1st Jun 2016

Is Centrelink checking your bank account?

Is Centrelink checking your bank account?
Debbie McTaggart

Irene asked us to settle an argument on whether Centrelink has the power to check your bank account.

Q. Irene
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.  There are many anecdotal stories on whether Centrelink can and does check bank accounts and the upshot is that 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. This information will be sent in an encrypted form to specialised staff, who will review them.

Centrelink does not have the ability to remove funds from your account; however, it does have several means by which it can recoup overpayments

  • Centrelink will issue an Account Payable letter explaining how much is owed, why it’s owed, when it’s due and how it can be repaid.
  • If you do not make repayments, Centrelink can reduce your income support payment by 15 per cent. If you have additional income, the amount can be more than 15 per cent.
  • Crentlink can also engage the services of a debt collection agency if you do not meet the repayment schedule.
  • It can refer your case to its solicitors for legal action.
  • In extreme cases, it can issues a garnishee on your wages, tax return, income and assets or money held in a bank account. This means an amount is recovered and paid to Centrelink.

 

Centrelink requires details of your income and assets to determine your eligibility for income support and at which rate it should be paid. You will need to advise Centrelink of balance of your bank account, investments, assets you hold and any additional income you earn. In order to streamline the assessment process, Centrelink applies a deeming rate to your investments. This means that you do not have to advise every time your bank account balance or investment returns change – it will simply apply a standard percentage to your total investments to determine an average income return.

However, if your circumstances change, for example you receive lump sum payment, you purchase an asset or your relationship status changes, you will need to advise Centrelink immediately.

Finally, with the increased use of social media, those committing benefit fraud are more likely to be caught. Those in a relationship who claim to be single in order to receive higher benefit payment, only to post the news of a happy even such as a wedding or birth of a child on Facebook, could find themselves receiving a visit from Taskforce Integrity. This taskforce last year netted $2.2 million in Commonwealth debts under a pilot program to identify fraudulent claims and has now been expanded.

You can find out more about Centrelink’s privacy policy by visiting HumanServices.gov.au

Related articles:

Centrelink assessment of inheritance

Centrelink share valuation








COMMENTS

To make a comment, please register or login
Nan Norma
24th Aug 2012
2:16pm
I few years ago I opened a bank account for my eight year grandson. The next I knew Centralink was ringing to ask me why I hadn't declared the new bank account. I told them it was for my grandson but then was told as long as I was in a position to withdraw money from it, it was counted as mine. As soon as I was able I took my grandson to the bank and opened another account for him. This time, although I can move maney around etc I can't withdraw. All the paperwork comes to me and hold the keycard. When he is 18 I will hand it over to him.
Blossom
22nd Aug 2015
11:17am
Children are only allowed to earn so much interest before they have to pay tax on it.
I don't know the amount though. It may be advisable to check with ATO.
Horizon
25th Sep 2015
10:09am
Blossom and Nan Norma
the amount child under 18 can earn from bank interest is $416 per year
This total does not include any job they might have - employment being assess under normal rules $18,000 tax free
Precious 1
2nd Feb 2016
10:51pm
Hi Nan...similar to me although they never looked at as I draw out when I need to and only small amount saving.....maybe this drawing out to spend here or on our bills is being overlooked...and the rents going up now 25 dollars a fortnight to add to the budgeting....I already staying home more than ever and beginning to feel depressed....Why doesn't someone suggest two sharing accommodation like they do in Holland and some other coun tries...company is all we want.....without the rents increasing.....
Rae
20th Jun 2016
2:34pm
Actually Precious1 an introduction agency that screens and manages security for shared housing for over 60s would be a great idea.

There would have to be properly designed leases etc like younger share house tenants have but I think it would help with costs and provide company to people with little money to waste.
Misterpeter
24th Aug 2012
2:54pm
Centrelink informed me about a account which was opened in my name using all my particulars after I had lost my wallet yet it had been returned as I thought complete less cash And at the same time about work income being paid into the particular newly opened account.
I contacted the small bank who was VERY helpfull the Police a little less helpfull and Centrelink only wanted someone [anyone] to pay them so have reduced our pension to get this money.
I am not sure if we were lucky or unlucky we never got any and the bank stopped and altered the account details at the request of the police I think the only people to gain were the crooks and Centrelink
At least you know someone is looking over you
Nan Norma
24th Aug 2012
3:05pm
Once on centrelink payments all privacy is lost, thats why there are many different payments- its to get everybody under centrelink's umbrella. But people don't realize that.
fpbsix
24th Aug 2012
5:05pm
wow , i didnt know any of that Nan , actually its a bit scary , & the talk about the new card there trying out at the present , I am very careful with my old aged pension, having my rates & all insurances coming out every month , but REALLY , it should be our own business , as we paid out taxes while we worked hard & reared our children ,
Bonny
21st Jul 2015
11:47am
Now you know why I'm so glad I have nothing to do with Centrelink.
ex PS
24th Jun 2016
4:20pm
Totally agree with Bonny.
Thai Traveller
24th Aug 2012
4:47pm
I always know when my bank has paid interest to my small fixed term deposit. I get notification immediately from Centrelink telling me to declare all income!
Nan Norma
24th Aug 2012
4:55pm
someones over zealous. Sounds a bit like bullying to me.
Jude
25th Aug 2012
7:01am
I find it confusing as to what you actually have to let Centrelink know. With term deposits Centrelink has already worked out the deeming rate and adjusted a pension accordingly, so if you have to declare the income from the interest then surely that's double dipping.
Ruby
26th Jun 2015
10:54am
Centrelink only checks if the interest is rolled over. As you are then increasing your cash assets. I draw the interest and spend it. That's why I don't have any problems with Centrelink.

I find it pays to keep them informed.
Beemee
24th Aug 2012
4:59pm
I don't have any problems with Centrelink at all. Why? because I am faster on the draw than they are.
I phone them as soon as my account balance changes, up or down and I phone them on the day it does. They always say that I have a leeway of $1,000 before I have to declare it, but not on your life, I am on them like a tack and even when its a lousy $50.00
I am up to Update #25 now so you can guess my phone calls are very frequent.
Nan Norma
24th Aug 2012
5:17pm
Actually its time they changed that $1000 to at least $1500. I mean if you have a few bills due all at once you could in informing them one week and a week later your down more than $1000. I don't think there's really any need to phone them every time you're up a few dollars. I was told by centrelink to use my commonsense.
Nan Norma
25th Aug 2012
8:41am
no you don't need to inform when you spend $1000, only if you want your details updated.
Rainey
21st Dec 2015
3:37pm
I informed them my savings had reduced after a holiday and they wrote to me and said that as my savings had increased they were reducing my pension. I checked on my profile and found someone had reversed the change I'd made four weeks earlier and restored the old balance incorrectly! I've also been trying since April to convince them that a business we had years ago no longer exists but they are still attributing a value to it and saying it generates income. Up to 27 letters, three phone calls and 1 personal visit and STILL can't get the message across. Taking it to the local member now with a request she intervene and get the Minister to sort it out if necessary.
Sundays
20th Jun 2016
2:27pm
We were advised last year, that they only wanted to know of bank account changes of $2000. We have updated online accordingly and the change to the pension has been timely and correct.
Oldie@83
24th Aug 2012
5:43pm
I informed Centrelink when I upgraded my car thereby increasing my assets. Without any warning or questions. Within about two weeks I received a letter from them telling me my pension had been stopped as I now had $11,000,000 plus (eleven million) in my account earning over $58,000 Plus per year. I emailed them immediately on a Friday evening and Saturday Night I received a phone call from them regretting the error and my age pension had been restored. Quick work to restore (Saturday night) bless them. I followed it up at the Office on the following Monday.Two weeks later I received a new pension card in the mail identical to the one I have. My concern is; if it had happened to someone on an extended holiday, diminished faculties or such they would of lost all medical allowance etc without realising until they were in trouble.
chrissy
24th Aug 2012
5:47pm
I think that you are all very naive if you think that centrelink do not cross reference.
Nan Norma
24th Aug 2012
6:21pm
We don't think that.
TREBOR
20th Jun 2016
6:52pm
They've done so for ages now. I've filed tax returns up to this year, and the ATO can automatically pre-fill in everything I've earned and even interest from bank accounts.

I don't have to do a thing - and Centrelink cross references the same database.

That's why I warn all our tax avoiders here that the tock is clicking for them.... if you are getting hidden money and it touches an account... guard yourself for true.
Nan Norma
24th Aug 2012
6:23pm
You really do have to keep an eye on things. Centrelink does get it wrong sometimes. (The staff do make mistakes)
Abbie C:
25th Aug 2012
2:31am
I have received a pension since my early sixties and am raising an orphaned grandchild. Centrelink has made it possible for me to give him a reasonable standard of living and although I have to watch my expenditure, he has most of the things that other children have. Without Centrelink and the good fortune to be born into this marvellous country, I can't imagine what would have happened to my grandson (or to me). They can check my bank balance whenever they want so far as I'm concerned. I'm just very grateful to receive the assistance. If we have nothing to hide, it shouldn''t be a problem.
Nan Norma
25th Aug 2012
8:50am
I agree Centrelnik can be a blessing but for those people who have worked and paid tax all their lives, to have to report to a stranger everything they own, is a bit, like having big brother watching over you. In England, I believe, everyone gets a aged pension no matter how much money they have, after that they can get another pension through work, like superanuation. Her they cound your super and take it of your pension.
Virginia
18th Feb 2015
5:26pm
Thankyou I also think Centre link is excellent in this country. I get tired of all the wingeing about them. I am just an ordinary pensioner who worked saved and gets a part pension.
marls
20th Jun 2016
3:58pm
Nan Norma
we are the only country in the world that means tests the aged pension. my mother lives overseas and gets an australian pension, my fathers pension and her pension from current govt, as he is deceased, and a part pension from belgium as my father was in the war.
Peaceful
25th Aug 2012
11:30am
Nan Norma - yes, not just in ENGLAND but in the UK every citizen is entitled to a State [Age] Pension, as far as I know, irrespective of assets - unlike here, where Centrelink PTY LTD ['Big Brother', right enough, by the way] would seem to rather have people out on the streets!! Even after they make a mistake with payments - they want to claw it back at $50 - $60 a fortnight!! That has happened to me recently - and in the past. How one is supposed to survive anyway on the pittance that is paid on Newstart and the like, never mind cope with such a large deduction - absolutely beggars belief! Like Jude above - I prefer to use mail as the phonelines are usually so busy you would get a stiff/sore neck from holding on too long. However in my experience, they rarely, if ever respond to my letters - or, when you do get a letter, it is a 'bog-standard' computer-generated one, so your questions continue to go unanswered - and your frustration is consequently further increased. They are now part of 'Human Services' what a joke that is - as there is certainly no evidence of an ounce of humanity in the way they deal with us human beings! I am over them all - and their abilty to intrude on people's personal affairs in this way smacks very much of a 'Big Brother' approach.
Hillbillypete
25th Aug 2012
12:55pm
I can see sombody else has woken up to this BIG brother, best thing anybody can do is TELL THEM NOTHING! if you can.
Nan Norma
25th Aug 2012
1:08pm
A little while ago I remember centrelink telling all the working mothers that if they paid a person, say a grandmother or aunt for babysitting while they worked, they would get a tax duduction or something like that. I could just see all the mums rushing out to declare the payments they made, oblivious to the fact centrelink would then be on to the grandmothers for not declaring their baby sitting earnings.
Blossom
5th Apr 2014
8:48am
Nan Norma,
From my understanding the babysitter has to give the parent a receipt.
I believe you can only claim % of fee charged. They probably check if the carer is on a pension of any type too.
marls
26th Oct 2015
9:17pm
peaceful
my mother lives in Italy and receiving an Australian pension as she worked here for over 20yrs. in Europe the age pension is not means tested like Australia, we are the only country that does. my mother gets aussie pension, Italian pension, my deceased fathers Italian pension and a small pension from Belgium as my father was in the war.
Precious 1
2nd Feb 2016
11:04pm
Yes Peaceful three pensions in UK and look at Italy then..Now there are literally billions pounds sterling being made with having the Royals there...and another moneyspinner it was on the TV the other night how much was made from other areas...In Australia it will be many years to build up that kind of country with people all working or businesses paying the proper income taxes..undfortunately some who come here are born crooks and somehow they all seem to get away with it ...just like being politically correct in what we say in case we get a smacked wrist lolol
Peaceful
25th Aug 2012
2:58pm
I ought to have said that the UK Age Pension System is based on what one has contributed via the National Insurance Scheme over their working life, and so the actual amount each person will receive will vary somewhat. Wives who have never worked or maybe only for a few years 0r part time etc will still get a Pension based on the husband's contributions. Some of that may have changed, though, over the last few years. And HillBilly Pete - I have not just woken up to this fact - I suggest that you check out the PTY LTD aspect of C/link - they are registered as such with ASIC!
And Nan Norma - your point about the Grandparents potentially being targetted by Centrelink to 'cough up', if they were being paid to do a bit of babysitting to help out - is not so far from the truth, I fear!
As I said above - C/link staff would apparently rather have us all out in the street!
Is it any wonder that some people are 'working on the side' and still claiming benefits?
Not, I hasten to add, that I am doing so - in case C/link satff are reading these posts - and I really hope that they are - a well as the politicians who also ought to know how disgruntled Autsralians are with their treament .
Nan Norma
25th Aug 2012
5:32pm
When a single aged pensioner is paying $500 a fortnight rent how are they supposed to survive on what's left. If they have the oppertunity to earn a few dollars they will.
Pardelope
30th Aug 2012
3:10pm
Centrelink staff would NOT like us all out on the street, as they too will get old or have relatives who need assistance. The staff are ordinary, lower paid workers (the "fat cats" do not have day-to-day contact with the public). Staff are bound by complex laws and rules imposed by various Commonwealth Federal Governments. They are required to attempt the (very difficult) task of weeding out the greedy, lazy, and dishonest who reduce the amount of "pie" available for the truly needy.

