Double Orphan Pension
A regular payment if you’re caring for a child whose parents can’t care for them or have died.
- you care for the child at least 35% of the time, and
- their parents have both died, or
- one parent has died and the other is in a psychiatric institution or nursing home for an indefinite time, in prison for at least 10 years or their whereabouts are unknown, or
- the child is a refugee and both parents are living outside Australia or their whereabouts are unknown
Eligibility & payment rates
Who can receive it
You can receive Double Orphan Pension if:
- you care for the child at least 35% of the time
- you receive Family Tax Benefit for the child, or you could receive it but:
- your family's income is too high, or
- the child receives a prescribed education payment, such as ABSTUDY
- the child doesn’t receive an orphan pension from the Department of Veterans' Affairs
- you and the child meet the residence rules, or
- the child is:
- younger than 16 years of age, or
- 16 to 19 years of age, a full time student and doesn’t receive Youth Allowance
One of the following must also apply:
- the child’s parents or adoptive parents have both died
- the child is a refugee who hasn’t lived in Australia with their parents, and:
- has parents outside Australia, or
- doesn’t know where their parents are
- one of the child’s parents has died and the other parent is:
- in prison for at least 10 years
- in custody and could be sentenced to 10 years in prison
- in a psychiatric institution or nursing home for an indefinite period, or
- of unknown whereabouts
There are no income or assets tests.
How much you receive
You may receive more depending on how much Family Tax Benefit we paid before the child became an orphan.
We update payment rates on 1 January each year.
To make sure you receive the right amount, we review your payment:
- every 2 years, or
- when your circumstances change
You must be living in Australia and either:
- have Australian citizenship
- hold a permanent visa
- hold a Special Category visa, or
- hold either a Partner Provisional or Temporary Protection visa
The child must also meet these rules or be living with you.
To keep getting Double Orphan Pension
You must continue to meet these rules for as long as you get this payment.
If you don’t meet these rules but you’ve lived or worked in a country that has a social security agreement with Australia, the agreement may help you to claim.
Check if you’re eligible before you start your claim.
- find out what you need before you start
- register an intent to claim
- fill in your claim form
- submit the form and other documents we ask for, and
- wait for us to assess your claim and tell you the result
Managing your payment
Try self service
Do your Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support business using self service options, including our Express Plus mobile apps, online accounts and phone self service.
Read more about using self service.
Change of circumstances
If you don’t tell us when changes happen, you may be doing the wrong thing.
You need to tell us if:
- the child receives an orphan pension from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs
- your personal circumstances change
- you don’t meet the residence rules
- you change your address
- your care arrangements change, or
- you or the child leave Australia even for a short time
How and when to tell us
The easiest way to tell us about changes is through our self service options.
You need to:
- tell us within 14 days of the change, and
- make sure your details are up to date in myGov
It’s never too late to report a change.
If you don’t tell us
If you don’t tell us about changes in your life, we may pay you too much. If this happens, you must pay the money back, plus a fee.
If you don’t tell us when your circumstances change, you could be committing fraud.
While travelling outside Australia
Rules for Double Orphan Pension outside Australia
If you or your children leave Australia to live in another country, your payment will stop when you leave, unless you qualify for Double Orphan Pension under an international social security agreement.
If you or your children leave Australia temporarily, you can generally continue to get your payment for up to 6 weeks. This includes if your child is studying outside Australia.
After 6 weeks, your Double Orphan Pension will stop. If you or your children are overseas for longer than 6 weeks, return to Australia and then leave again within 6 weeks, your Double Orphan Pension will stop when you leave again.
If you're a member of the Australian Defence Force deployed overseas or the Australian Federal Police engaged in peacekeeping or capacity building activities overseas, you may be eligible for an extension of your Double Orphan Pension for up to 3 years.
You may be paid outside Australia for a negotiated period of up to 6 weeks if you hold one of the following visas:
- a Partner Provisional visa subclass 309 or visa subclass 820
- a Safe Haven Enterprise visa subclass 790, or
- a Temporary Protection visa subclass 785 issued on or after 16 December 2014
for the following approved reasons:
- to attend an acute family crisis, for example, to visit a critically ill family member
- for humanitarian reasons, for example, to adopt a child or attend custody proceedings, or
- to receive eligible medical treatment not available in Australia
Most temporary protection type visa holders can't be paid Double Orphan Pension outside Australia for any reason.
