14th May 2018
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Budget measures to expand robo-debt recovery scheme
Author: Ben Hocking
How Centrelink will chase debt

Last Tuesday’s Federal Budget 2018 announcement included a significant expansion of its highly criticised robo-debt recovery scheme.

The Budget anticipated savings of $300 million from the expanded crackdown program, which is targeting people that are already paying back debts.

From 1 July 2019, the Government will focus on the recovery of Centrelink debts over $10,000 and speedier repayments from people who have the capacity to pay and are no longer reliant on welfare.

The Government claims that over $1.2 billion in Centrelink overpayments is owed by people no longer on welfare payments and not in a repayment arrangement.

Data-matching programs will continue for another year to reduce overpayments and maintain the integrity of the welfare system.

Robo-debt has been widely criticised for sending out incorrect debt notices and putting the onus on often-vulnerable welfare recipients to track down payslips from as far back as seven years to prove their income was correctly declared.

The system also required those that wished to contest their fine to use a complicated online system, with many complainants unable to ask their questions over the phone or in person at Centrelink offices.

As a one-off budget measure to solve this, the Government committed $50 million in 2018-19 to better address Centrelink call waiting times.

Human Services Minister Michael Keenan said the funding for technological enhancements in this year’s Budget would deliver multiple benefits such as reducing claim-processing times and the cost of administering the payment system.

“Enabling people to conduct most of their business online removes the need for them to visit government offices or call us with questions, speeding up the time it takes to process their claims,” Mr Keenan said.

“While we deliver these major transformation projects, we remain committed to ensuring Australians can access the services they need which is why we are also boosting our telephone capacity.”

Centrelink’s ageing IT systems will also be overhauled with $316 million over four years for more efficient automated claim, assessment and payment processes.

One of the more controversial measures introduced in the Budget targeted welfare recipients owing money for fines.

From 1 March 2019, welfare recipients who have not paid a court-imposed fine will have money deducted from their regular payment until the debt is paid.

Welfare recipients with outstanding warrants for indictable criminal offences will have their payment suspended for up to four weeks or until the warrant is cleared, and cancelled thereafter where the warrant remains outstanding.

What do you think of the Government’s new efforts to recover debt? Are they attacking those that can afford it least?

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    COMMENTS

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    sunnyOz
    15th May 2018
    9:59am
    Just easy targets - they don't do it for working people, or business owners - why target the most vulnerable?
    Sceptic
    15th May 2018
    11:22am
    Maybe that may have something to do with the working people and business owners to whom you refer do not draw on or have debts with Centrelink.
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    16th May 2018
    7:10am
    But they get away with other types of rip-offs and frauds. Politicians are the worst of all.

    I just wish Centrelink would target the real cheats. Seems like the lifetime cheats know the ropes and continue to avoid detection.
    George
    16th May 2018
    7:35pm
    First of all, the Govt & Minister must be absolutely sure the software works and works fairly! Otherwise, he needs to pull it back till it does, with re-checks done fairly when someone complains the software is incorrect - otherwise this is NOT a Govt working for the people.

    In fact, the Govt could gain far more if this software is used seriously by the ATO to track down and target TAX EVADERS - sure there are billions to be found there!

    Finally, what about those Pollies who were confirmed Dual Citizens - all that they earned ILLEGALLY needs to be collected back immediately, with fines for lying on their job applications.