Some countries provide pensions only to people who have been in the workforce for a number of years. This often left out women who worked in the home as mothers or carers - and the disabled. A lot of people are left out.

Some countries provide no pensions at all. It is left to families to support their elderly parents or the disabled. This is largely why people in these countries have forced marriages and large numbers of kids (to ensure an ongoing support network). People who have no children or relatives willing or able to support them, end up living and dying on the streets.

Pensions and benefits in Australia were brought in to prevent citizens living and dying on the streets. They were not dependent upon having been in the paid workforce - or having been married to such a person. They are based on need - and are designed to provide basic support. The level of support is often lower than one would wish, but I think the concept has much to be said for it.

Yes, it would be nice if every Australian (poor, lazy, rich, greedy, unlucky, lucky, healthy, unhealthy) received a pension when they hit a certain age - but this is something which we citizens need to lobby our politicians to obtain - if our future economy and taxpayers will support it.
Horizon
25th Sep 2015
10:17am
re Centrelink PTY LTD - In the interests of accuracy

a quick search of the ASIC company names website shows that Centrelink pty ltd changed it name to EPICENTRE TRADING PTY LTD
This company is NOT Centrelink which is part of Dept Human Services

I believe that you are confusing the ASIC website with the Australian Business Register which requires all ENTITIES carrying on and ENTERPRISE to be have and ABN 29 468 422 437 Department of Human Services trading as Centrelink
if it was a PTY LTD company then the 468 422 437 would be an ACN which it isn't
Peaceful
25th Aug 2012
7:23pm
Of course, Nan Norma, I would not 'blame' anyone for trying to earn a litle bit to have some kind of life - not merely an 'existence' - that's all that our Politicians and C/link seem to think we are worth!
I'm single, aged 64, and trying to set up a smal business on 'NEIS' funding [only a little bit more than Newstart], and my mortgage payment is far more than that - not to mention all the usual Utility bills, food, petrol, etc..
Nan Norma
25th Aug 2012
7:29pm
I know its terrible isn't it. I really do think centrelink should let people earn a bit more before they start cutting the pension. It wouldn't cost them anything. They have taken so many things away. Free prescriptions were a bit help to people.
Rae
20th Jun 2016
2:56pm
I think you need to shop around for those prescriptions. I use one for travel in the tropics. Last October I paid $6.99 and last week $20.99.

On checking a mistake had been made and it should have been $8.20.

The discount chemists are worth the effort.

Still a hefty % rise due to the wonderful free trade deal Robb organised. He will never need to worry about being able to afford medicine though will he?
Grasshopper
25th Aug 2012
7:36pm
I concur with Abbie C above. Centrelink saved my bacon when I was committed to looking after an aged parent. Other Qango's also helped with care and respite (for my parent)and respite (for me). I asked for no more and no less than what I was entitled within the parameters and guidelines. If it is a requirement to detail my assets to obtain a benefit, then I'm willing to do so.

We are one of the most over-socialised country in the world in all benefit areas, be it unemplyment, aged pension, single, married, family or non family.allowances etc.

Get real folks. Any payment you get from Centrelink is voluntary on your part. It is not a requirement, but an entitlement. If you don't like supplying details or allowing a government department access to your "private" information, then don't bother applying for a benefit. And don't come back with the old cliche "I worked all my life and paid taxes, so I deserve something back in retirement" (or other current circumstances).
Nan Norma
25th Aug 2012
10:38pm
Ozman As I have said before Centrelink wants everybody under their umbrella then they know what we've all got. Only the well -off can excape.
The goverment started a age pension tax back in the 40's. So why should people see it as a gift when they have acually paid for it.
Pepe La Pew(aka Rad)
5th Jan 2015
10:22am
If everyone had paid for a pension via their weekly salary we would all get it.

We did not.

The taxes we paid in our working life went into paying for roads, health, etc etc.

Now, there is compulsory superannation that all in the workforce pay with the idea that most people in the future will be fully funded in their retirement or will just get a top up from the government. Only those who really need it will get a full pension.

The idea is to get people to look after themselves.
Pepe La Pew(aka Rad)
5th Jan 2015
10:24am
If everyone had paid for a pension via their weekly salary we would all get it.

We did not.

The taxes we paid in our working life went into paying for roads, health, etc etc.

Now, there is compulsory superannation that all in the workforce pay with the idea that most people in the future will be fully funded in their retirement or will just get a top up from the government. Only those who really need it will get a full pension.


The idea is to get people to look after themselves.

Many people who are fully self funded pay tax as well as the medicare levy. They are saving the government a great deal of money by supporting themselves.
Rainey
21st Dec 2015
3:44pm
Actually, Radish, we DID pay for a pension via a tax levy specifically designated for that purpose, and a large fund accumulated as a result, but Fraser misappropriated the money and put it back into consolidated revenue.

If the government now wants people to pay into superannuation to provide for their retirement, it might be a good idea to stop punishing people harshly for saving and start offering some incentive. Taking at least $1.28 for every dollar saved over a relatively conservative threshold - and from people who haven't nearly enough to be completely self sufficient - is nothing short of total idiocy and grossly irresponsible. Who will save when the penalty is so harsh? Many retirees are already planning big spend-ups to avoid this unfair punishment for being hard working and frugal in earlier life.
niemakawa
20th Jun 2016
3:07pm
I do not agree. Once a person reaches pension age then they are ENTITLED to an age pension, regardless of assets/income. Yes I deserve my pension. Why should taxpayers, then, pay for you to look after your Kin. That should be your responsibility. So you are entitled to receive assistance, double standards methinks.
TREBOR
20th Jun 2016
7:01pm
Pepe (supreme face palm)... there has been a component of income tax contributed towards social security from as long ago as the 1940's and even further. The fact that this contribution has been hidden in 'consolidated revenue' for political purposes (read legitimised theft) has no bearing on the fact that money is still there and it is the Right of every Australian to receive a pension from it.

You need to keep up with the antics and machinations of politicians here....
Grasshopper
26th Aug 2012
12:04am
Nan

People these days don't pay for their Age Pension. The Age Pension was started well before the 40's when all working people were required to pay an extra 1.5% taxation. This was placed into a separate govt account, to be meted out when the worker reached 65, as Aged Pension. The govt eventually (probably during WWII) took all that money and placed it into consolidated revenue. They then took on the responsibility of paying the Aged Pension from govt coffers. As for people seeing it as a gift - we seem to be arguing the same point.

I disagree that Centrelink wants everybody under their umbrella. They are merely a govt dept. which works under the direction of the govt to issue and enforce their policies. If anything the govt is the Big Brother. Don't forget the other departments working to gather information for the govt; Taxation and Medicare to name two. It's an unfortunate fact of life that the govt has to have certain information from us to enable it to operate its services and issue correct payments.

Re: the rich escaping asset reporting (information giving). If a person is rich enough to be a self funded retiree, they still have to supply information for taxation purposes.
TREBOR
20th Jun 2016
7:04pm
I find most Colonel C'Link staff, as part timers etc, more than happy to help out with getting Entitlements (non ™) from the government. I have a sneaking suspicion that many of them are more than aware they are but one letter away from being out the door themselves, especially with this current government and its savage culling of public servants.

Of course, if you go in with an attitude and bite their bums...... you'll get as little as possible...
Nan Norma
26th Aug 2012
10:22am
You are quite right, the age pension began much earlier than the 1940's. But a tax for disability and age pensions did start in the 1940's. That money was eventualy put in to consolidated revenue . But did the tax cease, no. Eventually everybood forgot they were paying that tax. But I stand by what I say, that the goverment, through centrelink wants to get everybody under an umbrella. They keep introducing new welfare payments in return for all your information. I think we have come to the state where lower income people can't manage anymore with out some kind of welfare payment. Whose fault is that???
Grasshopper
26th Aug 2012
1:20pm
From the introduction of the Aged and Invalid Pensions in 1909 - see link http://www.skwirk.com.au/p-c_s-14_u-127_t-352_c-1220/invalid-and-old-age-pension-schemes/nsw/history/australia-to-1914/social-legislation-1901-1914
Australians have always had to qualify for their payment by a means and asset test. It is no different today to what it was then. What has changed are the various welfare payments we can now receive, which all require information to ensure you qualify for that payment. eg. Medical conditions for a Disability Pension, a carees illnesses for a Carers Allowance and Payment, proof of birth for baby bonuses. etc, etc. More government payments means more personal information is required.

Cross referencing between govt departments merely means a person doesn't have to duplicate certain information to various govt agencies. Having been employed in govt departments most of my working life, I can assure you, the unauthorised accessing of a clients personal particulars is the most serious of offences and is both a sackable and penal offence.

Re: whose fault it is that people can't manage without welfare. In my opinion, most times it is the fault of the person/family living outside their means. There are exceptions tho. In this technocratic world we are all too materialistic. Although hard at times, we all need to ensure that income exceeds expenditure, even if it means, going without, downsizing or sharing.
TREBOR
20th Jun 2016
7:16pm
Not welfare, Grasshopper - Social Security. And you lost me at your absurd generalisation of 'those who can't manage' must all be losers, bludgers and layabouts...

Who asked you?

Truly, Grasshopper, your education is slow..... meditate on your thoughts and arrive at truth...
Nan Norma
26th Aug 2012
1:34pm
I have no arguement with anyhting you've said. I do think there are too many payments. The huge baby bonus is one of them. The attitiude soon started where the young mothers saw it as a God given right to have that money and how dare they not give it to us in a lump sum.
Grasshopper
27th Aug 2012
12:58pm
baby bonus commonly referred to as The Plasma Allowance
rosemaryjune
29th Aug 2012
12:45pm
I know some have used part of the lump sum to buy the cot, a good cot mattress (some have basically no support in them), a good quality capsule/baby car seat - some leave a bit to be desired), a pram suitable for a newborn upwards and a highchair.. Not all good adjustable back etc. support in them. Also for tall people the handles of the cheap strollers are too short, resulting in parents/carers getting bad backs and/or shoulders from stooping. Even very basic baby clothing and essential equipment costs add up very quickly. Most babies grow out of clothing quickly and none of the basic necessary clothing is cheap considering the time it is worn even if you initially start with a larger size than really fits. Most Mothers wash every day or more clothing, blankets etc. would be needed. Even re-usable nappies are really expensive to buy now. Sometimes you can buy second-hand clothing from op shops but none sell highchairs -- I couldn't find one at any of the local charities in Adelaide and it is not legal to sell 2nd hand baby car seats. You shouldn't buy one unless you know the person and know that none of their vehicles have been involved in an accident no matter how minor. Maybe they should only be given part of the baby bonus as a lump sum, and then the rest on a fortnightly or monthly basis.
Grasshopper
29th Aug 2012
8:43pm
@ rosemaryjune. what a pleasure to read your comment and how far some have made the baby bonus extend. It's unfortunate the few create unfair labels for the many.
trood
20th Jun 2016
1:36pm
rosemaryjune, maybe they should not have paid a baby bonus at all! If you can't afford to buy all the stuff , feed, clothe, educate and afford child care don't bloody well breed!
Rae
20th Jun 2016
3:15pm
I'm afraid I don't agree with the baby bonus or childcare rebates either. It should not be up to taxpayers to subsidise workers or business wage bills.