When to tell us about your travel
You should tell us if you or your children are leaving Australia, and:
- are going to live in another country
- will be away for more than 6 weeks
- have not been back in Australia for 6 weeks since your last return
- are paid under an international social security agreement, or
- hold a partner provisional visa or temporary protection type visa
Otherwise you don’t need to tell us that you or your children are leaving Australia. Australia’s immigration department will advise us when you or your children leave and return to Australia.
Read more about payments while outside Australia.
Someone to deal with us on your behalf
You can choose someone to be your correspondence nominee or a payment nominee.
They can be a different person or organisation for each nominee type or the same for both.
This does not stop you from dealing directly with us.
Centrelink correspondence nominee
Your correspondence nominee can do a lot of Centrelink things for you. This includes:
- asking us questions
- telling us of changes to your circumstances
- completing and signing forms and statements
- coming to appointments with you or, if appropriate, on your behalf, and
- getting copies of your letters from us
Centrelink payment nominee
Your payment nominee gets and uses your Centrelink payments on your behalf.
- can only use your payments to help you
- must keep records of the payments and how they spent the money
Making a Centrelink nominee arrangement
You can do this online or by completing a form.
You can manage your nominee arrangements using your Centrelink online account.
Both you and the person you want to be a nominee need to have a Centrelink online account. If you don’t have one, register now.
Your nominee will need to respond to a nominee request in their Centrelink online account within 14 days.
Fill in the Authorising a person or organisation to enquire or act on your behalf form. Then post or fax it to us or take it to a service centre.
We will need to see your nominee’s identity documents unless your nominee is an organisation.
Person permitted to enquire
You can choose someone just to enquire about your Centrelink payments and services.
They can be a person or an organisation.
How to appoint a person permitted to enquire
- fill in the authorising a person or organisation to enquire or act on your behalf form and post or fax it to us
- visit a service centre, or
- call us
Status Resolution Support Services Payment
You can arrange for another person or organisation to enquire with us on your behalf about your Status Resolution Support Services payment.
A person can act on your behalf for Medicare purposes when:
- they’re your appointed power of attorney (POA)
- a court or tribunal has appointed them as your guardian and administrator, or
- we’ve accepted them as your authorised representative
POA or guardian and administrator orders
You can use a POA or guardianship and administration order to appoint someone to act on your behalf. The POA or order must show your representative can act on your behalf for financial matters.
You’ll need to provide us with:
- an original or a certified copy of the POA document or guardianship and administration order, and
- a written letter of request which includes your Medicare number
A person can only nominate to be an authorised representative if:
- they can’t get a POA, guardianship order or administration order, and
- you can no longer manage your own affairs due to a medical condition or disability
To be someone’s authorised representative, you must:
- be over 18 years old
- be their close friend or relative
- not be their paid carer from any organisation, institution or community health care service
To apply, complete an Authorisation to act on a person’s behalf form. We also need original or certified copies of:
- current photo ID
- a statutory declaration – this should state how you know them and your care arrangements for them
- evidence you act on their behalf for a similar arrangement, and
- evidence the person is unable to manage their own affairs
Refer to the form for examples of documents you should give us.
The postal address is on the form.
You can appoint a nominee to deal with us on your behalf if you are in residential aged care or are getting a home care package.
Child Support representative
You can choose a person or organisation to be your child support representative. They will be able to:
- ask us questions
- give us information
- have access to and discuss your child support information
This person must be 18 or older. They shouldn’t be:
- a child who you paid or get child support for, even if they’ve turned 18
- the other parent in your child support case
You can choose:
- the date when they’ll stop being your representative
- the details they can know and discuss
- if they can arrange for you to pay us child support you owe
- if they can update your contact details with us
- make choices about changing your child support, such as asking us to change your collection option
- sign documents on your behalf
How to appoint a Child Support representative
- complete the Representative Authority form, or
- write a letter of authorisation signed and dated by you and your representative
A letter of authorisation should tell us:
- enough information to identify your representative
- the details you want them to discuss with us
- the date they’ll stop being your representative
Then submit it:
My bank account is overdrawn
Overdrawn bank account
A bank account is overdrawn if your balance goes below zero.
