Getting together

Being in a relationship, whether it’s new or not, can affect what payments you can apply for and how much you’ll get.

If you already get a payment from us, you need to tell us when either:

  • you start a new relationship
  • there are changes to your current relationship.

This is so we can keep paying you the right amount. Normally, you need to tell us within 14 days when you start a relationship or the change happens.

When you claim a payment from us, we’ll ask about your relationship status. This includes if you’re single or a member of a couple. This helps us pay you the right amount.

Your relationship status can affect:

  • if you can get a payment
  • the type of payment you get
  • the amount you get.

Your income and assets may affect most payments. When you have a partner, their income and assets may also affect your payment.

How we define a relationship

When you have a partner, we generally consider you a member of a couple. We consider you a member of a couple if you’re either:

  • married
  • in a registered relationship
  • in a de facto relationship.

How we assess if you’re a couple

To work out if you’re a member of a couple, we will need to consider the following:

Financial aspects of your relationship

If there is one person providing financial support of the other. Also, things like joint accounts, debts or assets etc.

The nature of your household

The physical set-up of the household such as shared quarters, arrangements for domestic tasks and joint care of children.

Social aspects of your relationship

How you present yourselves to society and how others in society view your relationship.

If you have a sexual relationship

Whether there is a sexual relationship. The presence or absence of a sexual relationship does not by itself show us whether you’re a member of a couple.

The nature of your commitment to each other

The companionship, emotional support and length of the relationship.

You can be a member of a couple even if all of these things aren’t part of your relationship.

If you tell us you’re a member of a couple, we don’t usually assess your relationship against these things. But we may look at them if your circumstances change.

Living separately because of illness or respite care

If you’re a member of a couple we may consider you to be living separately if you and your partner are unable to live together because of:

  • illness or frailty
  • the need for care.

This includes one or both of you living in an aged care facility, supported residential service or temporarily in respite care.

If this is your situation, call us on your regular payment line.

When you live away from your partner for other reasons

We may still consider you a member of a couple if you’re not living with your partner. For example, they may fly in and fly out or live away for work, like military or oil rig workers.

Special provisions

If you think being a member of a couple causes you unfair hardship, call us on your regular payment line.

We may consider you as single under special provisions in the Social Security Act 1991. We assess each request on case by case.

How to tell us you’re in a relationship

There are different ways to tell us about your relationship.

If you or your partner are getting a Centrelink payment or concession card

If you start a relationship, complete and return the partner details form. You need to do this if you get any payments or concession cards from us except Parenting Payment Single (PPS).

If you’re getting Parenting Payment Single, you’ll need to claim Parenting Payment Partnered (PPP).

If you need to confirm your relationship status

If you tell us you have a partner, while making an online claim, we may ask your partner to confirm the relationship status.

If we ask your partner to do this, there are 2 options available, depending on the situation. The online claim will tell your partner which option you can use.

If you or your partner are enrolled in Medicare

You may like to add your partner to your Medicare card or register as a family for Medicare Safety Nets.

Adding someone to your Medicare card

We can add you and your partner on the same card. Read more about adding or removing someone from your Medicare Card.

You can also share a digital version of your Medicare card. Learn how to invite someone to your Medicare card.

Registering for Medicare Safety Nets

Medicare Safety Nets can help to lower your out-of-pocket medical costs for out of hospital services. When you spend over a certain amount in a calendar year, we’ll give you a higher amount back. We calculate the Safety Nets each calendar year, 1 January to 31 December.

If you’re part of a family or couple, you can register as a family to combine your costs. This means you’re more likely to reach the thresholds sooner. Even if all family members are on the same Medicare card, you’ll still need to register.

You only need to register once. Read about how to register for the Medicare Safety Nets.

If you or your partner pay or receive child support

When you or your partner have a child support case, you need to tell us of any change of circumstances. This includes if you start a new relationship. This is to make sure your child support assessment is correct.

Page last updated: 28 September 2023.
QC 60030