    The Labor Opposition seems to be curiously silent on the above points - too hard for Chris Bowen to work anything out as he prefers to be in opposition and whinge, whinge, whinge!
    Needy
    15th May 2018
    10:54am
    Speaking to people from Centrelink you are asked to estimate on the dole form the amount of money you will receive. But. Sometimes the person you worked for did not pay you until he had finished the job he was doing. Sometimes weeks. By then you have estimated the amount for Centrelink that you worked and dates. Then weeks later put the money in the bank. Centrelink does not realise this happens with farmers. Farmers sometimes do not pay until they do their book work when they have finished their job.
    So. The person is paid by Centrelink when the form is sent in. Then receives a smaller amount of money. When the money is put in the bank weeks later it is then that the TAX office knows about it. NOW Centrelink is asking for the difference between the amount that was estimated, which may not be correct as it is an ESTIMATED, and the amount that was on the TAXATION OFFICE data. AND Centrelink want the amount overpaid when the money was actually paid and banked as Centrelink makes this two different jobs. Centrelink do not know that this is the way farmers work, so I am informing them.
    Do you think that farmers should drop everything and pay the person employed by them immediately. OR. Should Centrelink realise that this could be the reason for having the wrong estimate and payment dates. If they want farmers to pay immediately THEN there goes a form of employment used by farming communities.
    Centrelink should shut down this form of robbery now. Robbing the poor and giving to the Pollies.
    TREBOR
    15th May 2018
    11:11am
    Good point.
    thewizardoz
    15th May 2018
    12:07pm
    Yes Needy. I was trapped by Centrelink's GUESSTIMATED income system! I was working casual and was injured at work. I had to go on workers' compensation and "estimate" my "future" fortnightly payments. I did not get a payslip from my employer for 5 months and it wasn't itemized i.e. did not show individual fortnightly payments, just a lump sum for that time, and I no idea of what tax I paid either. Centrelink then "calculated" my "over-payment" then not only hit me with a bill but also reduced my pension significantly.
    Old Geezer
    15th May 2018
    11:05am
    It's about time they crack down on those who defraud the taxpayers. It was a good idea to link Centrelink and the ATO to flush out those who are not doing the right thing.
    TREBOR
    15th May 2018
    11:12am
    Yes, indeed - send out the Tax Reaper to gather in those who are currently stealing away under the shadow of the night of accounting practices and offshore accounts.

    Centrelink and the ATO have been linked for years - the problem remains their way of calculating and their inability to address simple issues in a reasonable and trained manner.
    Placido
    15th May 2018
    11:45am
    OG The link was established at least as early as around 1990, not a new thing. Data matching took place regularly.
    Adrianus
    15th May 2018
    12:17pm
    Agree OG, a great idea to link Centrelink and the ATO. A recent news item described how a young man on newstart and living in government housing bought a $1.5m house and paid cash. He is the son of a Sudanese general. What on earth is going on in Victoria??
    Chris B T
    15th May 2018
    1:28pm
    Dose this Include Illegal sitting pollies that falsely received payments.
    That is Pay, Allowances,Travel etc all the while falsely Claiming these and other payments.
    If you go after one group, then don't recover the illegal pollies procurements just Wrong. Tax Payers Money As Well.
    Retired Knowall
    15th May 2018
    7:48pm
    How about Centrelink and the ATO investigate all the Pollies that were on the Australian Payroll over the last 20 years and were Dual Citizens. Some still drawing a pension.
    TREBOR
    15th May 2018
    11:09am
    Shouldn't affect me, but who knows - I may be working again soon.
    Needy
    15th May 2018
    11:37am
    Good luck
    Adrianus
    15th May 2018
    12:23pm
    Yep good luck TREBOR. Remember, you get one phone call!
    HS
    15th May 2018
    12:27pm
    TREBOR and the one phone call better be to your solicitor. Got his / her number handy? :) :)
    TREBOR
    15th May 2018
    1:34pm
    I'll take the Fifth..... I ain't sayin' nuffin'.....
    GrayComputing
    15th May 2018
    11:34am
    It is time for all of us to rant at our PMs to take action for human decency and a huge stress reduction for pensioners

    NO ASSET TEST FOR A PENSION EVERV AGAIN!
    A pension is not welfare.

    Most economist say we will save taxpayers money by dropping asset testing because of the massive overheads cost in running Centrelink and the 10,000 conflicting rules
    Even poorer New Zealand has a NO ASSET pension so it is cheaper and user friendly,

    Do retired and retiring people really look forward and want 100++ visits to/from Centrelink and be part of 3 million waiting queues and lost calls?

    Does your MP really like being part of the system that allows this indirect abuse of the elderly?

    This abuse is actually sponsored by our government and forced down to Centrelink and borders on a criminal act.

    Why do MPs normally compassionate persons let this Centrelink abuse happen at taxpayers’ expense?

