov account. Select the ‘Apply for Advance’ option from the home page, then select ‘Get Started’ and follow the prompts.

If you’re unable to complete the application online, you have three options:

  • use Centrelink’s phone self-service
  • call Centrelink on your regular payment line and say you want to apply for an advance
  • visit a Centrelink service centre and apply in person.

When you are not eligible for an advance payment

You can only be granted one advance payment per year, so if you’ve received an advance in the past 12 months, you are ineligible.

You are also ineligible if you owe any other debt to the Australian government; if Centrelink determines you won’t be able to pay the money back within six months; or you are applying from outside Australia.

Have you ever applied for an advance payment from Centrelink? Did you find the process easy? Let us know in the comments section below.

Also read: How to keep your myGov account safe

Brad Lockyer
Brad Lockyerhttps://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/author/bradlockyer/
Brad has deep knowledge of retirement income, including Age Pension and other government entitlements, as well as health, money and lifestyle issues facing older Australians. Keen interests in current affairs, politics, sport and entertainment. Digital media professional with more than 10 years experience in the industry.


  1. You are partially wrong about how many advances a year because if you split the total amount in half you can get two advances in that year. I know because I have been doing it for years.

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