This can happen if:
- it looks like you have money to take out but another transaction hasn’t gone through yet
- you use direct debit to pay your bills
This creates a debt to the bank. Your bank might also charge you a fee. Remember, you have to pay the debt and fee back to them.
Sometimes your bank will take money from your account to pay back the debt and fee. They can't take more than 10% of your Centrelink payment. This is to protect your payment.
Bank means a bank, building society or credit union where you have an account.
Under the Code of Operation, your bank can't take more than 10% of your payment if you get:
- Age Pension
- Australian Victim of Terrorism Overseas Payment
- Bereavement Allowance
- Carer Allowance
- Carer Payment
- Crisis Payment
- Disability Support Pension
- Double Orphan Pension
- Education Entry Payment
- Farm Household Allowance
- Income Support Bonus (payment no longer exists)
- Mobility Allowance
- Newstart Allowance
- Parental Leave Pay
- Parenting Payment
- Partner Allowance
- Pension Supplement
- Schoolkids Bonus
- Sickness Allowance
- Special Benefit
- Widow Allowance
- Widow B Pension
- Wife Pension
- Youth Allowance
Also, if you get one of the payments above, your bank can't take more than 10% of your:
- ABSTUDY supplements
- Assistance for Isolated Children
- Baby Bonus
- Bereavement Payment
- Carer Adjustment Payment
- Carer Supplement
- Child Care Benefit
- Child Care Rebate
- Child Disability Assistance Payment
- Dad and Partner Pay
- Energy Supplement
- Essential Medical Equipment Payment
- Family Tax Benefit
- Low Income Family Supplement
- Low Income Supplement
- Newborn Upfront Payment and Newborn Supplement
- Pension Bonus Bereavement Payment
- Pension Bonus Scheme
- Pension Bonus Top Up
- Pensioner Education Supplement
- Pension Loans Scheme
- Pharmaceutical Allowance
- Remote Area Allowance
- Rent Assistance
- Single Income Family Supplement
- Stillborn Baby Payment
- Telephone Allowance
- Utilities Allowance
- Work Bonus
- Youth Disability Supplement
And, they can't take more than 10% of these Department of Veterans' Affairs payments:
- Crisis payment
- Defence Force Income Support Allowance
- Education Entry Payment
- Income Support Supplement
- Periodic Payments of Wholly Dependent Partner's Pension
- Service Pension - age, invalidity, or partner
- War Widow(er)'s Pension
You can repay more than 10% to your bank if you wish.
This agreement about how banks recover money from you does not cover all types of income. Speak to your bank about their fees and repayment policies.
Example of a protected payment
If you get a payment of $200, you can keep at least $180 (90%) of your payment. The bank can take up to $20 (10%) to repay the debt and fee.
Banks that agree to the protected payment
A list of banks, building societies and credit unions that agree to the Code are on these websites:
- Australia Bankers' Association members
- Australian Finance Industry Association members
- Customer Owned Banking Association (COBA) members who have signed the COBA Code of Practice
When the Code doesn't protect your payment
The Code doesn't protect you if:
- your account is overdrawn due to a dishonest or unlawful act
- a third party gets money you owe them from your account - for example, they have a court order to do so
Help from your bank
Talk to your bank if you overdraw your account. They can help you manage your debt.
You need to respond to requests from your bank about your debt within 60 days. If you don’t they could:
- make a report to a credit reporting body which can affect your credit rating, or
- take legal action to force you to repay your debt
If you can't resolve disputes with your bank, contact the:
Help from us
If you don’t have enough money to live on, we can help. We'll check if your bank has followed the Code. Call your regular payment number if you’d like us to help.
Other support services
Find a financial counsellor in your area on the Financial Counselling Australia website.
Manage your money
We’ve got advice and tools to help you with budgeting, borrowing and credit, and managing debt.
Read about how to manage your money.
Payment and Service Finder
Find, estimate and compare payments and services you may be eligible for. You can also work out what a change in circumstance might mean for the payments and services you currently get from us.