    Some opposition and independent MPs stand to lose their chance at being part of the needed government changes

    We all need to tell our MP that these criminal asset tests for a pension must be dropped now.
    NO ASSET TEST FOR A PENSION EVER AGAIN!
    Adrianus
    15th May 2018
    12:20pm
    What ?? No assets test?? Why do you think its a good idea to give a billionaire the OAP?
    TREBOR
    15th May 2018
    1:36pm
    Under the New Scheme, those billionaires would be paying tax on all other income, fringe benefits, and gifts from their 'past' companies and such..... I'm sure that would compensate for paying them $22k a year.....

    A million dollar 'loan' from the family trust to go to the races would be taxable as income.

    Time to tighten the screws.
    Adrianus
    15th May 2018
    5:23pm
    Now let me see if I've got this right?
    The billionaires aren't paying any tax now but if we give them the old age pension they will come around and give the pension back plus a whole lot more??
    I think I get it?
    You people are certifiable!
    LOL!!!
    TREBOR
    15th May 2018
    5:48pm
    When the tax rules are set up to catch them - yes.
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    16th May 2018
    8:26pm
    These right-wingers are weird. When it suits their agenda, they argue that the rich contribute 80% of tax and whinge that taxes are too high and should be reduced, but then they turn around and say billionaires don't pay any tax. Whatever BS suits the argument they currently wish to make - no matter how flawed and contradictory - is apparently just fine. Who cares about facts? Not our right-wing friends. All they care about is slamming the less well off and insulting anyone they assume is a ''leftie''.
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    16th May 2018
    8:39pm
    If the rich are paying anything remotely close to what the whinging privileged claim they are paying, giving them a pittance of a pension when over 65 wouldn't have much impact on the federal budget at all. Create a universal OAP instead of granting tax cuts for the rich and the improved incentives to save, increased general wealth, dramatically reduced stress and therefore improved health and happiness, and hugely reduced administration costs would put the budget in the black in no time. Not to mention the increased spending would generate enormous additional growth in business profits, tax revenue and jobs.
    Adrianus
    17th May 2018
    3:18pm
    You people who envy the wealthy claim they don't pay any tax because of asset trusts with corporate trustees and complex cash flows.
    Why don't we apply your theory to a particular case. Lets say we Send a cheque to Twiggy Forest equivalent to the OAP and see if his next year tax return shows an increase in tax owed? Twiggy will probably laugh and donate the funds to reducing world slavery or something of that nature.
    I don't know of any economy, perhaps apart from New Zealand, which has enormous additional growth as a result of a universal pension. Lets be frank, NZ's growth is based on its ability to secure FTAs ahead of Australia. We didn't get the job done in a timely manner because we had 6 years of disastrous government. I'm not the only one who understands this.
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    18th May 2018
    7:24am
    IN typical blue-tie fashion, Adrianus, you have twisted what I said completely. Firstly, it has nothing to do with ''envy''. It has to do with economic rationale, fairness, and common sense.

    Secondly, Twiggy Forest is one of a tiny handful of exceptionally rich people in Australia and is NOT in any way qualified to be held as an example of the rich generally.

    And thirdly, I didn't suggest for an instant that we simply send people cheques equivalent to the OAP. I said the system needs to be changed such that the OAP is universally paid and the tax system made fairer. Currently, the rich receive more ''OAP'' than the poor, due to the superannuation tax concession system which costs the nation more than the pension but only benefits the well off, imposing huge cost on the nation to fund the retirement of people who are so wealthy that they will never need help to fund retirement. If this - alone - were fixed, we could comfortably afford to ensure ALL Australians enjoyed a dignified retirement. And there is huge scope to make the system fairer by taxing high retirement incomes, which would recoup any OAP paid to those who have no need of it. But no, GREED PREVAILS.

    And yes, the rich DO use trusts and other devices to avoid tax that, morally and ethically, they should be paying. And who pays the price? Those who need or deserve more help in retirement.

