Read our legal information about COVID-19 coronavirus.


Centrelink provides services and social security payments on behalf of a number of government departments. Learn more about what to do if you:

  • disagree with a Centrelink decision
  • receive a home visit from a Centrelink officer
  • have been charged with a criminal offence for Centrelink fraud.

For help with Centrelink's automated debt system, see robo-debts.


Centrelink payments include:

  • Age and Disability Pensions
  • Carer Payment and Carer Allowance
  • Family Tax Benefits
  • Parenting Payment
  • Newstart Allowance (for unemployed people or people bereaved by the death of their spouse, child or someone in their care)
  • Austudy (for full-time students)
  • Youth Allowance
  • Special Benefits.

The amount of your Centrelink payment usually depends on whether you are studying, are a parent or a member of a couple, and your level of income and assets. See Allowances and payments.

You can ask for a review by an authorised review officer if you disagree with a Centrelink decision. If you disagree with the authorised review officer's decision you can then appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, which is an external body that is independent of Centrelink.

Centrelink may also review your payments and visit your home or conduct an investigation.

You may have to repay any money you were overpaid if you:

  • receive a Centrelink benefit you aren’t entitled to
  • don’t inform Centrelink when something changes that may affect your payments.

You could also be charged with an offence if Centrelink believes you have intentionally or knowingly been overpaid. See Centrelink overpayments and offences.

Who can get payments?

Centrelink payments may be made to people in a range of situations, including:

  • people who are unable to find a job
  • sole parents
  • parents with dependent children
  • young people
  • students
  • widows
  • people unable to work for a while because of sickness
  • people with a disability that affects their ability to work
  • people with disabled children
  • people caring for disabled adults
  • partners of people on a pension or allowance
  • people bereaved by the death of their spouse, child or someone in their care
  • people who have recently moved to Australia
  • people in crisis or severe hardship.

When to get legal advice

Get legal advice if Centrelink believes you have:

  • received benefits you are not entitled to and asks you to repay the debt
  • deliberately failed to tell them of something which may have affected your payments, or have provided incorrect information about your situation, and you are being investigated for fraud.

It’s important to get legal help before you make any statements or answer any questions.

More information

Allowances and payments

Youth allowance and payments for young people

Disagree with a Centrelink decision

Your rights if Centrelink investigates you

Centrelink overpayments and offences

Get help

Find out how you can get help with Centrelink.

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