Relationships and income assistance

The amount of income assistance you get depends on a number of things, including whether you’re single or in a relationship. Here are some things you need to know about relationships, including how we determine if you’re in a relationship when you’re getting income assistance.

Tell us if you are in a relationship

You need tell us straight away if you get married or separated, or if you enter or end a civil union or a de facto relationship.

If you are in a relationship that you haven't told us about before, you should also contact us straight away. That way, we can make sure you're paid the right amount, and don't miss out on any extra payments or get into debt.

Are you in a relationship?

The type of assistance and the amount that you can get may be affected by your relationship status, whether you are single, or you have a spouse or partner.

When we work out if you can get income assistance, we will consider you to be in a relationship if you are:

  • married
  • in a civil union
  • in a de facto relationship.

There also needs to be a degree of companionship in which two people are:

  • committed to each other emotionally for the foreseeable future and
  • financially interdependent on each other.

To give you a better idea of what we mean by this, think about whether:

  • you live together at the same address most of the time
  • you live separately but stay overnight at each other's place a few nights a week
  • you share responsibilities, for example bringing up children (if any)
  • you socialise and holiday together
  • you share money, bank accounts or credit cards
  • you share household bills
  • you have a sexual relationship
  • people think of you as a couple
  • you give each other emotional support and companionship
  • your partner would be willing to financially support you if you couldn't support yourself.

We also consider the length of time you've been in your relationship.

We know it can be difficult to determine whether you're in a relationship for income assistance purposes. If you're unsure about whether we would consider you to be in a relationship, please contact us. We will be happy to discuss this with you.

Are you in a violent relationship?

If you are in a violent relationship, or thinking of leaving one, we may be able to give you extra financial help and advise you where you can go for other support. Please contact us about it. The Police can also help you get protection, shelter and support.

Have you told us everything?

When you receive income assistance, it is very important you tell us everything about your personal situation that might affect your entitlement. An example is if you're working or in a relationship.

It is also important that you answer questions we may ask about your personal situation honestly.

If your situation changes in any way that may affect your entitlement, you must tell us straight away.

If you don't tell us about these changes, you could be breaking the law. This could result in a debt which you have to pay back, a fine, prosecution, or imprisonment.

Contact us

This information is a guide only. Please contact us if you're unsure about whether we would consider you to be in a relationship or how a relationship may affect your income assistance.

Call us on 0800 559 009.

If you're deaf, hearing-impaired or find it hard to communicate by phone you can use our Deaf Link contacts.