Are expense reimbursements treated as income by Centrelink?

Font Size:

Elizabeth does some volunteer work and isn’t sure how Centrelink treats expense reimbursements.


Q. Elizabeth
I am currently 64 and very active. My husband is 73 on the Age Pension. I no longer work or claim Newstart. However, I do volunteer in a consumer capacity at several health services, contributing to our country’s health services. I do not get paid, but I am reimbursed for expenses, for example, public transport costs, etc. My understanding is that this is not treated as income from a Centrelink perspective, but I thought I would put the question forward to check.

A. Where a volunteer worker receives reimbursement from an agency specifically for out-of-pocket expenses incurred, the payment is NOT assessed as income.

Where a volunteer receives more than the amount of the expenses actually incurred, the extra IS considered to be income.

Even if you were in paid employment, reimbursements for work-related expenses would still not be considered income by Centrelink.

On a slightly different topic, payments (including for out-of-pocket expenses) to people serving, or being summoned to serve, on a jury is also NOT considered to be income.

If you enjoy our content, don’t keep it to yourself. Share our free eNews with your friends and encourage them to sign up.

Disclaimer: All content on YourLifeChoices website is of a general nature and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It has been prepared with due care but no guarantees are provided for ongoing accuracy or relevance. Before making a decision based on this information, you should consider its appropriateness in regard to your own circumstances. You should seek professional advice from a Centrelink Financial Information Services officer, financial planner, lawyer or tax agent in relation to any aspects that affect your financial and legal circumstances.


What happens to your pension payments if you forgive a loan?

Ken lent money to his son, but thinks it is unlikely to be repaid. What does that mean for his

How does Australia's retirement system stack up?

The OECD has released a report comparing retirement systems and Australia isn't performing as

If you’re preparing to retire, you might need to think again

Older Australians must work for longer for a sustainable economy, says the Treasurer.

Written by Ben


Sign-up to the YourLifeChoices Enewsletter

continue reading


Granny flats - a good idea but beware the baggage

In this extract from Avoiding the Ageing Parent Trap, author and lawyerBrian Herd tells why granny flats have become so...

Health news

Going to sleep later increases the risk of heart disease and death

Sorry, night owls, science says your late-night habits are unhealthy. A recent study concludes those who stay up late have...

Health news

Omega-3 supplements may slow cellular ageing

Do you take omega-3 supplements? Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for your health, especially your heart, lungs, blood vessels, immune...


A neuroscientist's go-to nutrients for brain and memory support

How often do you sit down in front of a meal and think 'wow, this is going to be great...


Who knew a crossword could do all this?

If you tackled this morning’s crossword, or successfully completed a sudoku, congratulations. Your brain is in a happier place. It...

Seniors Finance

Be a savvier saver with these nine tips

Many people have seen their savings pots wiped out by the impact of the pandemic. At the other end of...

Finance News

Big four banks dragged to court over credit 'rort'

Screaming, dressed in glistening armour and wielding an axe, Aaron Flores has defended the honour of Australia on the battlefield....

Health news

Public toilets are a disease risk

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced more people than ever to consider the potential for airborne particles to damage their health,...