Centrelink push to stop fraudulent claims

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Centrelink has put on notice welfare recipients who, in order to receive a higher benefit payment, claim to be single, despite living as part of a couple.

Taskforce Integrity, which investigates fraudulent claims and retrieves over-payments as a result, is taking aim at those who lie about their relationship status in order to claim the higher single person dole payment. While the current push to stop fraudulent claims based on relationship status is aimed at those who are unemployed and claiming the dole, being part of a couple also affects the assessment and payments rates of benefits such as the Age Pension and Disability Support Pension.

Sharing of information across government agencies means that it is now easier to discover when a person claims to be single for one payment, yet part of a couple for another in order to receive benefits paid to couples.

Running in the Sydney suburb of Rockdale last year, a pilot program of Taskforce Integrity netted $2.2 million in Commonwealth debts, with 36 cases of suspected fraud investigated. The taskforce now operates across areas of NSW, Victoria and Queensland where high levels of fraud are suspected. Nine officers from the Federal Police, who have expertise in fraud detection, have bolstered the taskforce.

Human Services Minister Stuart Roberts put on notice those who seek to abuse the system for financial gain. “The message is simple – if you are a member of a couple you must declare this if you are receiving welfare payments. The majority of welfare recipients do the right thing, however, the reality is there are those who deliberately try to game the system,” he said.

According to projections given in the Mid Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO), such revenue recovery through data sharing between agencies will save $1.3 billion over three years. 

Read more at Heraldsun.com.au 

Opinion: One rule doesn’t suit all

Defrauding taxpayers for financial gain is never acceptable but as we at YourLifeChoices are continually reminded, not everything is black and white.

The discrepancy between the Age Pension for singles and a single member of a couple is $213.50 per fortnight, once you factor in supplements. And while the saying may be that ‘two can live as cheaply as one’, the harsh reality is that this is not the case.

Pension payment rates 

In the last week we have received emails from two of our members who are living as part of couple and assessed by Centrelink as such, despite having no access to their partners money. Bills such as rent, utilities and food are expected to be halved in such instances, with the financial burden often greater on the member of the couple that receives the lower rate of Age Pension.

A blanket rule is applied to such couples, with no consideration given to those who, while linked romantically to another, stand very much alone financially. Gone are the days when couples stayed together for life, building their nest eggs and retirement savings together. Second marriages or relationships often bring with them the burden of reduced financial status for at least one member of the couple.

By all means track down those who deliberately defraud taxpayers but perhaps it’s time to address the lack of flexibility in the assessment of the Age Pension for those who are very much single when it comes to financial issues.

Do you suffer financially by being part of a couple? Do you think that the means of assessment are fair for members of a couple? Have you encountered anyone who has lied about their relationship status for financial gain?

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Written by Debbie McTaggart

232 Comments

Total Comments: 232
  1. 0
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    i was accused of living defacto and not declaring it years ago , and the only males on the property were my brother and father ( just because id kept my married name ) of course centrelink didnt bother to investigate , someone in the office just pushed a button.

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      Personally, I don’t think that this crack-down, like many others, is anything other than the next scare campaign. Will believe it when I see it and when the statistics from Centrelink show results. Until then…..dream on. Rorters and crooks know the system.

    • 0
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      Why the hell does any gove3rnment want to scare it’s most vulnerable people?

      Simple answer:- Because they want to control those people by fear.

      Every petty potentate in history did it – why would our very own not follow the same path – as long as it returned a profit to them???

      Wake up, Australia – you’ve been asleep too long.

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      mick, I have to agree with you 100%. If the gov wants to crack down on cheats, go after the BIG cheaters. The people and corps. that cheat on their tax. Or those in the 1% top income bracket that still want, and expect it as their God given right, more tax incentives.

      OK, stealing is wrong and we all do it in one for or another, but why spend $m’s harrassing a few bad pensioners when they can spend the same on $m’s tax avoidance and reap more rewards?

      Once again, I hear “I’m not going to pay taxes to support bludging penioners …” yet these same people pay taxes to support big Corps. and business people who usually send the profits gained from Australian taxpayer/people, overseas. We live in a global economy but we are still Australians.

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      Good Grief !! Is this still going ? I thought they would have all the Bludgers in Jail by this ! 🙁

  2. 0
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    All our lives we were taxed as single people, no discounts for being a couple. Why then is our pension discounted on the basis of being a couple. Further more, what business is it of any government who you are having sex with. I realise sex is not the only test of what constitutes a couple but it seems to be the ‘gold standard’.