The tax cuts went far enough without all this added largess in my opinion.
musicveg
21st Jun 2016
12:07am
I never got a baby bonus when I became a single parent 15 years ago and I managed somehow. Second hand items galore, yes even the car seat for my mums car to take him home, I did not have a car. I even borrowed things from friends for awhile, like a baby sling and then gave it back when my son out grew it. Mothers seem to want everything new these days, adding to the already large land fill.
Peaceful
26th Aug 2012
3:27pm
Making sweeeping statements that, "we are all too materialistic" - is neither true nor helpful! Like me, most of my friends are not materialistic, and are quite adept at being 'canny' with their money - cutting their coats according to their cloth etc. So once again, please don't lump everyone into the same category - we are all different in so many ways!
Nan Norma
26th Aug 2012
3:45pm
Peaceful, I know where OzMan is coming from, athough your right that not everyone is materialistic, he's right that many more people today are. I only have to look at my own children. The younger generation expect a lot more than mine did. A better standard of living even when it means going into more debt. But I expect every generation expects a better standard of living than the one before.
Grasshopper
26th Aug 2012
4:31pm
Iapolgise for the Royal "we". When typing above I was thinking of what we have in relation to our forebears. I too don't need the fashion labels, the brand new car, the latest gizmos. I agree with Nan about the younger generation and the expectation of a better standard of living.


.
JJ
27th Aug 2012
10:54am
You are both right. Many of our generation have worked all our lives, used our money wisely (like paying off our mortgages and never buying things we can't pay for with our own money). But there are others who have indulged themselves (and their children), never buckled down and bought their own homes, and otherwise frittered their incomes away. Likewise there are those who have had to struggle most of their lives with misfortune, illness and lack of opportunity; these people have reached retirement with very little in the way of security, and these are the ones for whom pension income is their lifeline.

The reason that Centrelink keeps such a close eye on us is because there are many who try to rip the system off, claiming entitlements to which they are not entitled by virtue of their assets or income. When you read about how enormous our social welfare bill is, you can understand why the government has to keep some semblance of control over it. When the pension system began, our life expectancy was such that there were not many years of receiving it for most people, for many there were none - often the wage-earner died before reaching retirement. Nowadays, we can look forward to something like 20 years in retirement if we enjoy reasonable health. That's a lot of years to be paid a pension for when you multiply it out. I believe we live in a very lucky country, and it's probably because we are so fortunate that our expectations are so high.
JJ
27th Aug 2012
11:08am
I just worked it out. In 20 years a single pensioner without any extra allowances would receive $361,000, a couple would receive $544,960 between them. That's at today's rates - of course adjustment for inflation etc will change those numbers over time, but the value would remain approximately the same. Multiply that by all the grey people in the community, the single parents, the unemployed, invalid and disabled. No wonder they have to make sure every dollar is justified!
Grasshopper
27th Aug 2012
1:32pm
well said and researched JJ. And we certainly do live in a lucky country.
Nan Norma
29th Aug 2012
12:53pm
No wonder everyone heads for Australia
Rae
20th Jun 2016
3:21pm
Exactly JJ which is why only those that really need welfare should be getting it.
marls
20th Jun 2016
4:14pm
JJ
politicians get that in a pension in only two years or less
TREBOR
20th Jun 2016
7:20pm
Social Security, people - not welfare. 'welfare' is getting a handout - Social Security is drawing against the funds contributed for the purpose by generations of Australians.

It's the politicians who've blown the bank - not those now needing their Entitlements (non ™), and that includes the 700,000+ trying to compete for 100,000 jobs that most likely will go to someone already in a job, since such a person is 'better'.

What a crock our politicians and their short-sighted and narrow-sighted supporters have made of our country.
Peaceful
27th Aug 2012
12:28pm
All well and good - BUT - how can the Pollies justify their exhorbitant recent pay rise - the second in a liitle over 2 months, I believe - not to mention all the PERKS they get, as well and the long-standing continuance of tax payers' funds that go to keep them very well off.......... and despite all this, some of them manage to 'Use and abuse the sytem' to their very great advantage. It all starts at the top - these are the people that set the scene for the biggest 'RORTS ' here!!!
Nan Norma
27th Aug 2012
3:09pm
Yes, some of the biggest rorters are amongst the politicians. I'd like to add a few lawyers and accountants.
Hillbillypete
27th Aug 2012
3:12pm
well said, I second that.
JJ
27th Aug 2012
4:35pm
That is true, and I agree that the pollies are in the main a greedy lot! There should be some means at our disposal to rein them in - well, I suppose there is at election time, although voting one out and another one in isn't going to make any difference to the main picture. But that wasn't the point in question here; it's the general population we are concerned with.
Nan Norma
27th Aug 2012
4:48pm
Yes, it comes down to pure greed. Maybe one day we might get a pollie with a conscience that will put a stop to it all. Sorry I think I fell a sleep for a moment.
marls
20th Jun 2016
4:16pm
totally agree
politiicans pure greed not only can they get a hugh pension but they can earn millions means testing does not apply to this greedy lot
TREBOR
20th Jun 2016
7:21pm
My new son-in-law is standing for the Senate... I'll try to guide him in politics... but he doesn't know this is me here or my other persona on another forum.....
TREBOR
20th Jun 2016
9:33pm
You expect our rulers to justify their pay rises? Good God, man.... that could startle the horses and lead to acts of insurrection in Grosvenor Square!
ex PS
24th Jun 2016
4:30pm
Maybe all politicians should have their bank accounts and financial dealings monitored and reported on through Centrelink.
Peaceful
27th Aug 2012
4:34pm
Yes - them,too, NN!!
Pardelope
28th Aug 2012
1:05am
Pensions and benefits in Australia were put in place to ensure that Australian citizens would not be forced into begging or starvation. They are based on NEED.

Unfortunately, many people try to obtain payments when they are not entitled - or they try to hide the level of need they are experiencing. It is therefore the duty of Centrelink staff to prevent these false claims i.e. protect the taxpayers and be able to provide services for ALL Australians.

It is essential to keep receipts - and records of expenditure reasons - in case you are queried about any large variations in your bank accounts. You need to be able to explain (for example) that you had to replace your car, hot water system, roof etc etc. It is definitely not necessary to advise them of minor changes every week. If you need to lodge a tax return, that is a good time to update (or confirm) your financial details with Centrelink.
Misterpeter
29th Aug 2012
1:13pm
If that is what they did there would be no or very little problem but they are not honest in the way they work and often take away from the wrong people in many cases over the years I have seen the poor starved out of their home and put onto the street by centrelink staff
I cannot see why it cannot work the same as the tax office where it has to be done by qualified staff [accountants]not just any fly by night office worker with a 2 day course
Nan Norma
29th Aug 2012
3:06pm
I was at the Centrelink office desk one day when the staff member had to ask another member of staff, what was the difference between a health care card and a pension card. And she was there to advise people.
Grasshopper
29th Aug 2012
8:21pm
@Misterpeter.

Your statement above is wrong in basis and fact and an insult to Centrelink staff. Let me assure you from personal knowledge (and not a wide sweeping erranous remark) that nobody is ever starved out of their home or put onto the street by Centrelink staff. They have no legal right or staff employed to do such a thing. There are checks and balances in place to ensure debts incurred by clients are both correct and legal to recoup. People are responsible for their actions. If a person knowingly or unknowingly supplies information and receives an incorrect payment, they are required to repay or may be repaid any difference of monies paid. Even then that person has a right to a number of avenues of appeal. The back of any Centrelink payment letter details a person's rights and responsibilities

Re: Cenrelink staff being "fly-by-night" office workers. That too is incorrect. Most Centrelink workers are long term employees. Again that knowledge is from personal experience.

Re: Your statement about work at the Tax Office having to be done by qualified accountants - wrong again. Some work may be done by qualified accountants, but the majority of tax employess are similar "fly-by-night" (to use your misnomer) workers whom Centrelink employ.. Please get your facts right.

@ Nan. It's a fact of life that no matter how much training an employee receives, when they enter the bactual workplace or a new dept, they are inexperienced in that field. I applaud the worker for asking the difference between the two cards. I could almost guarantee it would be a once-ever question if she received the right answer. By asking that question, she may well have saved future grief to her customer by not issuing an incorrect card.
Misterpeter
30th Aug 2012
10:04am
OzMan I have been on the pension now for close on 30 years, I was retired at 65 and everything I say above and MORE is totaly correct, And the appeal is a big CON, I know I had it happen, read my First letter, I new nothing about it even the police could not find the culprits yet I had to pay and was turned out of our flat [NO Money] So if you are a staff or ex and are insulted so be it Maybe when you get to see enough offices you will realise, even in the BOWEN office where the office girl put the wrong papers through the shreader and was told to just forget it I suppose you think that was a learning curve
MY FACTS ARE FROM LIFE EXPERIENCE 92 yrs And still learning
Grasshopper
30th Aug 2012
11:36am
@ misterpeter. I re-read your first post here. You were obviously a victim of identity theft. I read Centrelink contacted you of an (probably a duplicate) account in your name and it may have been the first you knew of the identity theft. From the numerous stroies in the press, it is very difficult to clear your name of any detriment resulting from identity theft eg. bad credit rating, debts incurred, monies paid etc. If the police couldn't find the culprits, Centrelink certainly wouldn't be have enough information to find a culprit either and clear your name. I don't know how far you went with the appeals process or what legal advice you obtained to clear your name of an improper benefit, but I reiterate that the Appeals process goes far beyond Centrelink offices.

My difficulty with your second post is that you tarred EVERY Centrelink worker with the same brush in one broad statement. I know numerous Centrelink staff who are as honest as the day is long, as well as being polite and empathetic to their customer's plight. There might be some bad apples in the barrel, but NOT every one.

The Centrelink Appeal process is NOT a big con. I know of Centrelink clients who have had their Appeal upheld. As I said previously, the appeals process goes beyond Centrelink and every person has the right to appeal to higher authority beyond Centrelink.

As for people shredding wrong documents. The only original documents Centrelink retains are the Centrelink application forms. Any personal documents are copies. Therefore, irrespective of shredding or not, Centrelink forms can be re-written and submitted and personal documents re-copied. Nextly, the information supplied in the shredded documents would have been entered into their computer system and readily retrieved with a few keystrokes.
Hillbillypete
30th Aug 2012
12:28pm
@Misterpeter. What you say is so right, they have put us through so much and for so long you would not believe it if I told you, they just hope you will just go away.
The times I have appealed I find you have to take it to the end, appeal the 3 times and in all cases for me I WON, so don’t just go away.
TREBOR
20th Jun 2016
7:24pm
Pay everyone retired a pension, tax income above that. That settles the pensioners.... nobody gets to rort. If you are retired you do not run/own a business..... or benefit from one.. without paying full tax.

That leaves only those unemployed and on DSP to cover.... not hard when Colonel C'Link has access to the bank accounts.... cash work a little hard but hey - the only people I know who've ever done that are the same ones who hate 'dole bludgers'.

Funny world we live in.
Peaceful
29th Aug 2012
5:23pm
Who, I wonder, could actually AFFORD to replace a roof, hot water system and/or a car on Newstart payments - which are less than the Aged Pension, I believe?
Nan Norma
29th Aug 2012
7:03pm
Newstart really isn't enough, but when you have a whole family all on newstart, which happens, plus collecting child payments too, then they can afford a lot of things.
Hillbillypete
29th Aug 2012
8:16pm
Good point there peacefull, we need a second hand car but no body will talk to us as we are on the pension, even though we own a house and a caravan and a second car.
Grasshopper
30th Aug 2012
11:43am
@Hillbillypete. Have you tried those loan companies that advertise on TV saying nobody's loan app will be rejected? I believe however, they charge high interest rates and their vehicles are overpriced.
TREBOR
20th Jun 2016
7:29pm
I'm on pension and got a loan from the Commonwealth to buy a car... not a huge one, but if you buy the right vehicle enough. My last three vehicles (about to sell one) were both bought on bank loans while on pension, and I had no trouble getting them.

