Income Stream Reviews

Each financial year we review certain types of income streams. We do this to ensure we assess your payments and concession cards correctly.

How it works

An income stream is a series of regular payments from accumulated superannuation contributions. You can also purchase income streams using superannuation or other funds.

How we review income streams

We review income streams held by you, and your partner.

We do this if either of you get an income support payment from us. We also do this if either of you have a:

  • Commonwealth Seniors Health Care Card and get an account-based income stream
  • Low Income Card.

All income stream product providers must use our electronic data transfer process to give us data.

We ask for data on all of the following:

  • account-based pensions or allocated pensions
  • account-based annuities or allocated annuities
  • market-linked pensions or term-allocated pensions
  • defined benefit pensions.

This applies to income streams that you’re not paid from either a:

  • Self-Managed Superannuation Fund (SMSF)
  • Small Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) Superannuation Fund (SAF).

The income stream reviews are either:

  • in August and February for account-based and market-linked income streams
  • on the indexation date for defined benefit income streams.

It’s more efficient and accurate for providers to give us the details we need for income stream reviews. We apply the information supplied to update your record.

We also use income stream data supplied by providers to check the coding accuracy of all of the following:

  • lifetime income streams
  • life expectancy income streams
  • term income streams.

The coding accuracy check occurs in April each year.

We don’t automatically apply the information supplied to us as part of the coding accuracy check to your record. We use this data to make sure we’ve recorded and updated your record correctly.

Read the Automation of Income Stream Reviews Privacy Notice to find out how we handle your personal information.

Customer review process if no match to provider data

We’ll send you an Income Stream Review letter if either of the following apply:

  • the provider doesn’t give us the information
  • we’re unable to match your income stream to information from the provider.

We’ll write to you:

  • in early October or early April, if you have an account-based or market-linked income stream
  • at the end of the indexation review period applicable to your super fund, if you have a defined benefit income stream.

You must always tell us within 14 days of any changes to your income stream. This includes if you take a lump sum amount other than your normal payment.

Compliance program reviews

We may check your income stream information as part of our compliance program. We’ll send you a letter if you need to do this review.

Income streams from Self-Managed Superannuation Fund (SMSF) or Small APRA Superannuation Fund (SAF)

If you have income streams from a SMSF or SAF, we’ll send you an Income Stream Review letter in August.

As part of the review, we’ll review all of the following:

  • account-based pensions or allocated pensions
  • market-linked pensions or term-allocated pensions
  • asset test exempt lifetime or life expectancy income streams.

You must always tell us within 14 days of any changes to your income stream. This includes if you take a lump sum amount other than your normal payment.

Indexation reviews

Some income stream payments change in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI). We’ll send an Income Stream Review letter on this indexation date if you have any of the following income streams:

  • lifetime income streams
  • life expectancy income streams
  • term income streams.

You must always tell us within 14 days of any changes to your income stream.

What you need to provide

If we need information from you, we'll send you a review letter.

If you get letters from us online, we’ll let you know the letter is in your online account. To do this, we’ll send you an SMS or email.

Your letter will list the income streams for you and your partner under review. You need to give us details for each of these.

Details we need

Account-based or market-linked income streams

For account-based income streams not subject to deeming that started before 1 January 2015, and market-linked income streams, tell us:

  • what the account balance was on the most recent 1 July
  • the new annual income amount for this financial year
  • any lump sums you took out in the last financial year, other than your normal payments.

You just need to tell us the most recent account balance on 1 July or later if either:

  • your account-based income stream started before 1 January 2015 but is subject to deeming
  • your account-based income stream started on or after 1 January 2015.

You don’t have to provide us with a new income stream schedule.

Your letter will ask you to give us the income stream review information online.

Asset test exempt lifetime or life expectancy income streams

For these income streams you need to provide the latest actuarial certificate. This must have both of the following details:

  • a statement that your fund can keep paying the income stream
  • a date on it showing it’s current, between 1 July and 31 December of the current year.

You need to give us this document by 31 December of the current financial year. If you don’t your income stream may stop being exempt from the assets test.

You can either:

Defined benefit income streams

For these income streams you need to obtain an income stream schedule from your income stream provider.

You can either:

Lifetime, life expectancy and term income streams

For these income streams, you’ll need to use the review form to tell us both:

  • the new gross income amount
  • the frequency of payment.

You’ll need to return the completed form in the reply paid envelope.

What the due dates are

The due dates depend on the type of income stream you have. The date in the letter is the deadline for finishing your review or getting all your review details to us.

Income streams from SMSFs or SAFs self-managed or small APRA funds

You must give us your review details by 31 December of the current year.

If you don’t give us your review details, we may stop your payment.

If you don’t give us your actuarial certificate, your income stream may stop being exempt from the assets test.

Income streams from other super funds

You must give us your review details within 21 days from the date on your letter.

How to provide your review details

Your income stream review letter will tell you how to give us the details. For account-based and market-linked income stream reviews, the easiest way is online.

Read our online guide to completing your income stream review using your online account or one time access code

Online through myGov

Follow these steps to provide your details online through myGov.

  1. Sign in to myGov and select Centrelink.
  2. Check the Reminders section.
  3. Choose the Income Stream Review reminder.
  4. Follow the prompts and answer the questions.

You can also submit documents online if we ask for them.

Online with a One Time Access Code

We’ll send you a One Time Access Code (OTAC) in the review letter. This is a secure way to provide your details online.

You can do this yourself or get someone you trust to do it for you. You’ll need to tell them the following details:

  • OTAC
  • your Customer Reference Number (CRN).

Don’t ask someone to do your income stream review for you if you’re concerned about telling them your CRN. If you give someone your OTAC, they can only complete your review. They won’t be able to view or change any other details.

To do your review using your OTAC follow these steps.

  1. Go to One Time Access Code Log In.
  2. Enter your CRN and your OTAC and select Log In.
  3. Follow the prompts and answer the questions.

You can also submit documents online if we ask for them.

Once you’ve finished, you’ll see a receipt page with an ID number for your records.

By phone

If you can’t do the review online, we can help you do it over the phone.

Before you call, please make sure you have all the details the review letter asks for.

When you have all the details ready, you or your nominee can call the Older Australians line. There may be call charges.

What help is available to manage your income

You can get help from the Financial Information Service to make informed decisions about your money.

Call the Older Australians line and ask to speak to a Financial Information Service officer.

Page last updated: 1 June 2021