What to do if you are underpaid

David thinks his mother-in-law has been receiving less pension than she has been entitled for some time and wants to know whether the money will be paid back in full.


Q. David
My mother-in-law has just turned 90 and my wife now has power of attorney. Her mother currently receives a part pension of $758 a fortnight.

We have been looking through her financial records and have noticed that after March 2017 her only assets listed with Centrelink were her late husband’s superannuation, the funds of which were exhausted at the time.

She does not have any income other than the Age Pension, and she has not notified Centrelink of the changes in her income and assets since March 2017.

I used the pension calculator and found that she is entitled to the full single Age Pension. My question is, if we can prove to Centrelink that her assets and income were exhausted in March 2017, would she be eligible for the full shortfall in payment over this period?

A. Centrelink usually only allows 13 weeks to dispute an incorrect payment. It is possible to request a review after 13 weeks. However, even if Centrelink changes the amount to be paid, you may only get the extra entitlement from the date that you requested the review.

If you want to request a review, your first step should be to ask Human Services to review its decision. This should be done by an Authorised Review Officer.

If you do not receive a satisfactory response, you can then take the matter to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. Hopefully, this should see the matter resolved. If not, your last port of call is the Commonwealth Ombudsman.

If you have a Centrelink question, please send it to [email protected] and we’ll do our best to answer it for you. 

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Disclaimer: All content on YourLifeChoices website is of a general nature and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It has been prepared with due care but no guarantees are provided for ongoing accuracy or relevance. Before making a decision based on this information, you should consider its appropriateness in regard to your own circumstances. You should seek professional advice from a Centrelink Financial Information Services officer, financial planner, lawyer or tax agent in relation to any aspects that affect your financial and legal circumstances.

Ben Hocking
Ben Hocking
Ben Hocking is a skilled writer and editor with interests and expertise in politics, government, Centrelink, finance, health, retirement income, superannuation, Wordle and sports.
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