I'm not asset-rich either, since all my life's earnings went to my children already, and I am carer for my ex in her home. I've got two cars (one being sold this week), a trailer, and am looking for a boat to rebuild and make worthy of some sea travel..... argh, me hearties..... have to be a motor/sailer... can't afford that much fuel.... but I want a non-keel model.. i.e. keel is the fuel tanks etc.... Galapagos anyone?
Hillbillypete
30th Aug 2012
12:19pm
@Ozman. no have not tryed them as I don't want to get into somthing I can not pay back, there are a lot of scams going on out there regarding buying cars and there prices but am on to them, am getting the daughter to sell the second car at home and that should bring down the loan amount I hope.
The bottom line is if you are on a pension no body wants to know you regarding a lone at a fare interest rate and I think thats bad!
Grasshopper
30th Aug 2012
12:36pm
So true pete. Sounds like you've got it sussed. Do you go online to the Fed and State govt car auction sites? The other good sites are the large private car auction sites, Gumtree and eBay. Good luck.
Peaceful
30th Aug 2012
1:50pm
Re: Centrelink Appeals Process: Sometimes,the very thought of completing yet more documentation is just too much when one is in an already very fragile emotional state - with all the anxiety about how one is going to manage to keep a roof over one's head and put just basic food on the table!
Also - I know someone who was with the RAF [UK] and who had a service pension from those days - but Centrelink insisted that any Newstart or Pension payments here would be reduced by that amount - he told me Centrelink staff told him it was because he had not actually served beside any Aussie troops! What a lot of 'rot' - all of them were fighting the same battles, more or less!! He tried going through the Appeals Process, but that was the outcome - so he recently returned to live with his family in the UK, having lived here for a number of years, as he could not afford to live on the amount with which he'd be left !

Of the many peope to whom I have ever mentioned Centrelink - not one of them has had a good word to say about them - and their way of working!! So please don't tell me every last one of them has been trying to pull a 'fast one' over them. I have certainly found them to be extremely inefficient and lacking in basic common courtesy.
Misterpeter
30th Aug 2012
2:02pm
Well said and totaly correct
And the so called Appeals process is way out of the average older persons grasp and understanding
Grasshopper
30th Aug 2012
3:36pm
@ Peaceful. Even Australian ex Servicemen have to declare their pension as income to Centrelink and it is classed as an asset against their payment - any Centrelink payment. The only DVA payment not classed as income is the TPI pension. The other thing that most (but not all) Centrelink recipients forget to mention - your declared earnings + reduced Centrelink payment, will NEVER be less than the full Centrelink payment for that benefit. Check the Centrelink payment schedule to confirm my statement. It's available online.

As for "of the many people to whom I have ever mentioned Centrelink - not one of them has a good word to say about them ..." Your argument is flawed by this very forum topic. Beeme - 4th post from top on this forum - and myself have no problems with Centrelink. There are many more out there, many who are grateful to be receiving a benefit in time of financial trouble. But like most government depts, there are decisions that people may not agree with, but that doesn't make every dealing with them a bad one - unless of course the person is trying to obtain a benefit they may not be entitled to. I have found their checks and balances to be excellent, to the point where they have placed me on the correct benefit and repaid monies owing - without me making representation to do so.

I'm sure if you think back to all your dealings with Centrelink, you have found a cross section of efficiencies and courtesies. I'm reminded of two sayings. "bad news travels 25 times faster than good news" and "what you give out you get back tenfold". We tend to remember bad experiences over good experiences. My suggestion would be to take a reference number for your call to Centrelink, or a complaints form at the Centrelink office if you think you are being served rudely or inefficiently and make a complaint. All complaints are taken seriously and investigated. Sometimes it works to your advantage - the squeaking door getting the oil.

The Appeals process can be a tiresome and stressing process, but like all processes, there is a certain amount of paperwork involved - often complicated. Centrelink or the dept you are making the appeal to, will answer any questions and may even help you fill out the forms.

But you and I have opposing opinions. I'll never convince you otherwise and you'll never convince me otherwise. I assure you I'll back up all my statements with references or from actual circumstances.
Sundays
20th Jun 2016
2:50pm
Grasshopper, I feel I have to support you. All my dealings with Centrelink have been very professional. The financial adviser at our local Centrelink Office was excellent. There can be long waiting times, but this is the fault of the Government who continue to cut staff. I get a sense that some people on this site don't want the inconvenience of providing factual information, but I hope they also expect someone to ensure the system is not being rorted.
arb1950
30th Aug 2012
5:21pm
Ah Ha... clearly Ozman you worked for them and perhaps that's why you are so strong in yr defense. I worked for them too but I'm afraid I believe many Centrelink staff are punitive and believe the worst of people and act on this belief.
For example, I found that many times if Centrelink made a mistake and overpaid people...or failed to take out a series of housing payments and the customer fell behind with their rent because of this..Centrelink staff tended to 'blame' the customer because "the customer should have realised that too much money went into their bank account". They were often unreasonable about repayment amounts, making life very difficult for the customer.
I was also a staff member when the Child Support Agency was established and staff from Canberra were sent down to explain to Centrelink workers how to correctly fill in the single parent claim forms. At that time we were told...be careful because if you or the customer makes a mistake the customer's payment will be automatically stopped!!! No consideration of the impact of this on the children. I know this attitude has now changed, but I could tell hundreds of stories that do not reflect well on Centrelink staff. One of the main reasons I left is because I could not stand the punitive nature of the process many were put through. And just listen to the politicians when they are discussing welfare payments. You would swear all welfare recipients are out to rip off the government, when in fact a very, very few do so.
Nan Norma
30th Aug 2012
6:28pm
Thanks for that arb its nice to get another point of view. I remember some year ago, I filled in austudy forms for my two children and delivered them personally. When no austudy payments arrived I rang them up only to be told I hadn't put in the forms. It wasn't the first time that sort of thing happened.
Hillbillypete
30th Aug 2012
8:28pm
I told you didn't I, they are arse holes, sorry
Grasshopper
30th Aug 2012
10:45pm
@arb1950. My defense of Centrelink is based on the soundness of the system, not from any work experience. Any information in my previous statements is readily available from the backs of forms, pamphlets, booklets, centrelink.gov.au and personal experience. When I deal with Centrelink I make sure I submit forms personally and get signed and dated copies of them for my records and I never leave originals with them. I have had lost forms but those copies have saved a lot of heartache and stress.

Wholesale mayhem would ensue if we didn't have rules and guidelines. I reiterate my statement from one of my first posts. Centrelink benifits are an entitlement, not a right. If you don't like the system or the attitude of the staff, don't bother applying and receiving a benefit. I'm sure arb1950 would agree that there were as many arse holes(to use hillbilly's words) in front of the counter as behind. From what I've heard waiting in line for service, a lot of customers need a lesson in manners.
Rainey
21st Dec 2015
3:56pm
There are good and bad staff at Centrelink. I've come across some who've been wonderfully helpful, courteous and respectful. But I've also dealt with some who have been totally incompetent, rude, and quite nasty. It's all down to the individual. Sadly, the system is flawed in that there are grossly inadequate penalties for staff who mess up or are rude or hurtful and there is virtually no recourse for victims of staff who get it totally wrong and cause people loss.
Rae
20th Jun 2016
3:45pm
My one experience was with a friend fleeing domestic violence who was refused any help. I housed her and she lost her only child to the abusive father. I saw the black eyes and bruises. She would have died if she stayed.

Centrelink were of no help at all.

She stayed with me until she got extra shifts at work. saved a bond and moved into a unit.

She never went back to Centrelink.

It was one of the most heartless experiences I was ever involved with.
TREBOR
20th Jun 2016
7:32pm
Wow, Rae - that sounds extraordinary. I had to leave home due to abuse once and they were most helpful.

She must have picked a very badly run office branch, and should have taken it higher.
Rae
21st Jun 2016
8:22am
Pleased to hear that TREBOR. Perhaps things have changed a bit as my experience was eighteen years ago. You would hope for help for people fleeing domestic violence today.
Pardelope
30th Aug 2012
8:07pm
Wow! arb1950 - I wonder what office(s) or state you worked in? When did you work there? You sound like you did not have a good experience.

I know I got out at the right time, as the signs of imminent decay were starting to show up. It was when they told staff that they could be held personally responsible for financial errors - even if they were following the rules, regulations, and precedents set by the AAT.

However, my experience working there - and as a client in later years - has been generally good. I have never felt that a staff member was deliberately trying to give me wrong information or blame me for some failing. Maybe that is because I am very organised and have done my "homework" before I contact them?

Unfortunately, Nan Norma's experience of forms going missing is inevitable in such a large organisation - and that is why I ALWAYS make copies of all forms, documents, and letters AND get them to stamp my copy with the "Date Received" stamp. I tell all my friends to do this - and it has avoided some annoying situations. If they tell you they haven't received the forms, you can politely produce the copies - problem solved.
Nan Norma
30th Aug 2012
9:32pm
You might have copies but that doesn't prove you sent the forms in. Sorry but I don't think there is any excuse for losing two lots of forms. My children were left with austudy for four weeks. But I will admit that since I've been on age pension, I've found the staff to be very pleasant and patient.
Grasshopper
30th Aug 2012
10:50pm
well said Pardelope. I agree with you. You seem to live by the Scouts motto - be prepared
Nan Norma
31st Aug 2012
11:04am
meant to say, WITHOUT any austudy for four weeks
Pardelope
29th Mar 2015
7:22pm
Nan Norma... You MUST get them to stamp "received" - and the date - on your copy of the forms or documents. Taking back copies which don't have this on them does not prove you lodged the originals - or when.
Peaceful
31st Aug 2012
1:02am
Thanks, Mister Peter - you're right - and the whole notion of going through any such process would put the most able person off - if they had already gone through the mill of, for example: unemployment, serious accident/illness, disability, bereavement, depression etc etc. The very thought of it would put many people off.
OZman - my argument may seem 'flawed' to you - but I am not in the habit of telling lies - so when I stated that everyone to whom I mentioned the word Centrelink has not had a good word to say about the organisation or its staff - that is exactly what has happened! So, just because all your experiences with Centrelink Pty Ltd have apparently been perfect - one should not ASSUME that everyone else is going to replicate that !

And as for your remark that - if people did not like the system or the attitudes of the staff there, don't bother applying for benefits - have you forgotten who pays for them, then? We have a right to be treated with respect and dignity - and not in a dismissive or 'punitive' fashion that was mentioned by Arb 1950.

Just as Arb 1950 states, I, too, know of times when due to their errors they have overpaid people I know - then tried to claw it back at an unreasonable amount per fortnight - and would not countenance a lesser amount being offered. Nor would they have the courtesy, or good business sense to respond to letters from the 'customers' . As for phone calls, I have found that a waste of time as one is kept hanging on so long one could fall asleep! If I have been 'lucky enough' to get through, they have on more than one occasion, misconstrued [deliberately, I felt] what I have said and twisted things around that reflected me in a poor light.
Grasshopper
1st Sep 2012
1:30am
@ Peaceful, I did not infer you were lying - merely your argument is flawed. Because your statistics show 100% of people you spoke to don't have a good word to say about Centrelink doesn't mean 100% of Centrelink customers have the same opinion. That is borne out by the positive comments above (now more than the two previously stated).

Your comment about me "forgetting who pays them" is also flawed. Any person receiving a Centrelink benefit pays little or no tax (unless perhaps, they are a self funded retiree striving for that $1+ pension to receive the benefits of a Pension Card or HCC - a legal rort to my thinking). My post of 25 August at 7.36pm made comment about an old cliche. Your comment above about "who pays for them" is also an old cliche often heard. The only way you could pay a Centrelink worker is via your taxes paid. Using that cliche, you also paid for the roads, so no need to pay tolls. You also paid for the railways so no paying fares. You also pay the wages of the police, so no fines. You pay rates (assumedly), so you can park anywhere in you like in your municipality without paying parking fees. Do you get my point? I agree Centrelink customers have a right to be treated with respect and dignity. Because respect and dignity is a two way street, no matter how frustrated I get at waiting in line or on the end of the phone, I'm always polite to the Centrelink staff. By being polite and giving a smile I receive the same in return - every time so far. In my post of 30 August at 3.36pm I detailed the process to take if you have a complaint. The only way service can be improved is by pointing out where it fails and the best way to do that is by the complaint or feedback forms. I did not say all my experiences with Centrelink have been perfect (you did that for me), but NONE of them have been disastrous enough to make a complaint. I have however had exceptional service on one occasion and completed a feedback form complimenting the staff member concerned. And the exceptional service was after the staff member had been berated by an irate customer before me.