    It has nothing to do with envy. It's about the GREED of the privileged and the harm their GREED is doing to the nation.
    Adrianus
    18th May 2018
    8:53am
    Rainey, no matter how you couch it, it still has the same meaning. Why is GREED a one way street with you?
    You and your like talk about the rich as one evil group of people but when an example is put forward you dismiss it as not being exemplary?
    The question you often ask is 'how can we rob the rich and give to the poor?' 'how can we restrict the number of rich people or reduce their wealth?' 'how can we develop a distaste for wealth creation?'
    That may have served a purpose in feudal times, but the modern world needs to adopt a policy of motivating/educating the poor to achieve their own riches, whatever that may be.
    Why do you think a store manager at Harvey Norman can earn $500k pa? Is Gerry another non-example?
    Life is about paying the piper, Newtons third law of motion, but you want someone else to pay the piper.
    Rainey, yes I call that envy and hatred. The world is a much better place than you realise. Class warfare only appeals to dumb people.
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    18th May 2018
    10:09pm
    Adrianus, you are making up a lot of crap and wrongly attributing it to me, claiming I said things I never said - or thought - and making wild and totally unsubstantiated assumptions about how I think.

    I have NEVER asked how we can rob the rich to give to the poor or how we can restrict the number of rich people or reduce their wealth. I have certainly never suggested we should develop a distaste for wealthy creation. What I have said is that we need more personal responsibility, incentive and reward. We need to support people to achieve their fullest potential. We need to allow people to prosper. But we also need to balance that with empathy and respect for those who struggle to overcome injustices, sickness, disability, natural disasters, and other genuine crises. We need a strong support system for those who cannot reasonably be expected to support themselves, and for those who strive to overcome hardship but whose backgrounds make it a tough call.

    But this government is feeding the privileged and the filthy rich and bashing the middle and upper working class who are striving to achieve, keeping them down, and condemning and persecuting those who are down. Labor does likewise, unfortunately, the only difference being that Labor wants to hand crumbs to the poor and to those they have pushed down, while the Libs just trample on them.

    Class warfare IS happening in Australia. Call it what you will, but to term it envy and hatred only shows ignorance and disrespect.

    The poor can only achieve their own riches when there are appropriate support mechanisms in place. Sure, there will always be exceptions to the rules. How and why individuals get rich is never fully disclosed. There are always mentors or support structures or strokes of good fortune that are not disclosed. Conversely, some people can never overcome the massive disadvantages and challenges they are confronted with - often due to gross injustice and cruelty. Our society loves to boast about the winners, but it is quick to blame the losers - not those who caused the loss.

    Don't lecture me about the poor achieving their own riches, Adrianus. I am among those who have - though I only ever achieved modest comfort, but now I am paying dearly for having strived and achieved because I didn't quite get rich enough to avoid being bashed down by the mean bastards who hate those who break through class barriers. I would be better off, now, with half of my current assets. And if Shorten has his way, everything I worked for will be totally demolished.

    We have a budget problem, and welfare is being blamed, but we know that superannuation tax concessions cost more than the OAP, and 80% of that cost benefits high income earners who will never need help to fund their retirement. We know that multi-national corporations avoid tax. We know that rich folk like MT stash their wealth in the Caymans to dodge their tax obligations. That's GREED. And yes, greed goes both ways. There are plenty of greedy pensioners out there. Sadly, I'm related to one. She is just as much to blame for this country's problems as the tax-dodging wealthy.

    It's not me who can't see both sides of the argument, Adrianus. It's you and your blue-tie mates who cannot stand the truth about the upper classes. Australia used to be the land of the fair go. The rich paid far higher taxes than today, and the nation prospered. The working class had pride. What went wrong? GREED took over. And it starts at the top and flows down. When those on the bottom rung see the rich pillage and plunder and whine about paying their way, why wouldn't they also seek to take what they can by fair means or foul.

    If we could get back to decency and respect, we could solve this nation's problems, but it won't happen while privileged bastards continue to rape and pillage - and they ARE doing that. We need a reformed attitude to taxation and wealth distribution - one that removes the penalties for striving to escape the poverty trap. That is why the universal age pension is the smart answer. When we stop punishing people for saving for retirement, there will be far more striving and achieving. Stop loading the coffers of the high income earners with obscene handouts and fund a fair reward for battlers who have worked hard and saved well instead and we'd have far more workers and savers.

