Check and update past income

We may ask you to check and update your past income. We’ll send you a letter and you’ll have 28 days from the date you get your letter to do it.

We’re changing how we use details from the Australian Taxation Office in online income compliance reviews. Read our update on online income compliance reviews.

Who needs to check and update past income

You need to check and update your past income if all of these apply to you:

  • you get a letter from us asking you to check and update income from past financial years
  • you earned income from work while getting income support payments from us
  • the amount you told us isn’t the same as the amount the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has told us.

You can find your letter in your myGov Inbox or we’ll send it to your address by registered mail. If we can’t contact you using the address we have, we may suspend your payment until you contact us. We do this in line with the Social Security (Administration) Act 1999.

If you’re not getting a payment from us, we may ask a third party for your current address. We do this in line with our Privacy Policy. Read more about your right to privacy.

If you don’t have a We need you to check and update your past income information letter from us, you don’t need to do anything. But don’t forget to tell us if your circumstances change.

This may affect your partner

If your partner was getting a payment that financial year, any change to your income may affect their past payment.

This is because we use your and your partner’s combined income when we work out your Centrelink payments.

We’ll write to your partner to let them know we’ve asked you to check and update your past income. The outcome may affect their past payments. We won’t ask them to check or update their past income.

Once you’ve checked and updated your past income, we’ll write to your partner again to let them know the outcome. If we overpaid them, they’ll need to pay money back. We’ll also let them know if there’s no change.

Why you need to confirm these details

We ask people to check and update their past income as part of our regular compliance program. This is one way we make sure we gave you the right payment amount in the past.

When you need to confirm your details

You have 28 days from the date you get your letter to check and update your past income. The easiest way to do this is online by signing into our online service. 

You can save your update online. This means if you need to find a payslip, you can save your progress. Then simply sign back in and pick up from where you saved.

You can ask for more time if you need it. When you sign in to check and update your past income online select Need more time? We’ll give you a 14 day extension. Keep in mind, you can only ask for an extension online twice.

How to sign in

You’ll need to sign in to our online service. You can sign in 2 ways.

Sign in with your Centrelink online account

You need to:

Sign in to myGov

Sign in with the log in details from your letter

You’ll need:

  • your Customer Reference Number (CRN), you can find this on your letter
  • the confirmation code from the letter
  • your Medicare card
  • a current Australian driver’s licence or Australian passport
  • access to an email address or mobile phone number.

If you're signing in for the first time select Start here.

Sign in using the confirmation code now

How to check and update your past income

It’s easy to get started, just follow these steps once you sign in.

Check and update your contact details

First, check your address and phone number. We need these details in case we need to get in touch with you. This is important, even if you don’t get payments from us anymore. If the details aren’t correct, you need to update them.

Check and update your past employers’ details

Then, check your employer details and the dates you worked for them. If the details aren’t correct, you need to update them. 

Check and update your past income details

Lastly, confirm how much your employer paid you. This is for the period when you were working for them and getting a payment from us. If the details aren’t correct, you need to update them.

You’ll need your payslips to confirm your details. You can also use bank statements. Remember, you can save your updates and come back if you need to.

Read our online guide check and update your past income for more information.

What if you owe us money

We’ll send you a letter to tell you what to do if you owe money. We’ll let you know:

  • why you owe the money
  • how much you owe
  • when you need to pay it back
  • how you can pay us back.

You can ask for a review of the decision at any time. You can ask us even if you’ve started paying us back. You can ask us to pause your payment while we review the decision. Read more about reviews and appeals.

Where to get help

We can offer you support

We can help if you’re in crisis. This includes if you’re in severe financial hardship, recovering from a disaster or need special help.

Read our online guide

Our online guide shows you step by step how to check and update your past income.

Call us

We know sometimes it’s not easy to get the documents you need. If you’re having trouble, call us on 1800 061 838, Monday to Friday, 8 am to 5 pm.

Page last updated: 20 November 2019