I'm also wondering why you refer to Centrelink as a PTY LTD company. I've done a business search that shows a number of companies with the name Centrelink but none have Centrelink.gov.au ABN. Additionally the Centrelinks listed in the ASIC Company search site are deregistered companies. Any chance you could supply a link or reference for me to confirm they are a PTY LTD company?
Rae
20th Jun 2016
3:54pm
Grasshopper there are many self funded retirees living on little more than an aged pension who could never afford full priced medical treatments and medicines. That is why the $1+ card exists.
TREBOR
20th Jun 2016
7:35pm
I've always found that if you are straight up and straightforward with them, they will be very helpful. If you go in with an attitude, you will likely see the street with the minimum. They have security guards now due to the occasional abuse... not necessary, since they're only doing a job, and if you are good to them, chances are they will be good to you.
Pardelope
31st Aug 2012
6:05pm
Please Nan Norma - you need to protect yourself from such mishaps. You MUST ensure that you keep copies of everything. You MUST get them to put a stamp on their copy AND yours - which says "Date Received".

Lodging personally is safer than posting important forms or documents. If you choose to rely on the post, you have no proof that Centrelink lost the documents - it could be the mail service. In my area, some time ago, a postal worker was gaoled for destroying mail he collected (over some months) from the official Australia Post boxes.

If you later produce your copy with the "Date Received" stamp on it, it proves (a) they received the original, (b) the date it was received, and (c) what information you provided. It can then be used to re-start (and back-date) the claim.
Grasshopper
31st Aug 2012
11:48pm
For Pardelope. We need a Like button like Facebook

For Nan. More on non delivery by Aust Post. Some time back they released statistics on delivered mail. 95% of mail was delivered to its destination. That means that 5 letters out of every 100 was lost. Add to that mail misdirected to the wrong area within Centrelink (they don't have a dedicated mail person - staff are allocated daily to sort the mail - often inexperienced staff eg. duh. which dept handles AUSTUDY?)
Nan Norma
1st Sep 2012
10:50am
Wrong deliver can be a problem. I often get other peoples mail which, considering I am the original owner of my house, it's a puzzle. One day I received important mail from centrelink, and also a another centrelink letter addressed to another subarb. Understanding how this could negatively affect the owner I delivered the letter myself. Which of course makes me wonder if my mail has ever gone walkabout.
Grasshopper
1st Sep 2012
11:24am
a majority of Centrelink letters are printed and enveloped automatically by a private contractor. Then they are bulk mailed. From Centrelink officer's computer to delivery to the customer, a letter passed through electronic process, machine sorting and manual sorting and delivery. Anywhere along the line a letter can either fail to reach the printer, be lost due to machine malfunction or human error. Unfortunately for the customer, I'm led to believe that if a letter is processed on the officer's computer, it is deemed to have been delivered.
Nan Norma
1st Sep 2012
11:40am
Well how private are our details if a private contrator handles them?
Misterpeter
1st Sep 2012
11:43am
I often wonder where the word DEEMED was from is it a American word as the only DEEM I know is from the English Oxford Dictionary and has a meaning [To Judge or consider] and is a verb transitive
Centrelink seam to have phrases all of their own and not understood by others
Nan Norma
1st Sep 2012
11:50am
So you money is concidered to be earning/deemed so much % . That makes sense to me.
Grasshopper
1st Sep 2012
12:15pm
I'm led to believe the mail printed and enveloped by the private contractor is do by machines at lightning speed. Too fast for staff to read private details. I'm sure, private contractors would have to sign confidentiality agreements.

Within Centrelink any customers private details can only be accessed on a need-to-know basis. But I agree that our private information is only as safe as the person safeguarding that information, physically or electronically. Pardelope may be able to clarify this, but I believe our written applications are now scanned into the Centrelink computer and the originals destroyed.
Peaceful
1st Sep 2012
10:10am
OZman - it was implied - not inferred. ..and I am well aware that it is not everyone's experience - merely those to whom I have spoken - and yet another gentleman yesterday afternoon said: "Don't get me started on them!" {this was from someone working in the HR/ Recruitment sector].
As for my "flawed comments" - as a previously employed Tax Payer, as are/were, I'm guessing at least some of the people commenting on here, I/we have contributed to the many so-called 'public services' such as Centrelink. My point about who pays for them - was about the provision of good 'Customer Service' in the first instance - instead of people having to go through often lengthy and bureaucratic complaints or appeals procedures - when they are already feeling extremely stressed and fragile! A little bit of empathy from C/link staff would go a long way - as, in my experience, not everyone is trying to rip Centrelink off ! I realise that you did not say that your experiences were all 'perfect' - that was my 'take' on what seemed to be the case - I apologise if I was mistaken on that aspect. I'm signing off on this dialogue now - as I have too many more important and uplifting things to do!
Grasshopper
1st Sep 2012
11:42am
It's a sad fact of life that to obtain many things, "we" have to apply, justify and prove our entitlement. I have agreed before that the appeals process is often complicated and stressing, but there is help to complete the process if sought, thus relieving some of the stress and frustrations.

We certainly live in a lucky country where social services are provided as part of life's benefits. Likewise we have free speech where forums like this allow us to vent our frustrations. I was recently in China and Russia where tourist guide's spiels were being listened to by civil workers posing as cleaners or other tourists and the guides had to toe the Party line. I thank God every day to live in this country, located in perhaps the best location on Earth, free from political, religious and racial bigotry (that's my flag waving done for today)
Pardelope
2nd Sep 2012
6:55pm
Oz Man - I am not sure if every claim form is destroyed in every office. There was a strong move to attempt to reduce the amount of paper record as the storage was becoming an enormous problem. The promise (at the beginning of computerization in Centrlink) never eventuated - in fact it created more paper. If computer scanning is being relied on entirely, God help us if their computers crash!
Grasshopper
2nd Sep 2012
7:16pm
my thoughts as well on their computer failing. My business was contracted to scan an international mining company's exploration library but the hard copies were kept and stored, ending up in a storage facility in South America. At least they were accessible in an emergency.
Nan Norma
3rd Sep 2012
12:27pm
I have a feeling the Centrelink letters and files may all be put on microchips. A short time ago I went on the UK Ancestry website trying to get some information about my grandfather's World War 1 army records. I was very surprised when a letter he had written giving permission for 'centrelink" to give his details to the army, downloaded.
foxylady
13th Sep 2012
9:49pm
I am sick and tired of trying to contact Centrelink to report the increase of money I have. I have sent 3 emails on their own website. I refuse to sit with phone attached to my ear waiting for someone to talk to me and for sure I will not stand in line at their office.
Jannie
23rd Oct 2015
11:57am
Agree with you foxylady it is a pain trying to contact centrelink by phone I have tried to use the call back line but that does not work all of the time.
Also I am so annoyed at the government fat cats deciding what we pensioners should be getting. They are out of touch just look at what they are getting when they retire.
I cannot live on the pension so I am doing some casual work but alas if I earn more than $250 a fortnight I loose 50 cents in the dollar and then eventually if I work my butt off they take it all. I like working but at 67 it is getting hard, the system is so unfair. I had medical issues and a divorce later in life and ended up not having enough super to retire on. So some of us do have problems due to unforseen circumstances in our lives. It is hard out there and when I hear that refugees get more than us including a lot of handouts it makes me sick.
Jannie
23rd Oct 2015
11:57am
Agree with you foxylady it is a pain trying to contact centrelink by phone I have tried to use the call back line but that does not work all of the time.
Also I am so annoyed at the government fat cats deciding what we pensioners should be getting. They are out of touch just look at what they are getting when they retire.
I cannot live on the pension so I am doing some casual work but alas if I earn more than $250 a fortnight I loose 50 cents in the dollar and then eventually if I work my butt off they take it all. I like working but at 67 it is getting hard, the system is so unfair. I had medical issues and a divorce later in life and ended up not having enough super to retire on. So some of us do have problems due to unforseen circumstances in our lives. It is hard out there and when I hear that refugees get more than us including a lot of handouts it makes me sick.
Aussiejbl
5th Jan 2013
6:27pm
What pisses me off is when people on a parenting payment for example complain they can't afford this and that, but then in the next breath say how they just recently bought a pair of $470 Versace sunglasses. Sorry, but if you can afford to buy such an expensive pair of sunglasses you don't to be on a parenting payment. That is just so unfair!!!! Tax payers are paying for these people to sit on their asses, have babies do they don't have to work and live as if they are rich. I know people who have full time jobs that couldn't afford to go out and spend money like that.
Pardelope
6th Jan 2013
4:42am
Ah! But it is all a matter of personal priorities. Some people can't tell the difference between a "need" and a "want". To them a "want" is a "must have" - preferably at someone else's expense. Versace sunglasses would be a fairly rare extravagance - compared to booze, drugs, junk food, smokes, super size TV's, electronic toys, and noisy souped-up cars. For many people who can't manage on benefits or pensions, they come ahead of rent, healthy food for the kids, utility bills, and budgeting for the future.

Many people manage quite well on Centrelink payments - but they do not have chronic illnesses, do not have to pay high rents - and do not suffer from "lazy-bone-itis", greedy-itis", or "stupid-itis".
Pardelope
6th Jan 2013
4:55am
Foxylady - you really should not rely on their phone service or website to advise of important changes - unless you get a receipt number and keep it in your file. Your information can easily get lost - and you may be accused of not advising them.

The best (but least convenient) way is to put it in writing and take it to one of their offices. Find out if they have a special office for seniors close to where you live (this saves long queues). Insist that they put their date stamp on your copy - and then keep it in your file.
Blossom
5th Apr 2014
9:25am
Yes, make sure you get a receipt number, even if you have to ask for it more than once in the same call. I notified Centrelink that my Mother had moved to a retirement village but I was still maintaning the house, taking care of washing etc. I also wrote to them but received no akcnowledgement. I had 3rd party arrangement as Mum was not capable of filling in the paperwork.
When dhe entered a nursing home, I received a letter stating that they we had not previously nofitied them of her change of address and they cut her pension back to leff than the medicine allowance was. I made an appt. at my Local Centrelink Office . The gentleman was very helpful, worked it out another way and she got about $60.00 month more. That at least half paid her monthly chemist bill.
SJ72
17th Jan 2013
6:37pm
I am on Parenting Payment with 3 young kids and I too have had this argument with my friend. I have nothing to hide but I think that Centrelink or anyone else for that matter has no right to check anyone's bank account without permission if they suspect fraud ok go for it but not just to randomly keep check on people. "Aussiejbl" I can understand your frustration at some on benefits I may be in this position myself right now but I hate the sterotyping some give to those like us. I did not realise that having kids was a luxury reserved for those in jobs only. I have worked and right now i'm not and I feel no shame in that. I am just about to start home study to upgrade my qualifications so I feel I am using my time home raising my kids well. I also feel that being at home with my kids is more important that having a job Mothers are continually made to feel they are lazy for being stay at home mums and selfish for being working mums you cannot win so I say f**k what you all think I will do what I believe is best for my kids I feel entitled to my benefits cos I have paid taxes for many years. Also I will next month be treating myself to a iPad this is not cos I sponge so much money of the government but because I have saved for months and months in fact nearly a year and again I see nothing wrong with this as the money I get from Centrelink is MY money, I have earned it by paying taxes when I worked and I earn it by raising my family. I resent the implication that people on benefits just because they are so cannot buy themselves expensive treats or if they do they should not be entitled to any benefits!! I budget my money carefully my kids never go without I don't smoke I very very rarely drink I don't gamble I think if I want to treat myself and save hard for that treat then who are you to say I can't just because my money comes from benefits it does not mean I am some greedy person scamming the government either! Not everyone is like that and for people to judge before knowing the facts show them to be the ones suffering from stupid-itis!
Hillbillypete
17th Jan 2013
11:01pm
Well said my dear!
Aussiejbl
18th Jan 2013
11:34am
You are a minority! You are right it was wrong for me to judge as a whole. But you are infact a minority!
Greyone20
2nd Apr 2014
6:06pm
Come on folks,sit back ,take a deep breath & say thanks for what we are able to get in this country.The pension is not an automatic entitlement,it is a benefit to live on for those of us who don't have the funds to live on.Yes,we may all have paid taxes during our working lives whilst bringing up children,but those taxes paid for our roads,hospitals,schools etc at that time,not for our age pensions.The current generation are the ones paying for our pensions,they won't be enable to get a pension when they reach our age,so let's be grateful we can get one now.
Jannie
23rd Oct 2015
12:01pm
I feel sorry for the next generations as the cost of living will soar but I can assure you that the super they have will not be enough to live off. Australia will be a third world country within 20 years.
Jannie
23rd Oct 2015
12:01pm
I feel sorry for the next generations as the cost of living will soar but I can assure you that the super they have will not be enough to live off. Australia will be a third world country within 20 years.
Jannie
23rd Oct 2015
12:06pm
I feel sorry for the next generations as the cost of living will soar but I can assure you that the super they have will not be enough to live off. Australia will be a third world country within 20 years.
Jannie
23rd Oct 2015
12:06pm
I feel sorry for the next generations as the cost of living will soar but I can assure you that the super they have will not be enough to live off. Australia will be a third world country within 20 years.
Rosret
20th Jun 2016
6:53pm
No Jannie, we won't be a third world country. Those people still working will ride with inflation. Its just tough for those people who are trying to live off their savings. What will be hard is trying to work forever.
TREBOR
20th Jun 2016
7:41pm
Yes - it was all done with careful Socialist planning, a lot of it from Bob Menzies, when the Liberals were the Liberals... and the idea was that everyone contributed via taxation to a fund for retirement and social security, and thus that money should have been available when called upon in time of need - no ifs, no buts, and no chicanery from politicians trying to twist the rules to suit themselves and their mythical Budgets (never seen a real one yet.. though I did see a unicorn once.. right in the middle of the pig fly-past)...

