Eligibility for the Rent Deduction Scheme
If you receive a regular Centrelink payment and you rent the place you live in from a state or territory housing authority, you can apply for the Rent Deduction Scheme.
How the Rent Deduction Scheme works
When you apply for the Rent Deduction Scheme, your housing authority sends your details to us and requests that a deduction be made from your Centrelink payment.
We update your customer record with the deduction amount.
You must continue to pay your rent in the usual way until you receive a letter from us. We will tell you when your deduction will start and how much will be taken out of your payment.
We will then start paying your rent from your Centrelink payment each payday and send it by electronic transfer to your housing authority along with details about the deduction.
Sometimes we are not able to deduct the full amount requested if your Centrelink payment:
- is reduced because of your income or earnings
- has been reduced or suspended, or
- is reduced because other deductions have been made, such as payment of advances, leaving you without enough Centrelink payment to cover your rent deduction
If this happens, you will need to contact your housing authority to make other arrangements to pay the rest of your rent.
If Centrelink payments are cancelled
If your Centrelink payment is cancelled, you will need to make other arrangements to pay your rent.
If your payment recommences within 13 weeks, your deduction will automatically continue from your next pay day.
You should contact your housing authority to discuss any rent deductions you have missed while your payment was cancelled.
If your Centrelink payment starts again after 13 weeks you will need to talk to your housing authority about restarting your deduction using the scheme.
Moving between payments
If you move from one Centrelink payment to another, for example from Parenting Payment to Newstart Allowance, your deduction will continue without you having to do anything.
Applying for the Rent Deduction Scheme
The scheme is provided by the department in partnership with state and territory housing authorities. Once you are part of the scheme, your rent is automatically deducted from your Centrelink payments and paid directly to your housing authority.
To apply for the Rent Deduction Scheme, you need to contact or visit your local housing authority office and complete a deduction form.
Managing your deduction
Changes to your rent
If the amount of your rent changes, the housing authority will advise us of the new amount. We will adjust your deduction to the new amount from your next payday and send you a letter advising you of the change.
Withdrawing from the Rent Deduction Scheme
The Rent Deduction Scheme is voluntary. If you stop using the scheme but still have to pay rent, you will need to contact your housing authority to make other arrangements to pay.
You should discuss your request to stop using the scheme with your State or Territory Housing Authority before you cancel the deduction. Ensuring you have made other arrangements to pay your rent when you are not using the scheme will help you avoid missing payments which may lead to rental arrears or possible eviction.
If you no longer want us to deduct your rent from your payment, you can cancel your deduction by:
When your deduction is cancelled, we will send you a confirmation letter. We will also advise your housing authority.
Using Centrepay for other deductions
Centrepay is another free deduction service we offer for customers receiving Centrelink payments.
You can have a regular amount deducted from your Centrelink payments to pay for bills and services including private rent, electricity, gas, water, child care and telephone.
Select the options that describe your circumstances then explore a suggested list of possible Centrelink and Medicare payments and services online.
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