Information about income apportionment

Income apportionment no longer occurs. Before December 2020, we commonly used it to help us work out how much people should have been paid.

We’ve restarted work on some matters we paused due to income apportionment.

What income apportionment is

It’s a practice we used to evenly divide, or apportion, a customer’s employment income across two or more Centrelink fortnightly reporting periods.

We used this method to work out how much income support you were entitled to in each fortnight.

We only needed to divide your income evenly if all of the following applied:

  • Your employer pay period didn’t line up with your fortnightly Centrelink reporting period.
  • Your payslip or income report showed your total earnings but did not show which days you worked or how much you earned in each Centrelink fortnight.
  • We had no other information available.

Your payment rate was still based on the total income you reported across those fortnights.

However, your eligibility or payment rate may have been impacted if the actual days you worked in those fortnights were not evenly spread out.

We stopped using income apportionment on 7 December 2020. This means it doesn’t impact any payment rate or debt decisions relating to income earned after that date.

Why we stopped using income apportionment

The practice ended on 7 December 2020, when new legislation made income reporting easier.

Prior to 7 December 2020, people had to report their gross earnings based on the number of hours they worked during each Centrelink fortnightly reporting period.

Reporting could be complex if a customer’s earnings period didn’t align with their Centrelink reporting period.

Since 7 December 2020, customers only need to report income as it appears on their payslip in the same Centrelink fortnight they actually get paid.

This means we don’t need to divide income across fortnights to work out your payment rate.

What we’re doing now

We paused debt repayments and internal reviews for debts that might have involved income apportionment.

We’re now restarting work on these matters.

We now have a methodology for calculating employment income related debts prior to 7 December 2020.

We started contacting customers from late April 2024 to let them know what is happening. We’ll contact customers gradually.

If you haven’t heard from us, your review and debt will remain paused. There’s nothing you need to do.

If you’d like to talk to us about a matter related to income apportionment, call us on our Income apportionment line.

Read more information about how we’re addressing income apportionment.

How this is different to Robodebt

Income apportionment is not Robodebt.

For income apportionment we divided a customer’s reported income to work out how their actual earnings affected their fortnightly Centrelink payment. It was done manually by Centrelink officers.

We took action on income apportionment when concerns were raised.

Robodebts are debts that were raised between July 2015 and November 2019 under the Income Compliance Program. They were raised using averaged Australian Taxation Office (ATO) income information. We no longer use income averaging to raise debts.

Read more information about Robodebt.

Contact numbers available on this page.

Income apportionment line

Use this line if we’ve written to you about a debt or review related to income apportionment.

Monday to Friday 9 am to 5 pm

There are other ways you may want to contact us.

Page last updated: 17 May 2024.
QC 65172