Centrelink Q&A: How will Centrelink assess my relationship status?

We explain how Centrelink will assess relationship status if your partner does not live in Australia full time, as well as how having a partner will affect your eligibility for Centrelink payments.


Q. My partner is a non-Australian resident and holds three-year tourist visa with a maximum three-month stay each visit. How will Centrelink treat my partner? Will my single status pension change? Will I pay extra public housing rent? My partner’s overseas pension and other income from her house room rent amount to about $800 per month. 

What if she gets her Australian permanent residency in the future? 

A. Firstly, if you have a partner, Centrelink will treat you as a couple for the purpose of the Age Pension rate. So you will receive the couple rate, with only one person being paid.

The maximum rate for a couple is $802 per fortnight per person. The maximum single rate is $1064  per fortnight, therefore, the single rate payment is currently $262 higher.

All assets and income will be included in the assets and income test regardless of whether one or both partners are receiving the Age Pension, so your partner’s income will be considered.

For your partner to receive the Age Pension she will generally need to have been a resident for at least 10 years in total.

For at least five of those years, there must be no break in her residence. You also need to be an Australian resident or hold a specific visa type to get a Centrelink payment or concession card.

You can find more information here.

Do you have a Centrelink question? Send it to newsletters@yourlifechoices.com.au and we’ll do our best to answer it – or find someone who can.

Also read: Age Pension and a de facto partner

Written by YourLifeChoices Writers

YourLifeChoices' team of writers specialise in content that helps Australian over-50s make better decisions about wealth, health, travel and life. It's all in the name. For 22 years, we've been helping older Australians live their best lives.

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  1. I find it amazing that as a couple only one person recieves the payment with one person controlling the funds, talk about encouraging elder abuse. The whole thing is a double standard, we each pay our own tax all our lives and then suddenly we’re coupled when it comes to government payments. In more advance countries you are treated as an individual and payments are made to the individual. In general you’re made to feel like you’re getting a handout here.

  2. Unless you’re legally married , there’s No way Centrelink would even know your partner exists.
    If nosey people ask who this woman is….she’s just a friend, casual hookup.
    She’s not eligible/ entitled to Any benefits in Australia as a tourist , and you are likely not eligible for anything in her country……unless it’s the UK , NZ etc where reciprocal rights are available.

  3. It’s a very unfair system when it comes to being in a relationship.
    In the situation of this person simply don’t tell Centrelink as your partner does not even live in this country. So don’t let unfair Centrelink rules financially cripple you.

    • Centrelink will demand to know all her income, assets, property, bank details, financial interests etc even from overseas. She would have the right to tell Centrelink nothing, why should she as a foreign resident that only comes to Australia as a tourist. When she comes to Australia as a tourist she can’t work, pay taxes, no Medicare etc. She receives nothing from Australia. As a tourist she and her Australian partner would be contributing more to the Australian and local economies while she’s visiting.
      Totally unfair system especially in this case.

      • My loving wife is 15 years younger than me and we both have medical problems me with hypertension & back, her with thyroid and migrains but we must survive on $260 less as couples after 41 years paying tax.

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