    Class warfare only appeals to dumb people. That's why most of us here are so opposed to the class warfare that this government is perpetrating. We are NOT dumb. We see it. We abhor it. We want it to stop.
    Adrianus
    19th May 2018
    8:01am
    Rainey, your post is full of contradictions. But what is consistent in your language is the envy of those who have attained financial independence. As well as, a genuine liking for a 'them and us' siege mentality. You know absolutely nothing about me and yet you insist on calling me names which don't fit, but serve your general purpose. You and MICK are getting paid by the same organisation aren't you?
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    19th May 2018
    6:01pm
    Adrianus, I can only conclude you can't read, or can't understand what you read. FYI. I have attained financial independence, so I don't see how you can think I would envy others who have done the same. And I have NOT called you names - that fit or otherwise. I merely said you were making wrong assumptions about me and twisting my words.

    I know nothing about Mick except for what I glean from his comments here, which suggest to me he leans well to the left, while I am very much in the middle, and I am certainly NOT paid by any organization. If I were, it would be an organization that seeks to balance the scales - to ensure the genuinely underprivileged, sick, disabled, etc. were cared for adequately, the rich were taxed appropriately, and those who can were encouraged, supported and rewarded to take personal responsibility and strive to achieve. I would end the ridiculously obscene handouts to the wealthy through insane superannuation tax concessions that they do NOT need, and use the funds to increase support for battlers to build retirement nest eggs and to introduce a universal age pension coupled with a sensible system of taxing higher retirement incomes. I would restore dignity and respect for our aging, and provide an incentive for workers to strive by promising them a comfortable and enjoyable retirement - while they are still fit enough to enjoy some leisure.

    There are no contradictions in my approach - only balance. I support caring for those who genuinely need care. I support providing high quality government services. But I also support personal responsibility. I don't use the word ''fair'', because life isn't, but I support ensuring there is equity in society. And that is absent at present because the wealthy are ripping off the nation, and their greed is destroying society. I don't want them robbed. I don't want their numbers reduced or to see them stripped of the rewards for their endeavours. I just want them to pay their fair share towards restoring and maintaining a healthy society. And I want those who are not wealthy, but have worked hard to attain modest levels of affluence, fairly rewarded - instead of being bullied and bashed, and having their savings stolen using blatant lies as justification.

    I'm sorry if you are so over-committed to returning to feudalism, or to feeding greed and entitlement, that you can't see what is wrong in today's Australia. But your insults and wrong assumptions won't silence me. It is not ENVY to want equity and social health and to suggest that those who have benefited most from the resources of this nation - both natural and economic - should contribute fairly to the cost of attaining it. It is actually just common sense. And supported by memories of a very much healthier society back when taxes on the well-off were very much higher than today, and nobody much was complaining, because our society hadn't yet lost its soul.
    Knows-a-lot
    15th May 2018
    11:58am
    Our Rightard Federal government needs to crack down on its own debt.
    johnp
    15th May 2018
    12:10pm
    I suggest we re-phrase and have a “pollie-debt recovery scheme” as follows

    Budget anticipated savings of $300 million from the “pollie-debt recovery scheme” crackdown program,
    Because, after all, they too are reliant on welfare from the taxpayer. This may return the integrity of the “pollies welfare system”
    This would deliver multiple benefits such as reducing existing large costs borne by the taxpayer for abuse of the system by the pollies (cos they can in regard to travel and other perks etc etc). And the cost of administering. Lets target the pollies as they are also taxpayer welfare recipients and deduct from their regular payment until the debt is paid.
    Pollies already have outstanding indictable criminal offences so should have their payment suspended until cleared, and cancelled thereafter where they remain outstanding.
    What do you think of these efforts to recover debt? They just attacking those that can afford it the most
    Needy
    15th May 2018
    12:15pm
    Good idea.
    ancal
    15th May 2018
    4:59pm
    johnp, You are spot on there with your comments. It is said that people who lie about or incorrectly give Centrelink information should be chastised for lying, but they have no proof it is a lie. Politicians who lie seem to be privileged and get off scot free. Keenan said that the average wait for Human Services is 16 minutes on the phone. That is incorrect, I cannot say it is a lie, but it is! When I came out of hospital after I had spinal op I tried ringing them and I waited over an hour on the line until the battery in my mobile phone went flat. So we are not all getting treated the same, so the pollies have to answer.
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    17th May 2018
    1:08pm
    Ancal, they have proof it's a lie. It's said by a poor person defending an accusation by the privileged, therefore it's automatically a lie. If said by a rich person, of course it would be truthful. Only poor people lie, don't they?