They claim to create the employment etc situation and they happily danced the sunshine days away when it comes to old age for the many - now is the time to pay the piper and do so gracefully, no ifs, no buts, no arguments....
ex PS
24th Jun 2016
4:38pm
Jannie, this government has put so much confusion into the Super System, by making senseless changes all of the time that it is sure to fail. It is almost like they want people on government support so that they are easier to handle.
The future government needs to isolate a portion of the tax it takes to ensure future pensions are available, it may have to look at either taking over super
ex PS
24th Jun 2016
4:38pm
Jannie, this government has put so much confusion into the Super System, by making senseless changes all of the time that it is sure to fail. It is almost like they want people on government support so that they are easier to handle.
The future government needs to isolate a portion of the tax it takes to ensure future pensions are available, it may have to look at either taking over super
ex PS
24th Jun 2016
4:45pm
payments or introducing a new levy, but whatever it does they have to protect it from future governments that will want to raid it to fund their own pet projects as has been done before.
I appoligise for the split message the Hong Kong Wi FI is not very good.
Blossom
5th Apr 2014
10:02am
Not only old age pensioners etc. are affected by Centrelink checks and constant assessment letters, declarations. A friend ours, married with 2 young children - one a newborn was retrenched and after searching for jobs unsuccessfully applied for unemployment benefits.
In fairness they did ask him why he didn't apply immediately as he hadn't been there long enough to for a good package. Companies and individuals stopped buying new vehicles when fringe benefits tax came in and dealers had staff doing very little work. He is a motor mechanic and very good with his hands, but has never been a good writer and computers weren't used to the extent that they are now. What disappointed him was that he managed to get 2 days casual work on a couple of occasions over a 7 week period which he declared immediately and didn't wait for forms etc. When they deducted his benefit by the % they use of the amount of his wages and he paid tax on it, he received less income than if he had not worked at all. He also had to travel a considerable distance to do it, using his car as he had to started work before daylight and before public transport reached his home area. He had injured his knee a few years before and therefore could not walk what was 1/2hr drive by car. Like he said, then ended up worse off but al least he had a chance of maybe later getting a full-time job there if one became available. He went there for 2 reasons. He wanted to work and not sit home after scouring Commonwealth Employment Service notice boards and newspaper job ads. He found jobs on the notice boards, asked for more details at the service counter and was told to go straight to the companies and apply. Some of the jobs hadn't been taken off the board when they should have been. (one 3 weeks before and what's more that have records of having spoken to a particular person) Now you have to apply via approved recruitment providers which is probably a better idea.
We have to remember that the Commonwealth Government makes the legislation that they have to abide by when making decisions.
gypsyfeet
5th Apr 2014
11:27pm
Since the early 1990's centrelink has stopped me a few cents each fortnight for interest earned on an account with the commonwealth bank. I have never had an account with the commonwealth, upon ringing the bank they have no record of me ever having an account, but centrelink still insists I do have one, with obviously only a small amount in it, but cannot or will not give me any details about the claimed account. After all these years those small amounts deducted have added up!
Hillbillypete
6th Apr 2014
8:57am
take them to court, contact currant affair.
Pardelope
8th Apr 2014
4:10pm
You have the right to know the details of any income or assets they have listed under your name. If they can't or won't give you a printout of the details, go to their website and check what income and assets they have listed there. Everything should be shown. Print out a copy. Take it along to your local Commonwealth Bank office and discuss the matter. It is possible that it is a long forgotten account - or that someone with the same name has an account with them. Get a statement in writing that you have no accounts with any of their branches - and/or the date that any old account was closed. Take this to Centrelink and ask them to adjust their records. Get them to take a copy for their records. Make sure they stamp your copy with "Date Received". If they still keep showing the account on your records, you can appeal.
Frank
5th Jan 2015
3:09pm
There is no chance that it is a long forgotten account. Swan would have seized upon it already.
Frank
5th Jan 2015
3:09pm
There is no chance that it is a long forgotten account. Swan would have seized upon it already.
Rosret
20th Jun 2016
6:56pm
I'd go to the ombudsman or see if you are entitled to free legal aid. Its amazing how quickly they will change their tune when you get official support.
Rosret
22nd Jun 2016
11:57am
I think it may be a case of embezzlement - I would see someone about that.
harold
23rd May 2014
4:41pm
This is not on the exact same topic, but I would love to know if a local Council can phone Centrelink and be given details of where you are residing? Some time ago I had permission from Centrelink to leave my home and go to my mother's home to be her carer. Council said they phoned Centrelink and was told I was not living at my home so they cut out my pensioner concession on the rates.
Pardelope
24th May 2014
2:50am
When I worked in DSS (now Centrelink), to reveal personal details to anyone without authorization would have had dire consequences. However, many organizations e.g. Taxation, Universities, Centrelink do now share information with the intention of detecting fraud. I would not be surprised if this sharing now also includes State Government and Local Government.

I am surprised though, that this would be done over the phone, as anyone could claim they were from ..... Department - which could have very serious repercussions in, say, a domestic violence situation.
Rosret
20th Jun 2016
7:00pm
Yes - they are crosschecking departments all the time. Especially to see if people have gone on oversees holidays. However you should have been paying your Mother rent and that would have reinstated your concessions.
TREBOR
20th Jun 2016
8:25pm
'temporarily absent' from your home is NOT the same as not living there.... Council had no right to do that since it is still your principal residence.

Stand up to them....

Or recoup more from Colonel C'Link y paying board at your mother's place. You are contributing, aren't you?

My situation is similar - I'm living in the ex's home as her carer, and my contribution to fortnightly funds is viewed as lodging, and gets some rent assistance. If you are there long term at your mother's that amount should pay your rates subsidy.
rob101
5th Jun 2014
3:23pm
if their is a discrepancy flagged Centrelink can and do conduct property searches to see if anything changes.They also monitor TV shows where contestants can win money,although they will deny this.And watch out Travelling overseas too often.

Robert 101
Dusty
22nd Aug 2014
12:21pm
I believe that in 2008 Centrelink was given extra powers to nose into people's bank accounts.
gravy
20th Jun 2016
4:11pm
Under the Social Security Act (SSA) Section 192 they do have the power to require a Bank or any other Financial Institution to provide any detail of your account that they require that is held by the requested organisation. The request has to be in writing and must state the Part of the SSA that allows the request to be made and this means they cannot just phone up your Bank for the detail. Generally the requirement for the use of this power is based on that they have contacted the client/applicant for this information and it has not been provided or is subject to doubt of it's correctness.

This power existed under the old 1940's SSA and exists now under the newer Act.

They can request details from any State or Territory Government, any Business, and or any person that may have relevant information to their decision making process. The refusal by any requested person to supply this information carries severe penalties unless the information is covered by Privilege or is a part of National Security such as in the case of Medical Records or similar the Client is then required to give permission to access those records or they may have their payment or claim refused/cancelled.

The reason they have Data Matching is to avoid the problem that each Federal Organisation is able to void the SSA by the the Federal Act that governs them. So there has to be a framework to share information between them that is outside of the SSA and their Act. The Ministers that are responsible for these Departments get the Data Sharing Act amended as needed to cover changes needed.

SOCIAL SECURITY (ADMINISTRATION) ACT 1999 - SECT 192
General power to obtain information

The Secretary may require a person to give information, or produce a document that is in the person's custody or under the person's control, to the Department if the Secretary considers that the information or document may be relevant to one or more of the following:

(a) the question whether a person who has made a claim for a social security payment is or was qualified for the payment;

(b) the question whether a social security payment is payable to a person who is receiving the payment;

(c) the question whether a social security payment was payable to a person who has received the payment;

(d) the rate of social security payment that is or was applicable to a person;

(daa) the operation of Division 3A of Part 3;

(da) the question whether a person who has made a claim under the Social Security (Fares Allowance) Rules 1998 was eligible for fares allowance;

(db) the operation of Part 3B;

(e) the administration of an agreement between Australia and a foreign country on social security matters;

(f) the question whether a person who has been granted a concession card is or was qualified for the card;

(g) the question whether a person who has applied for financial supplement is eligible for the supplement;

(h) the question whether a person who has obtained a financial supplement is or was eligible for the supplement;

(i) the determination of the maximum amount of financial supplement that a person is eligible for;

(j) the question whether an assurance of support given under Chapter 2C of the 1991 Act should be accepted or rejected.
gravy
20th Jun 2016
4:31pm
Sorry The old SSA had the power in it and it now is in the Social Security (Administration) Act of 1999
satansshadow
22nd Dec 2014
7:39pm
I have a question in regards to checking accounts, does centrelink have the right to go through your Facebook account and determine whether your in a relationship or not????????
Pardelope
23rd Dec 2014
12:02am
Facebook (and virtually anything else on the internet) is definitely NOT secure or private.

The Federal Government has recently made it quite clear that personal privacy is NOT one of their concerns and is not guaranteed.

You are required by law to advise Centrelink of ANY changes which may affect your entilements. If you are doing the right thing, you should not be concerned.
Rosret
20th Jun 2016
7:02pm
Yes, they are checking to see who is on holidays oversees. Watch what you put on Facebook. Its not wise to brag about that lottery win!!
rob101
24th Dec 2014
3:45pm
Centrelink can and does look at your Bank Account and your Bank does not have to advise you.The Social Security Act over rides the Privacy Act.If Centrelink say you have a Debt to them(whether you have or not).Not only can they take money from your Bank Account,they can also put a Caveat on any property you own(or Jointly own).You can dispute any Debt through the SSAT,which is free and independent.
robert101
Jannie
23rd Oct 2015
12:00pm
Now I see why the oldies hide their money under their mattresses and in tins in the garden.
Jannie
23rd Oct 2015
12:00pm
Now I see why the oldies hide their money under their mattresses and in tins in the garden.
particolor
20th Jun 2016
11:28am
Exactly Jannie Its your ONLY hope left !! :-)
maxchugg
22nd Jun 2016
10:42am
I hope they do look - I couldn't care less.

As for privacy, there is no longer any such thing, just an illusion which occasionally becomes an exercise in stupidity

A couple of years ago, after I had completed tax returns for my wife and myself, I received a phone call from the ATO with a query on my wife's tax return. I wanted to handle the query, but no, they had to speak to my wife. So I told them my wife's full name, date of birth, tax file number, taxable income and tax file number. Not good enough, they wanted to speak to my wife.

When my wife arrived home we called them, she spoke to them and gave them the information they wanted, which they accepted. Then I took the phone and asked them a simple question "You have spoken to a woman who gave you exactly the same information that you would not accept from me. How do you know that you spoke to my wife?"
chrissy
4th Jan 2015
10:58pm
i like to know the truth i have been given permission to live abroad and live on my pension as the dept of human resources and centrelink told me that due to my circumstances that i can leave Australia and live abroad indefinitely and even if i get married it will not effect my age pension as your marriage is not recognized in Australia until its registered in Australia.but suddenly my pension takes a dip and my case was referred to a review officer.making me feel a total liar i have receipt numbers given to me on these occassion that i spoke to them which they blatantly deny. what is your opinion
Rae
20th Jun 2016
4:13pm
There is no truth.

The rules change constantly and government legislation is hard to keep up with.