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      LOL, if no sex was the gold standard then the queue to change from a Couple to a Single Pension would be a mile long!!!!

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      as far as I am concerned the government has sold all the cash cows telstra, the Commonwealth bank and the like for a trinket, now that there is no business generating income, and with entities like banks the ability to control costs, the only way the politicians trough can be kept full is to attack the vulnerable, do you remember the pension rise a few years ago for singles, a lot of noise was mad about their benefits increasing, the money cam from reducing the the pensions of partners, it used to be 100% for one 45% for the other it is now 100% and 50%, no political party brought that up.

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      A story on the weekend quotes $81 million in rent for NSW government buildings previously owned by taxpayers. The frustrating element was the opposition politician bemoaning that He, Mike Baird had sold off his assets.

      These clowns believe that they own these public assets.

      The Commonwealth government has given up billions of dollars of dividends annually by selling income producing assets.

      It should be illegal.

      Now they have no more of the people’s money to spend they are crying poor.

  3. 0
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    At what stage has the Government’s attitude towards pensioners ever been fair. Inevitably, we are the first in their sights each budget year. It is logical that the pension for ‘married’ couples etc. should be twice the basic rate, plus once for add ons ie. rent assistance.
    It is not rocket science.

  4. 0
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    Good thing I’m not on welfare as I would have to disclose my toy boy. Then again if sex is the yard stick I think not. Maybe I’d have to tell them about my cleaning lady instead.

    That is just how stupid it has all become.

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      If having a partner for sex s costing welfare dollars perhaps you could claim him as a tax deduction Bonny.

      I hope he isn’t living on your property or if he is you have a legal agreement because otherwise he is a dependent and that can get very tricky in a court case.

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      What about my cleaning lady?

    • 0
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      You are assuming my sexual preference is for men. This may not be the case so you can’t make assumptions like that.

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      Bonny, I have heard of big, fat, ugly, middle aged, balding, male coppers posing on the Internet as mere 13 year old girls looking for some fun.

      So I trust no one on the internet and don’t even assume that you are a female. You do have some male traits, like unashamed bragging!!!

      However, you do have a distinct ‘tease’ trait which you deliver to perfection then you run away. That may be a clue to your sex?

      Me, I follow the rules of a doubting Thomas!!!! Nothing shocks me except that I am still reading these posts on YLC hoping to find some useful information!

      And what do I read, Bonny has a toy boy, a house keeper, lives on an estate, does not claim the Aged Pension but say’s he/she could easily do so and has an opinion which is easily expressed knowing it won’t be universally endorsed. Plus Bonny finds it easy to tell half truths deliberately painting one picture knowing it is not the full story.

      I’m guessing that Bonny is not completely satisfied and is seeking intellectual stimulation that is missing from her toy boy and house keeper.

      And then Bonny turns out to be a ‘big, fat, ugly, middle aged, balding, male copper posing on the Internet as a female’ … LOL!!!!

      It’s true, I used to drink beer with a ‘dyke on a bike’ in a Paddington Bi Pub … so my sex would be??? Red blooded male!!!! Double LOL!!!

      Enjoy the game, I think that I will soon retire!!!

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      GO GIRL!!!! You jump the fence if you want and when you want.!!

      As for toy-boys … mine keeps me alive and kicking 🙂

      And Peterrj, don’t hang up the tools or store away the thoughts … live!! Don’t retire. Life is too good. 🙂

  5. 0
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    Someone has to pay for Hockey’s Canberra house Bronwyn Bishops personal splurges and now Julia ( aka Bronwyn the second) Bishop. It is believed an estimated 560000 part pensioners will never vote for the Blasted Liberals ever again
    Goodbye and good riddance

    • 0
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      Spot on Mike – can’t wait for them to be turfed out.

    • 0
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      You forgot Sir Joes Washington Residence ? 🙂

    • 0
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      And that pretty much hits the nail on the head. We all see politicians shamlesly pushing rules to the limit in order to gain a monetry advantage and it is always the same answere, “we are only claiming things that we are entitled to”.
      Is it any wonder that pensioners push the envelope when claiming their rightful pensioner benefits?
      I will never get sick of saying, the elderly citizens of this country have a lot of power, all we need do is get organised and make sure that all governments know that if they get too greedy we will boot them out.
      I don’t particularly care what the flavour of the government is, we need to let them know that we are not a soft target to be milked whenever their mismanagement leads the country into financial difficulty.

    • 0
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      Just put ALL Old Age Pensioners on a DECENT Single Pension and solve Half of the Problem ! Then they can set their Head Hunters loose on the Fraudsters !! Not a problem !!