    What a stinking vile society we live in!
    HS
    15th May 2018
    12:18pm
    So, I hope this time round they will not accuse another 20,000 innocent welfare recipients.

    “All Australian government employees have a duty of care to the public when they are performing their duties,” he said.

    “If Centrelink has been negligent, or breached their duty to exercise reasonable care in the way they’re calculating these amounts, then they could be sued.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/jan/10/centrelink-crisis-people-targeted-with-inaccurate-debts-may-be-able-to-sue
    Not a Bludger
    15th May 2018
    12:59pm
    Boo Hoo all you moaners and groaners who seem to think that taxpayers’ money is yours for free and by right.
    But no - it is a privilege which should be respected not rorted.
    Rorters and cheats should be forced to repay, be fined, be jailed if necessary and have all payments to them stopped.
    Needy
    15th May 2018
    1:04pm
    You don’t know what you are talking about.
    It is a fact, not privilege, and should be respected.
    Stop trying to stir the pot.
    johnp
    15th May 2018
    1:10pm
    Agree and does that include the pollie rorters and cheats ??
    Anonymous
    15th May 2018
    1:12pm
    A blanket statement Not a Bludger - my wife is repaying a CentreLink 'debt' over a supposed over payment of OAP dating back to 2015. I was working (casually) at the time, and CentreLink failed to advise us that I should have been reporting my income - which is fair enough. They undertook a calculation, after I supplied all relevant pay slips, and came up with an overpayment figure of in excess of $7000. I have consistently challenged this calculation, but despite repeated request they have never produced their rationale. I would accept a figure of up to $5000, but there was no way it could be as high as CentreLink calculated, especially as we were overseas for a period of six weeks of the period affected. So my complaint is that they make the rules, and remain unaccountable for their decisions. We never set out to defraud the Commonwealth - we supplied all information as and when requested, but ran foul of the system because we didn't know, what we were apparently supposed to know. I have to confess that CentreLink payment/reporting guidelines are not on my high priority reading list.
    TREBOR
    15th May 2018
    1:38pm
    Before I moved up here, I was working and never had one iota of issue with reporting my income. It was, as usual estimated in advance as well... but I note The Good Colonel did not refund to me any overpayment by me.
    ancal
    15th May 2018
    5:02pm
    Oh boy, what a comment!! You sound like a happy chappy
    ancal
    15th May 2018
    5:58pm
    I agree with you there Needy. I have done taxation for over 30 years and what he said there is crap!

    15th May 2018
    1:28pm
    Agree
    Make them pay it back quickly and introduce fines for those who don’t and those who blatantly lied to get the benefits
    They are nothing more than criminals
    johnp
    15th May 2018
    1:30pm
    Including the pollies with all their rorts !
    TREBOR
    15th May 2018
    1:41pm
    There is a tiny minority who deliberately defraud - but the majority are simple errors or, as has been pointed out, flaws in the way The Good Colonel looks at income.

    We all know (wink, wink) that The Good Colonel makes up the rules to suit himself - such as the amount a person is 'deemed ' to be receiving from a bank account (nudge, nudge) which is always at a higher percentage than the actual account receives... (wink, wink, nudge, nudge)...

    Great when you are all three of a team in the competition and the referees and the rule makers....
    Chris B T
    15th May 2018
    2:34pm
    Dose this Include Illegal sitting pollies that falsely received payments.
    That is Pay, Allowances,Travel etc all the while falsely Claiming these and other payments.
    If you go after one group, then don't recover the illegal pollies procurements just Wrong. Tax Payers Money As Well.
    Adrianus
    16th May 2018
    5:01pm
    Raphael, you make sense, the crooks should be brought to justice regardless of their bank balance.
    Not around here though, Labor supporters think its ok to rob the rich.
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    16th May 2018
    8:19pm
    You must be joking, Adrianus! It's the rich robbing the poor. Goodness, tax avoidance is even seen as noble and meritous. No penalties for corrupt business leaders, let alone dishonest politicians. But bash the poor pensioner who makes a mistake! And while we are talking about robbery - remember that the rich get massive superannuation tax concessions to fund a lavish retirement, despite the fact that they would never need a pension - but the poor get sweet bugger all, and often actually pay MORE tax on their super than on their wages, and then are abused for needing a pension in old age and told pensions aren't affordable, while superannuation tax concessions to the rich cost far more!
    Old Man
    15th May 2018
    3:34pm
    This topic has been done to death. It has been dealt with in this forum many times before and produces the same result. There are some who agree and some who don't and I am one who agrees. My reason is that the money being sought is either an overpayment, or an outright attempt to defraud the government. (For government, read taxpayers, i.e. you and me.)

