Simplified Income Reporting for Income Support Recipients

7 December 2020

Please note: the Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (Simplifying Income Reporting and Other Measures) Act 2020 commenced on 7 December 2020. 

Income support recipients  now report the gross amount paid to them during their reporting period, instead of calculating the amount of income they will earn. 

Further information can be found at the Services Australia website.

Background

The Australian Government is improving and simplifying the way that employment income is reported and assessed for social security purposes. These changes make reporting easier for payment recipients, meaning people receive the right amount of income support and are less likely to incur a debt.

The Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (Simplifying Income Report and other Measures) Act 2020 (the Act) passed Parliament on 2 March 2020 receiving Royal Assent on 6 March 2020.

The Act commenced on 7 December 2020.

The Act was originally scheduled to commence on 1 July 2020. However, due to the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, the start date was delayed until 7 December 2020. The Australian Government passed the Coronavirus Economic Response Package Omnibus Act 2020 on 23 March 2020 which contained amendments to the Simplifying Income Reporting and Other Measures Act 2020 to defer implementation for up to 12 months, to commence either by Government proclamation or on 1 July 2021.The Governor-General made the proclamation on 23 July 2020 setting a commencement of 7 December 2020.

Services Australia conducted communication activities to advise customers of the changes in the lead up to 7 December 2020.

Prior to 7 December 2020, payment recipients had to make a calculation to report their, or their partner’s, gross earnings based on the number and value of shifts they have worked. This could often end up being different to what they were actually paid.

Under this change, people can now refer to their or their partner’s payslip in order to report their gross employment income to Centrelink. This makes reporting easier so that people get the right amount of payment.

The Australian Taxation Office will provide Centrelink with Single Touch Payroll data, where an individual has been established as a mutual client. This information will be used to assist people to report their employment income. 

From mid September 2020, the data has been used to pre-fill payment recipients’ employer information. As employers progressively start reporting the Single Touch Payroll expanded dataset over time, recipients will start to see their income also pre-filled through their usual reporting channel. People will still be responsible for reporting their income and making sure the information is correct. They will have the ability to review, update or add additional employment details before finalising their report to Centrelink.

This change affects anyone who has to report their employment income for social security purposes, including partners of payment recipients. Affected payments include:

  • ABSTUDY
  • Age Pension
  • Austudy
  • Carer Payment
  • Disability Support Pension
  • Farm Household Allowance
  • Jobseeker Payment
  • Partner Allowance
  • Parenting Payment (single and partnered)
  • Special Benefit
  • Status Resolution Support Services
  • Widow Allowance
  • Youth Allowance.

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