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This fact sheet answers questions about a first AAT review of a Centrelink decision that includes an assessment of you as a ‘member of a couple’

Answers to questions about your ‘member of a couple’ review in the Social Services and Child Support Division

What does the AAT need to decide?

The AAT must decide whether or not you are a ‘member of a couple’ under the rules of the Social Security Law.

Under these rules the AAT will look at your personal arrangements, the reasons those arrangements exist, and whether consideration of all the relevant circumstances indicates you are a ‘member of a couple’.

The AAT will consider all circumstances of the relationship, and in particular, the following matters:

  • the financial aspects of your relationship
  • the nature of your household
  • the social aspects of your relationship
  • any sexual relationship
  • the nature of the commitment to each other
  • if you are legally married and living apart, whether you are living apart on a permanent basis.

What information can I provide to support my review?

At the hearing, the AAT Member will ask you about your application and consider all of the information that you present. Generally, this will include the documents you have provided about your case.

The most helpful evidence to provide is:

  • timeline of significant events that have occurred in the relationship
  • information about the differences between your relationship before and after any separation
  • details of any address changes for all relevant parties, including children 
  • financial arrangements, such as bank statements, real estate details, wills, loans, bills, superannuation documents 
  • who pays what household expenses
  • household arrangements, such as living arrangements and distribution of housework
  • reasons for your household arrangements and how they are different from those of a member of a couple    
  • care arrangements for children
  • social activities
  • information from third parties that contain relevant facts that support your situation, for example factual evidence from a school that verifies the relationship status
  • evidence that explains why specific information in the Centrelink decision is incorrect.

Can my alleged partner participate as a witness at the hearing?  

The AAT will allow your alleged partner to give evidence at your hearing as a witness. If you would like this to occur you are required to provide their full name, address and telephone details.

A witness is only present during the hearing for the period they provide evidence. They can participate by telephone if necessary.


You can contact us if you need more information or have any questions.

When this Fact Sheet refers to “You” it means the applicant, and includes his or her nominee, representative or support person. When it refers to “We” or “Us” it means the AAT.