Are reimbursements income?

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.

Related articles:
Forgiving a loan and the pension
Australian retirees versus the world
Set to retire? Think again

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.

Written by Ben


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.