You can be told one thing and find it no longer applies due to retrospective legislation.
rob101
5th Jan 2015
12:42pm
Pensions are NOT free money!Other than Disability and Blind Pensions,ALL Pensions are TAXED.So we paid taxes all our working life,and now we pay Tax on our Pensions.


Robert101
TREBOR
20th Jun 2016
8:31pm
Pension is included as taxable income if you have the temerity to work while on pension. No pollie has that burden and no superannuant has to pay tax on earnings and super, despite all the tax concessions along the way that I've outlined so many times, (again) 15% for contribution, dividend imputation to the fund in most cases meaning no tax paid on profit, and no tax paid on drawing at at the end of the day.

Pensioner pays tax on pension contributions over life, then cops reduction in pension for earnings, then pays tax on BOTH pension and earnings at the end of the year.

That is one area that needs to be cleared up and pension excluded from taxable income and reduction for work, and ONLY tax paid as per the schedule on earnings above pension.

We do NOT have first and second class retirees here..... (we do - but we will not for long, let me assure you)...
sobat
1st Feb 2015
9:53am
My wife and I have been married 11 years, she is 63 y.o. I am 74 y.o.we don't own our own house and I have $ 79,000 in the bank. My wife is Thai and has lived in Australia for 6 1/2 years on a Permanent Residence Visa.
In this period she could not find employment, her age ??
She has started several businesses, and worked very hard to try and get enough money to buy a house for us.
So far the only result has been that she now has an overdraft of $ 20,000 and her Credit Card is maxed out at $ 30,000.
If she now gets successful in her business, how will affect my pension payments?
Pardelope
10th Jun 2015
12:23pm
Firstly - if you are receiving a pension - you must keep Centrelink up-to-date on the earnings of your wife. They may require you to do this on a fortnightly basis - or less often (perhaps on her tax return). If you fail to do this, you may end up with a large overpayment. Contact them as soon as possible to make sure that your reporting arrangements are acceptable.

Secondly, people who are married or live together, MUST inform Centrelink of their domestic and financial situation if either of them is applying for - or receiving Government payments.

Your wife sounds like she is a hard-working asset to our society.
Pardelope
10th Jun 2015
2:53pm
If your wife is successful in her business or businesses, your pension may be affected. You should be declaring her financial situation now - and in the future - if either or both of you are receiving pensions or other payments from any Government source.
Sundays
20th Jun 2016
3:08pm
The other thing to note Sobat is that Centrelink disregard any debt you have. So, if she has $30k in debts, this will NOT be offset against any money she makes. I personally think this is unfair, but perhaps better to pay off debt before amassing savings.
Rosret
20th Jun 2016
7:06pm
Yes,if you have a business income then it will reduce both your pension entitlements.
frank45
10th Jun 2015
8:49am
centerlink do look at your bank account if you have $2001 centerlink will phone you and ask you about the money
Pardelope
25th Sep 2015
1:22pm
Be very careful. This could be anyone phoning you.

NEVER provide details about your financial or personal affairs to anyone over the phone.

Politely tell the caller that if they are genuine they must write to you asking for information and you will then respond in person at one of their offices. This will scare off any fraudsters who are after your identity or money.
TREBOR
20th Jun 2016
9:10pm
Believe them not - ask for a letter. Never had Colonel C'Link ring me yet.
rob101
24th Jul 2015
7:17pm
Can someone explain this to me?
If you work,you pay Tax,You must report the Gross amount to Centrelink,which reduces any payment from them,rather than if you only had to report the Net amount.Which would mean you would get slightly more from Centrelink.
However,the payment you get from Centrelink is TAXED.So Centrelink and the Government can't loose!

robert101
missmarple
1st Jan 2016
11:42am
rob101 up till August 2014 I was working part time and receiving aged pension which I declared Gross earnings every fortnight to C/L not only was I paying tax on my wage but I was also losing some of my pension,so you are spot on on that score, I was working to help keep my head above water so to speak, as I rent and that is $490.00 per f/n and by the time you put money aside to pay for amenities there is very little left, unfortunately I suffered severe health problems and had to give work away and now I am back to struggle St as with heaven knows how many others
Mez
10th Oct 2015
1:11pm
I must say that so far, since starting out on the age pension, I AM impressed with the Centrelink Seniors' apps! No more waiting in queues which also, have decreased in waiting time since several years ago when I was on unemployment benefits for several months.
The staff are heaps more efficient but could still do with an increase of staff, especially for answering phone inquiries because a couple of calls took me a good ONE HOUR on the phone waiting to be answered whilst one time, the answering machine said my wait would be approx. 20 min. when it took over an hour! Unbelievable but true but so far, no further complaints except that rent assistance would be better served being a lot more considering the huge increases in rents everywhere.
Jannie
23rd Oct 2015
12:07pm
I have put through a few comments and they are not posting has the government put a stop to us having freedom of speech???????????????
What is so unfair is that centrelink do not take into account the mortgages we have on our houses.
niemakawa
20th Jun 2016
11:23am
The main residence is not assessed as an asset, that is probably the reason. However if you have an investment property, which is assessed under the assets test, then only your equity is taken into consideration.
Sundays
20th Jun 2016
3:14pm
Centrelink disregard all debt including personal loans and credit card. Not fair. For example they include the value of your car as an asset, but don't offset against ant loan amount
Rosret
20th Jun 2016
7:08pm
Sadly you can receive rental assistance if you don't own a home but no help if you are repaying a mortgage.
rob101
26th Oct 2015
10:42pm
Hey,Janine where did you get the idea of Freedom of Speech from? There is no implied Freedom of Speech in Australia,certainly not in the Constitution,the reference there applices to Political matters.The U.N. Freedom of Speech applies only in limited form.

rob101
MILA
3rd Dec 2015
11:15am
I have no problem in Centrelink checking on Bank Accounts: in actual fact I support it: anything that contributes to verify facts and figures.....should be applied. So....What is the problem?
particolor
20th Jun 2016
11:57am
Not a Problem ! But looking at Thousands of NIL Balance Bank Accounts must get Bloody Boring !! :-) :-)
Whoray46
15th Dec 2015
3:50pm
Nothing there to check! But if you find something, please get in contact!
Precious 1
2nd Feb 2016
10:47pm
I think the whole lot should be like when we came to Oz...we get a small amount from back home as we worked 10 years or more...I get a little from my late husbands ....if we go back to home of origin the Australian pension should be stopped ...there are thousands eauropeans who come here sole for that reason and then go back whenever and I heard some talking on a bus years ago how they had built blocks of holiday apartments in Italy with supposed sick pensions received forever here in Oz and really nothing wrong with them at all...there are hundreds doing this and we keeping those sly rats it should be stopped forwith.....and no reasons given at all...some also I do know of are collecting these pensions or part p from several countries...like the ones coming here with beautiful English accents....we saw one on TV the other night..how clever she appeared apparently making us look like absolute idiots.......some say we are only allowed to have three pensions????????
TREBOR
20th Jun 2016
9:51pm
ATO requires you to declare any interests in offshore properties.... the only way they'd catch any of those is if money was coming into their bank accounts or they weren't spending enough out of those accounts.

Trust me - such a move as monitoring cash transactions from offshore is coming..... and I would not like to be one caught for years of short-changing tax and accepting social security unwarranted.
Gobsmacked
28th Feb 2016
2:19pm
Just look at the number of times posters here use the words "So I INFORMED CENTRELINK"!

That alone labels the organisation as a Nazi Gestapo style setup which DEMANDS COMPLIANCE or FACE PUNISHMENT.

And it's job role is "SOCIAL WELFARE"!

Neighbour from hell more like it !

Equalize all payments...same for one and all on pensions, same for all unemployed persons and get rid of the Centrelink Gestapo

Millions if not billions of dollars would be saved, and the money put to good use with EMPLOYMENT INCENTIVES AND TRAINING for WORK instead of there being a set up which encourages rorting of all kinds on the one hand, and spends big on supposedly trying to keep it in check.
GET RID OF WHAT IT IS ABOUT THE SYSTEM WHICH CHALLENGES PEOPLE TO RORT AND THERE WILL BE LITTLE OF NONE OF IT !
TREBOR
20th Jun 2016
9:54pm
Yes - I've never seen the logic in dictating to a person who is forced to cheat a little to get by that they should lose a penalty amount that they can't afford any more than they could afford not to cheat a little.

If you listen to the propaganda - there are hundreds of thousands of cheats out there.... yet someone down the line here came up with the figure of $2.2m recovered..... from 2.7 MILL-YUN (Dr E-Vil) pensioners and unemployed?

A farce... less than a dollar a recipient..... what a joke.
looknlisten
3rd Mar 2016
12:53pm
I've worked in Taxation for the past 6 yrs for a Tax Accountant (non govt)
I have also worked in Bank and allied industries

Every organisation that pays you interest need to inform the ATO of the interest paid
even if its only $1.00 interest, because that $1.00 can push your income up to the
next tax bracket.

So if you dont declare your interest at tax time, dont worry most tax accountants use "autofill" as they have access to the ATO portal.
All Government departments communicate with each other, if your Tax accountant does your tax they give you an estimate of your refund (if you have one) the reason its an
estimate is that, once the tax return is submitted to the ATO, they have the right to adjust the return and deducted centrelink debts, unpaid child support, even parking or speeding fines owing to the government.
They already know of all the interest you have received and will factor that into your income - there is no hiding this.
If you don't declare interest received and you have received a substantial amount - you may be audited, which is a painful process.

So just know that all dividends franking credits and interest received is known to the ATO.
No use fooling yourself. Just declare it.
If you wish to reduce your taxable income - speak to a Financial Adviser,, but not a Centrelink Financial Adviser :)
Bonny
14th Mar 2016
7:11pm
I can autofill my tax return and I can't see why anyone can't do it themselves. I find it's a good check that you haven't missed anything and to work out what the ATO does check.
TREBOR
20th Jun 2016
9:12pm
Spot on, Bonny - I do the same - auto-fill, dead easy. And they do cross-reference with The Colonel...
Becca
11th May 2016
7:11am
In regard to the Seniors card. I find that many places do not honour it, and that the places that do are honour it are in the expensive range. I notice that some of the Coffee shops offer it, not too many though.
jackie
20th Jun 2016
10:53am
My son tried to apply for New Start Allowance and was told he had too much money in the bank to receive it. He never declared it to them. He was told to live from his savings first and when they deplete to apply to NSA. The Government has access to everyone's bank accounts not off shore havens.
niemakawa
20th Jun 2016
11:20am
I believe this applies for the first 12 weeks only if you have savings of more than over a certain amount, after which they can receive Newstart, regardless.
niemakawa
20th Jun 2016
10:57am
"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. This information will be sent in an encrypted form to specialised staff, who will review them."

Surely Centrelink would contact the person first, before taking this action, asking for an explanation. Otherwise this would be an infringement on civil liberties.
niemakawa
20th Jun 2016
10:57am
"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. This information will be sent in an encrypted form to specialised staff, who will review them."

Surely Centrelink would contact the person first, before taking this action, asking for an explanation. Otherwise this would be an infringement on civil liberties.
particolor
20th Jun 2016
11:25am
They are Welcome to Perve all they like into My Non Existent Bank Account ! :-(
All they will find is a $ Sign with NOTHING behind it ! I withdraw the Whole pension on Pension Day just to survive !! :-(
When are they going to factor in The REAL Cost of Living ??
niemakawa
20th Jun 2016
11:28am
When you are dead. Before that they do not want to know let alone care.
niemakawa
20th Jun 2016
11:30am
How much are you stuffing under the mattress!!!!!!!!. Cash must be declared as well, every note and coin you have in your pocket.
particolor
20th Jun 2016
12:06pm
Mine is over keeping Mal's company in the Cayman Islands !! :-)
TREBOR
20th Jun 2016
9:56pm
I was looking for a nice island in the Bahamas to build on..... just a small and unpretentious holiday place by the sea, Mal......
TREBOR
20th Jun 2016
9:57pm
Land Value? No-no-no-no-no ... Bahamas doesn't DO land taxes/rates.. so what value is there in a strip of sand with a bit of rock on one end?
niemakawa
20th Jun 2016
11:35am
From the pension , money has to be set aside and more than likely left in the bank for future bill payments, rates, rent, water charges, electricity, gas etc. It is not feasible or even warranted by Centrelink, to give a progressive bank account balance every time it changes. Once the pension has been paid that should be the end of it and if anyone chooses to leave some of it in the bank as savings, then it is no business of Centrelink.
particolor
20th Jun 2016
11:53am
Exactly ! :-)
rob101
20th Jun 2016
11:46am
Even if you are dead Centrelink can still issue a demand on the Executor,if a Debt is owed.
They do not have to tell you in advance that they are going to check your bank account(s)Also
there is no Obligation on the bank to tell you.
Just remember they can and do put a Caveat on your property,if the say you owe a Debt,whether you do or not.
Rob101
niemakawa
20th Jun 2016
12:02pm
There are more than likely Centrelink "stooges" who are active members of this website looking for valuable information!!!!!!!!!
particolor
20th Jun 2016
12:19pm
Yes and I Know who they are :-) :-)
niemakawa
20th Jun 2016
12:23pm
particolor names and addresses please. If you can't beat them join them and become a spy for the PEOPLE>.
TREBOR
20th Jun 2016
9:58pm
They can look all they like - got nothing on me....
particolor
23rd Jun 2016
11:53am
Couldn't be Bothered ! :-(
niemakawa
20th Jun 2016
12:15pm
It is ironic that many of our politicians lie about and hide away their assets, yet here they dictating to us, the people that they are purporting to represent, and keeping tags on not only what we have but how we spend it. How they can live with themselves is beyond me. Australia as is with most modern Western Nations, a democracy in name only.
Charlie
20th Jun 2016
12:16pm
I recall they asked me for statements about the money I had in bank accounts, this was supposed to be about proof of income (or lack of) when I applied for disability pension.

