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Centrelink changes you may have missed: ‘Payment suspended’

Services Australia has reminded Aussies on welfare payments and the pension about changes that were brought in on January 1.

A composite image of Australian money and the Centrelink logo.
The New Year brought in some Centrelink changes. (Source: Getty)

On January 1, 2023, around 1 million Aussies on Centrelink saw their payments rise by roughly $20 a week.

Young people, carers and students received a 6 per cent increase on the first day of the year when the most recent indexation kicked in.

Youth allowance increased by between $19.10 and $41.40 a fortnight, while people on Austudy received between $32.40 and $41.40 more each fortnight. People on the disability support pension aged under 21 and without children received between $27.40 and $40.70 a fortnight.

The rates for ABSTUDY, isolated children assistance, mobility allowance, double orphan pension, carer allowance and pharmaceutical allowance also increased.

Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth said the increases would help ease rising cost-of-living pressures.

"This will have a significant impact on the hip pockets of young people,” Rishworth said.

"Income-free areas for student-income-support recipients will also benefit from indexation, meaning they are able to earn more before their payment is impacted."

For pensioners though, the major change revolves around the suspension of payments. From January 1, 2023, Services Australia can suspend your Age Pension payment if you get Australian employment income.

“We can do this if your employment income goes over the cut-off point for more than six fortnights in a row,” Services Australia said.

“We can do this for up to two years. This means that you don’t have to reclaim if you start earning less, or stop working.”

If your employment income goes over $2,243.00 for an individual or $3,431.20 for a couple, it would reduce your Age Pension to $0 for that fortnight.

“You don’t need to ask us to suspend your payment, we’ll do this automatically. When this happens, we’ll write to you to let you know. We’ll tell you the dates of the period we can suspend your payment for,” Services Australia said.

“You won’t need to report your employment income while your payment is suspended.”

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