    • 0
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      At least Craig Thomson and his ilk don’ spend taxpayers money, he pays his hookers with the union credit card allegedly, a lovely guy it seems. That’s the sort of “honourable” person we want to “rule” us.

    • 0
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      here here, once again the Orwellian liberal party is telling us what we think, Howard learned the lesson the hard way, when he told us We Loved thier Work Changes and EVERBODY wanted it to happen, lets hope the public is not suckered by the media before the elections.

    • 0
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      I don’t think anyone reads the Syrian Moaning Herald or Telefibs anymore ? 🙂

  6. 0
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    This is all about diversion through division to control the masses while the rich keep getting richer for their NWO.

  7. 0
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    Gee, imagine how much the government would recoup if the pursued businesses that minimised or avoided paying tax? They would recoup billions not millions.

    Yes I know companies can write off “losses” against tax but if they lose money how are they able to pay dividends to shareholders? If they make “losses” year after year, how are they able to stay in business?

  8. 0
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    It’s abused all the time, couples live together and claim singles is rife. It and the Invalid pension. I know a bloke high in treasury and he said abuse of welfare benefits is getting out of control and we can’t sustain it. There might be some genuine complaint but not many, just whingers that want everything for nothing. How many have actually contributed to society at all, I see people with disabilities get a job like everyone else and not complain.

    • 0
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      The return of Mediterranean Back ! I knew that Disease would return !! 🙁

    • 0
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      Yes I agree , Just look in the central Queensland area where highly paid miners have their their wives living on the coast claiming single status where in fact they are still a couple reaping the rewards of a double income. Something has to be done. The genuine tax payer always suffers as a result of this. Come on ATO do something about it as it is out of control !!!

  9. 0
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    NO !! Leave it alone !! 🙁 I’m going to convert to Islam ! And My new name will be Mohammud Mohammud ! I will be getting at least 4 Wives, And they will all be living in Govt. Housing Separately. I will do as ordered by Our New Grand Mufti and convert or lose My head !
    This works fine for the Imports, So if you cant beat them Join them !! 🙂

    • 0
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      Sorry, parti, but it is this kind of “joking” which turns a blind eye to the vicious, inhuman intentions of the Muslim population to control the world. These people are insane zealots and must be stopped committing atrocities or their blood-thirty prophecies will be attained.

    • 0
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      Lets not Change the subject but someone Mentioned NWO on here but they forgot to say in Conjunction with the Coming Caliphate !! 🙁

    • 0
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      parti, YOU changed the subject with this Mo Mud guy and the Hufti Dufti Mufti.

    • 0
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      I did not !!! I was on the subject of Welfare Fraud !! And I’ve worked out a ME solution to the Problem !! Appeasement Payment ! My name is Mo now leave me alone or I’ll put a Fatwa out on you ! You you Infidel Government !! 🙁

    • 0
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      Yes Fast Eddy, you can’ t joke about the vicious inhuman intentions of people who post stupid comments like yours. You clearly want to drive a wedge between different parts of our society, when clearly we need everyone to treat each other well. I must thank you, though – if what you say is true, you will be the first one in their sights, and I won’t be. Good luck with that.

    • 0
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      Saalbach, you are type of person who would HIDE from your aggressors, be afraid to give witness to a crime, and generally be friendly to all because you are a two-faced hypocrite do-gooder who wouldn’t say “shit” if you had a mouthful, and want to be friends to everyone even though you dislike them. The world has a lot of toady sycophants like you, unfortunately. You probably have never been in the military service and were spoils in your childhood, as well. Pathetic!

    • 0
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      The Fast Eddies of this world have played right into the hands of the Islamic fundamentalists by inciting the great divide within our society. If you disagree with Fast Eddie’s point of view, then you are wrong and he will demonstrate this by subjecting you to a tirade of abuse which passes for logical argument in his world. He sounds like a sad, angry old man; somebody give him a hug but non-Muslims only please as Fast Eddie might subscribe to that peace-loving, non-invasive, socially and sexually-inclusive, share-the-wealth religion i.e Christianity.

    • 0
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      Bazbee, both you and the other “case” above, Saulbach, must BOTH be heathens.

    • 0
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      Great Heathens Above ! What did I do to Deserve this ! 🙁

  10. 0
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    I will only believe Centrelink is going something positive to discourage, catch, and prosecute benefit payment cheats when I see believable figures of their successful efforts. I.T. capabilities within Centrelink is forever being mentioned, but it’s success in exposing the cheats is seldom heralded.

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