    In this forum we have read that executives of large organisations who have broken no laws but have overseen unethical practices should be gaoled yet the little guy who has broken the law and has money that is not rightfully theirs should keep the money and be left alone. Bit of a double standard.
    ancal
    15th May 2018
    5:08pm
    Old Man, Is your statement a lawful one or just your opinion?
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    16th May 2018
    7:17am
    And conversely in our society we see politicians and executives of large organizations get away with unethical and dishonest conduct and ripping off the public, but that's okay. Just as long as we jail the poor Centrelink recipient who makes a mistake.
    ancal
    15th May 2018
    4:29pm
    I'm afraid Michael Keenan is somewhat out of touch with what he is saying. Older people do not always have computers or iPad. I live in a black spot for internet connections but Telstra has come to the door last week and said we can get NBN in 4 months time. I work with a WI-FI now with my speed now at 0.79. I have tried the Mygov site and it drops out, so I have to go to Centrelink office and site in the movie stalls for up to an hour at times. I am handicapped and 79 years old. Some old people are getting very distressed by some statements and will add to older people not caring anymore.
    Needy
    15th May 2018
    7:01pm
    How old is older? Older people do have computers and ipads. They go to seniors tafe courses and learn how to use them and if they have children and grand children they learn from them. Grand children love to help grand parents and they are very good teachers because they teach them the latest things.
    NBN is wonderful especially satellite.
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    16th May 2018
    8:21pm
    Needy, older people do have access to computers etc. but Ancal is right. Many don't. Many struggle with technology. Some don't have children or grandchildren or don't see much of them and can't rely on them for help. One of the problems of our society is policy based on assumptions and generalizations, ignoring the reality that we don't all fit neatly in boxes. Ignoring the challenges faced by people like Ancal is elder abuse.
    Adrianus
    17th May 2018
    3:23pm
    ancal, have you tried contacting the Salvation Army's Financial officer?

    I'm not exactly sure what their role is but they may be able to help?
    Marian
    15th May 2018
    7:48pm
    The Governments is corrupt all system the never investigate crime & corruption in the all ministerial office Human Services Centrelink the is crime against Untainted nation International law & corrupt Human Services legal departments solicitors as Gabrielle Doyle Hank were is fabricate evidence give to Social worker in the departments the all fabricate documents that is in all centrelink office
    Marian
    16th May 2018
    8:17am
    The mr & minister Keenan is rude corrupt arrogant whith not human connection is rascist & lie fabricate all pension documents the rude person never replay on one send email The is gangrene on the Federal parliament & paranoia mentally sick scheme of the system
    GregH
    16th May 2018
    1:20pm
    The worst thing about Centrelink demanding repayment of any error by them or recipients is that when you appeal the decision, they get the person who made the original decision to review the decision.

    That means the person who made the original mistake reviews his/her own decision!! and makes the same error AGAIN. I know of no other business or board that does this. In companies I worked for, the person's supervisor reviews the decision!

    I had an issue where they reckoned I had been overpaid and they worked out I owed them over $7000. No matter that I followed exactly their instructions in the first place. Even though I complained, appealed and took it to the Minister, they just decided on a repayment figure and withheld it out of my pension until the debt was repaid - didn't even wait until the appeal was decided upon.
    johnp
    16th May 2018
    1:38pm
    I could imagine someone starving with nothing to eat during that period "they just decided on a repayment figure and withheld it out of my pension until the debt was repaid - didn't even wait until the appeal was decided upon"
    hope that wasnt the case for yourself ?
    GregH
    16th May 2018
    7:55pm
    I didn't starve but I was scavenging wood off the side of the road in order to have heat in winter. I was paying rent of $680 a fortnight out of my pension of $720 a fortnight so no electricity, gas, insurance, car or fuel. I received meals on wheels from my local council who allowed me to run up a bill of over $1000 and then they wiped the debt. Otherwise, I would have not been able to eat on $20 a week. Mind you, meals on wheels is only one meal a day. Then there is the $40 a week for my medications until the Safety Net kicks in. I know of many other pensioners (Age & Disability) who were worse off than me.
    George
    16th May 2018
    9:33pm
    GregH, really disappointed you had to go through with such torture in this so-called advanced country where they should be simply handing out Universal Pension given the massive riches of resources we have!

