Moving to an area of lower employment prospects

If you move to an area with less jobs, a 26 week non-payment period may apply.

When it applies

This non-payment period may apply if you move and you’re getting 1 of these payments:

It may also apply if you move within 6 months before claiming 1 of these payments.

If you’re thinking of moving and want to know how it may affect your payment, call the Centrelink employment services line.

Due to coronavirus (COVID-19), we’ve suspended this waiting period for new claims for these payments. We won’t make any assessments on moving to areas of lower employment prospects for existing claims.

How we assess if the waiting period applies

We compare factors at your old and new addresses, including both the:

  • size of labour markets
  • unemployment rates.

We’ll let you know if you’ll have to wait 26 weeks before you get a payment when you either:

  • update your address
  • submit a new claim for an income support payment.

When it may not apply

Depending on your reasons for moving, you may not have to wait 26 weeks before you’re paid.

You may not have to wait 26 weeks if you meet the travel rules. These include:

  • your old and new addresses are in the same town and postcode
  • you’re moving to, or within 90 minutes travel from, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth or Adelaide
  • your new home is within 90 minutes travel from your original home.

But your new home can only be within 60 minutes travel of your original home if you’re either:

  • the principal carer of a child
  • assessed as not being able to work more than 30 hours a week.

You may not have to wait if you can show you moved for better job opportunities. A better job opportunity is for any of these reasons:

  • job vacancies or skills needed in your new area - you must give us proof
  • you have a job offer
  • you accept or start a suitable job.

You may also not have to wait 26 weeks if you’ve had changes in your situation for certain reasons. These reasons include:

  • you go to live with an immediate family member who already lives there
  • you get Youth Allowance and you move to live with your parents
  • the move treats or eases a physical disease or illness and you have medical evidence
  • you were in an extreme or life threatening situation, such as family and domestic violence
  • you’ve been homeless and you have an offer for stable long-term housing in the new area.

If you’re currently in a 26 week non-payment period, we may waive the rest of it if you either:

  • move back to your original address
  • move again to another area that has better job opportunities.

Page last updated: 10 December 2020