Travel checklist - have you told the DHS you're leaving Australia?

The boring but very important checklist you need to go through if you receive payments from the Department of Human Services and you're planning an overseas trip!

You must check how travelling or living overseas will affect any health care, child support arrangements and Centrelink payments you may receive. So basically, make sure the government is fully up to date on all your holiday plans!

How would leaving Australia affect your payment?

There are rules covering how travelling outside Australia may affect your payment or concession card. These depend on the payment or concession card you get. When you leave Australia the DHS may adjust or stop your payment or concession card based on these rules.

Read more about specific rules for affected payments and concession cards and find out when you should tell the DHS about your travel plans.

Checklist #1 - What to do before you leave:

1. Tell the Department of Human Services about your travel plans either online through myGov or via phone. Be aware that Australia’s immigration department will also advise the DHS when you leave Australia.

2. Register for an online account through myGov before you leave Australia. Then you can access your letters and other services online while you are away.

3. If the date you need to report your or your partner's earnings falls on or after you leave Australia, report on the business day before you leave. Otherwise your payment may be delayed.

4. If you are being paid as a single person because your partner is overseas, and you're leaving Australia to visit your partner, contact the DHS before you leave as they might need to review your payment before you leave.

5. Be aware that if you receive treatment overseas, Medicare benefits are not available.

Checklist #2 - What to do while you're away:

1. It's important to advise the DHS of any change to your circumstances that would normally affect your payment or concession card.

2. If the DHS can’t get in touch with you while you’re outside Australia, they may need to stop your payment or concession card in certain circumstances.

3. If your payments can continue while you’re outside Australia and you intend to be away for less than 12 months you’ll continue to receive your payment into your Australian bank account every two weeks.

4. If your payments can continue while you’re outside Australia and you intend to be away for more than 12 months, you will receive you payment every four weeks either into your Australian bank account, or into an overseas bank account (details will be arranged when you notify the DHS of your travel plans).

5. You’ll have to pay any fees or bank charges to access your funds while you’re outside Australia.

6. If you can't return to Australia as planned and your payment has stopped because you’ve reached the end of the period, your payment usually can’t be restored until you return to Australia. It may be possible to have your payment extended if you can’t return to Australia due to unexpected issues such as serious illness or natural disaster.

When you get back to Australia:

In most cases you don't need to let the DHS know that you've returned to Australia. However you will need to make contact if:

  • If your payment or concession card stopped while you were away and didn’t automatically begin again once you returned to Australia.
  • If you’re returning to live in Australia after having lived outside of Australia. (If you’ve been away for more than five years you must supply proof of residency in Australia to re-enrol for Medicare.
  • If you’re paid under an international social security agreement.
  • If the DHS asked you to provide evidence for your reason for travel.

When in doubt, make sure you always notify the DHS of your intention to travel or live overseas, to ensure as little disruption to your payments as possible!

All information is available on the Department of Human Services Website.

You can click here to watch a video that explains how travelling overseas can affect your payments.