    Different rules for lying politicians though - even the Illegal politicians elected after lying on their job applications about their dual citizenship status, are not being asked to return the money they gained through deception! NO leadership!

    All Older Australians MUST vote Liberals, Labor & Greens OUT by voting AGAINST the sitting leeches - by putting them LAST in preferences.
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    16th May 2018
    4:37pm
    And when the debt is from the Government to a pensioner... an entirely different scenario. An elderly lady who did not understand how to enforce her rights was owed over $80,000 after the government failed to pay her pension entitlements for over a decade. When the error was detected by relatives, the lady was paid, but without interest or compensation of any kind. And it took months to process the payment.

    It was a long time ago, but I was the victim of an ATO mistake. It took two years to correct and I had to invest hundreds of dollars contesting. I had to pay the incorrectly demanded amount before I could contest. When the mistake was finally acknowledged, the ATO refunded exactly the amount I had claimed, plus the amount I had been wrongfully forced to pay 2 years earlier, with not one cent of interest or compensation. Two years of inflation had eroded the value of the refund and I had paid interest at personal loan rates on the amount I had to pay the ATO due to its error, but I got NOTHING by way of compensation.

    The government should be consistent. If Centrelink recipients who err are to be charged interest, then the government should pay the exact same rate of interest to anyone who is wrongly underpaid. And there should be an independent review body to handle disputes and appeals, totally removed from the agency and employees making the original assessment.
    Marian
    16th May 2018
    10:38pm
    Were the all problems is corrupt Governments minister the all A.P.S. abuse tax system claime fake expenses corruption in A.A.T. Human services & all centrelink system were is not any control the all abuse steeling money from the who pay all life to have pension 7 services who is also fake as is fake the all Australian International pensions Agriments the is abuse all Rights Australian Citizence who can afford life in the on Country were the pay tax & work
    Radish
    18th May 2018
    5:21pm
    How about this mob of new comers to this country who have apparently ripped off $460,000 of taxpayers money (via Centrelink).

    Now they are under investigation. If guilty I hope they take every cent off them that they have taken from taxpayers.

    http://www.news.com.au/finance/money/wealth/inside-the-investigation-targeting-narre-warren-homeowners-from-wartorn-south-sudan/news-story/3985218b1b9f39998424eebc70464dd1
    GrayComputing
    20th May 2018
    7:35am
    It is time for all of us to rant at our PMs to take action for human decency and a huge stress reduction for pensioners

    NO ASSET TEST FOR A PENSION EVERV AGAIN!
    A pension is not welfare.

    Most economist say we will save taxpayers money by dropping asset testing because of the massive overheads cost in running Centrelink and the 10,000 conflicting rules
    Even poorer New Zealand has a NO ASSET pension so it is cheaper and user friendly,

    Do retired and retiring people really look forward and want 100++ visits to/from Centrelink and be part of 3 million waiting queues and lost calls?

    Does your MP really like being part of the system that allows this indirect abuse of the elderly?

    This abuse is actually sponsored by our government and forced down to Centrelink and borders on a criminal act.

    Why do MPs normally compassionate persons let this Centrelink abuse happen at taxpayers’ expense?

    Some opposition and independent MPs stand to lose their chance at being part of the needed government changes

    We all need to tell our MP that these criminal asset tests for a pension must be dropped now.
    NO ASSET TEST FOR A PENSION EVER AGAIN!
    Nerk
    26th May 2018
    1:35pm
    Act dumb and take paper work to centreline to be filled out as you don't understand, let their system strangle itself.
    ancal
    26th May 2018
    2:36pm
    Nerk, The trouble is they are dumber than we are. I will never vote for the two top parties anymore, lets give the others a go.


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