Is Centrelink checking your bank account?
YOURLifeChoices member Irene asked us to settle an argument on whether Centrelink has the power to check your bank account.
Could you please settle an argument for me? A couple of my friends say that Centrelink can look at our bank accounts any time it likes. I say it can’t, as it would be a breach of the privacy act. Which of us is correct?
A. Centrelink does not have the power to spot check individual's bank accounts. However, it does utilise data-matching with other Government agencies to weed out cases of possible welfare fraud. For example, if you were to provide Centrelink with one set of figures and information, but the ATO with something different, this would be flagged by data-matching software. Centrelink has the power at this point to request details of your accounts from your bank.
If a discrepancy is flagged, the details of your accounts will be sent encrypted in an encrypted form to specialised staff, who will review them. Centrelink does not have the ability to remove funds from your account.
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