I had to go on disability pension at 55 due to illness so I was permitted to draw my super early.

If I had become ill at 65 I could have had a house and $300000 in the bank, also got the age pension and been able to keep my super, only $100,000. But at 55yo and on disability pension I was penalized for having more than $70,000 in the bank no house, then penalized again for the interest earned on $100,000

A couple of years later they chased me up for not declaring the interest I earned on $2000 in the bank. I had spent the rest because of their money grabbing approach to my super.
At the time I was 60yo and on disability pension. I wonder how much it cost them in processing to chase that up.
rob101
20th Jun 2016
1:28pm
At least I can say(hand on heart)that I am a genuine VICTIM of Centrlink,and having to go to the AAT to get in sorted.They couldn't tell the difference between Hours worked by the whole Dept.and my Earnings.

rob101
Rosret
20th Jun 2016
7:11pm
AAT ?
TREBOR
20th Jun 2016
10:00pm
Australian Army of Torturers - a close affiliation of The Imperial Guild of Soul-less Assassins....
HS
20th Jun 2016
2:10pm
Centrelink may instruct you to produce and present to them your bank statements to prove your declaration/s.
Change in circumstances of your finances and assets that change by $2,000 must be reported within a fortnight of the event. Be it an increase of $2,000 or decrease on your previous reported assets.
niemakawa
20th Jun 2016
2:48pm
Yet Centrelink can take as long as they like to inform you if such changes have affected your pension. If after review they find that an over payment has been made then they demand re- payment immediately. Centrelink needs to lift its game and should be subject to the same 14 day rule.
Sundays
20th Jun 2016
3:22pm
It only takes a few minutes online using the myGov portal. No need to queue, or write letters to update your information. Updating income is easy. when we updated our Assets, they wrote and told us what extra information was required. I found the whole process seamless.
HS
21st Jun 2016
7:47am
niemakawa- If they demand repayment one has an option to repay immediately or in portions, over an agreed reasonable period of time proposed by you.
If one uses the myGov website entry into Centrelink, all updates (from personal experience) are processed within a week.
Appeals and reviews may take longer depending on the circumstances of the case.
Chris G
20th Jun 2016
4:26pm
It is highly unlikely that anyone will scroll far enough down to read this post, but here goes: I am a retired, single female & a recipient of a VERY small Centrelink pension. Out of curiosity I just checked my Centrelink account. Believe me, they cross check data!! Totally unsolicited from me, Centrelink has altered my State Super income! The fact that it is incorrect, unfortunately means a visit to Centrelink, sigh!
niemakawa
20th Jun 2016
4:32pm
Maybe because of deeming rates, which they use to calculate income on a variety of assets.
gravy
20th Jun 2016
4:39pm
Under the Social Security (Administration) Act "SS(A)A" Section 192 they do have the power to require a Bank or any other Financial Institution to provide any detail of your account that they require that is held by the requested organisation. The request has to be in writing and must state the Part of the SS(A)A that allows the request to be made and this means they cannot just phone up your Bank for the detail. Generally the requirement for the use of this power is based on that they have contacted the client/applicant for this information and it has not been provided or is subject to doubt of it's correctness.

This power existed under the old 1940's SSA and exists now under the newer Act.

They can request details from any State or Territory Government, any Business, and or any person that may have relevant information to their decision making process. The refusal by any requested person to supply this information carries severe penalties unless the information is covered by Privilege or is a part of National Security such as in the case of Medical Records or similar the Client is then required to give permission to access those records or they may have their payment or claim refused/cancelled.

The reason they have Data Matching is to avoid the problem that each Federal Organisation is able to void the SS(A)A by the the Federal Act that governs them. So there has to be a framework to share information between them that is outside of the SS(A)A and their Act. The Ministers that are responsible for these Departments get the Data Sharing Act amended as needed to cover changes needed.

SOCIAL SECURITY (ADMINISTRATION) ACT 1999 - SECT 192
General power to obtain information

The Secretary may require a person to give information, or produce a document that is in the person's custody or under the person's control, to the Department if the Secretary considers that the information or document may be relevant to one or more of the following:

(a) the question whether a person who has made a claim for a social security payment is or was qualified for the payment;

(b) the question whether a social security payment is payable to a person who is receiving the payment;

(c) the question whether a social security payment was payable to a person who has received the payment;

(d) the rate of social security payment that is or was applicable to a person;

(daa) the operation of Division 3A of Part 3;

(da) the question whether a person who has made a claim under the Social Security (Fares Allowance) Rules 1998 was eligible for fares allowance;

(db) the operation of Part 3B;

(e) the administration of an agreement between Australia and a foreign country on social security matters;

(f) the question whether a person who has been granted a concession card is or was qualified for the card;

(g) the question whether a person who has applied for financial supplement is eligible for the supplement;

(h) the question whether a person who has obtained a financial supplement is or was eligible for the supplement;

(i) the determination of the maximum amount of financial supplement that a person is eligible for;

(j) the question whether an assurance of support given under Chapter 2C of the 1991 Act should be accepted or rejected.
*Loloften*
25th Jun 2016
12:13am
Centrelink DO have the power to check our bank A/Cs (not the 5+% of ''o'seas" ones by ppl who have something to hide & knowledge to do so - I have neither) whenever they choose. Believe me, I know!! After stagnating for 40-50mins on phone to inform 'em/update any movements in my assets for past few yrs (their website's
a disaster, often not accessible re asset updates) - was told they already knew!!?? Have stopped updating 'em as know that they know my every $$$+ movement.
TREBOR
20th Jun 2016
6:44pm
All this headache could be removed instantly by paying everyone a pension at the same rate, and taxing all income above that. It is not social security that needs to be streamlined - it is taxation with all of its dodges and loop-holes and outright rorts.
niemakawa
20th Jun 2016
7:08pm
I agree. It is the fairest way for all.
Rosret
20th Jun 2016
7:19pm
I agree. Everyone should have a base rate pension and if you have saved for retirement then that should be yours to spend as you please. The system we have is so demeaning for people who have paid taxes all their lives.
Rosret
20th Jun 2016
6:48pm
The trick is to make sure no one throws out your mattress. All other saving deposits have the government's eye firmly on your money. ...and if you don't actively use it for several years they will take it!
ozziejorge
20th Jun 2016
7:29pm
So Centrelink "netted $2.2 million in debts" ...
Wonder how much it cost us for this massive return..??
TREBOR
20th Jun 2016
9:15pm
A lot more when you take into account the costs of offices etc... lessee now $2.2 million divided by two million pensioner and 700,000 unemployed.... less than a dollar a Social Security recipient...

Waste of time, money and energy.... we had a property and some roadside produce - honesty box - if anyone was so desperate they needed to not pay, they were welcome to it.
niemakawa
22nd Jun 2016
11:18am
The best solution is abolish the income/assets tests and give everyone of pension age a basic benefit. Those who claim to be poor can request supplementary payments after lodging a claim with evidence of their finances including last 10 years tax returns.
rob101
22nd Jun 2016
10:49am
Don't forget,make the B****** earn their pay!Go all the way to the AAT, it's free and often Centrelink will make an offer to settle before the hearing.


rob101
glennmor1
22nd Jun 2016
3:04pm
It is important to note that Centrelink only assesses a person's entitlement based on the legislation which has actually been set down by the Government. Whilst in other countries there may not be a means test, generally the pension paid is based on years worked or as in the UK amount contributed. The UK model is effectively a Government run superannuation scheme, however there is no interest accrued and you only get back what you put in. In Australia, whether or not you have worked, or contributed to Government, is irrelevant. The Government of the day sets the maximum amount for each payment, and their is an income test for all payment, as well as an assets test for all 'welfare' payments such as pensions. This is based on the premise that the Government cannot afford to continue to just pay everyone welfare payments. Where citizens have income and/or assets which make them able to partially or fully support themselves, the Government (and therefore the the current tax payers) should not have to top this up. We have to remember that it is not the 'Governments' money, it is money collected from current tax payers which is then distributed via Centrelink, the Department of Veteran Affairs etc. to people who are eligible and entitled to receive it under the legislation. Whilst Centrelink and it's staff do make errors, they are only human and do not intentionally make mistakes as they understand the impact this can have on customers, and the staff that you talk to on the phone or see in the office have no control over the rules which govern how much you are paid etc.. I spent 23 and a half years working for the Department of Social Security and Centrelink finishing up in 2013, and experienced thousands of changes successive Governments made to the rules, which the staff had to learn, whilst both Labor and the Coalition have consistently cut funding and reduced the amount of staff by thousands, whilst still expecting the remaining staff to keep up with the changes, provide the same level of customer service.
jamesmn
23rd Jun 2016
2:02pm
centrelink does check peoples bank accounts as does work cover this has been going on for many years.
Happylady216
24th Jun 2016
1:17pm
I am grateful that we have a wonderful support system and as I paid for so long to support others and my children now are paying to support us I am glad that they try to minimise fraud. Benefits are to assist those who need it,they are welcome to check my financial status at any time. Whenever there has been a problem they have attempted and succeeded to rectify it ASAP. Thanks also to the wonderful support systems which assist me to make good use of benefits.
tactful
21st Jul 2016
3:16pm
Oh my, having just read all your comments and whinges etc. I would like to remind each and every one of you that a Welfare Payment is NOT A RIGHT, you have not paid tax to get it and yes you do need to tell Centrelink about everything you have.
It is about time old farts stopped whinging and started to think with their brains. Life is tough when you do not have sufficient funds to continue living the lifestyle to which you became accustomed when you were working. That is purely your own bloody fault, as to the additional whinge that I want to leave my children an inheritance is pure rubbish, by the time you die, if your children have not got their finances sorted they never will.
Opening bank accounts for children is irresponsible and stupid, you would be much better served opening a superannuation account or school education fund, something truly worthwhile.
It is sickening to read all the whinging that goes on about handouts from Government, just be bloody grateful we actually have a welfare system which is more than can be said for many countries.
The taxes you paid over your lifetime did not all go into the welfare bucket, welfare is a safety net, not a right and it is high time you old farts remembered that.
I am in my mid 60's and I for one do not look upon the small amount of Age Pension I get as a right, I am certainly happy to get this additional help with living.
Just stop your whining, go out and do something useful with yourselves, volunteer at an Op Shop, go to a Nursing Home and visit people, read to them, just stop putting yourselves first, last and always, you are a sick lot.


Join YOURLifeChoices, it’s free

  • Receive our daily enewsletter
  • Enter competitions
  • Comment on articles

you might also be interested in...

Is Centrelink checking your bank account?

Does Centrelink have the power to check your bank account? The answer may surprise you.

Income test limits for pensions

The CPI rise in pension payments is also reflected by an increase in the amount of income you can receive before you lose your pension completely.

Utility bills are on the rise

YOURLifeChoices shows how to reduce your power costs and make your life that little bit easier.

Increased asset test limits

Asset limits have been reviewed and increased in line with recent CPI pension increases.

Guide to Centrelink

YOURLifeChoices answer your questions on the Age Pension, Starting retirement and using Centrelink Online Services.