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Source: Australian Department for Social Services

28 January 2020

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

The Australian Government plans to introduce the Simplifying Income Reporting and Other Measures Bill to enact these changes in early 2020. The changes are scheduled to start from 1 July 2020.

The Department is consulting key stakeholders on the proposed legislation.

Read the Draft Social Security and other Amendments (Simplifying Income Reporting and Other Measures) Bill 2020 Exposure Draft and Explanatory notes.

Background

Currently, payment recipients must make a calculation to report their, or their partner’s, earnings based on the number and value of shifts they have worked. This may be different to what they have actually been paid.

Under this change, people will be able to refer to their or their partner’s payslip in order to report employment income to Centrelink. This will make reporting easier so that people get the right amount of payment.

From July 2020, the Australian Taxation Office will begin providing 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.

The data will be used to pre-fill payment recipients’ income and employment details through their usual reporting channel. The pre-filling of employment and income details is expected to be phased in over the twelve months to July 2021.

People will still be responsible for reporting their income and making sure the information is correct and will have the ability to review, update or add additional employment details before finalising their report to Centrelink.

This change will affect 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 Payment
  • Farm Household Allowance
  • Jobseeker Payment
  • Parenting Payment
  • Special Benefit
  • Youth Allowance.

The Department can be contacted at Payment.Simplification@dss.gov.au

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