27th Mar 2014
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Pension paid to convicted murderer
Pension paid to convicted murderer

Human Services Minister Marise Payne has ordered an investigation after convicted murderer Martin Toki was paid the Disability Support Pension for nine months while serving a lengthy jail sentence. Toki is currently serving a 22-year sentence for the 1999 murder of his girlfriend Pauline Anne Croarkin. In 2009, while serving his sentence in Goulburn jail, Toki was charged with malicious damage, but was found not guilty due to mental illness. Since that date, Toki has been detained under the Mental Health Act and held in various mental health facilities.

Toki was transferred to Sydney’s Long Bay jail hospital wing in 2010, where he applied for a Disability Support Pension and was approved to receive payments. Toki’s payments were stopped in July 2011 when Centrelink discovered Toki was serving a sentence for murder thanks to an anonymous phone tip. Under social security laws, criminals serving jail sentences are not eligible for welfare payments.

Toki appealed Centrelink’s decision to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal arguing that other fellow inmates in the jail’s mental health ward were being paid Disability Support Pensions.

The Abbott government has said that Centrelink’s decision to pay Toki a Disability Support Pension was a “serious administrative error”.

The money paid to Toki, totalling more than $10,000, cannot be recovered by Centrelink as it was the agency’s mistake which led to Toki being paid the Disability Support Pension pension for nine months.

Read more at www.ninemsn.com.au

 

Opinion: No change in sight

The fact that a prisoner serving a 22-year sentence for murder has been paid more than $10,000 in Disability Support Pension payments is troubling. What’s even more concerning is the testimony from the prisoner that other inmates being held in mental health facilities are also receiving Disability Support Pension payments from Centrelink.

Under social security laws some mental health patients are eligible to receive the Disability Support Pension payments, but not those who are serving prison sentences at the time. So how did this error occur and has it been overlooked for years or even decades?

The public’s trust in Centrelink has slowly declined over the past few years as phone wait times and front-of-house lines steadily rise due to a lack of resources and over-worked staff. This latest debacle has certainly left me shaking my head.

Unfortunately, no one has been held responsible for this serious mistake, with ‘administrative error’ being given as the cause. No one will lose their job over this incident and chances are little will change in the application process.

I wholeheartedly support Minister Payne in ordering an investigation into every recipient of the Disability Support Pension currently in a mental health facility so that we can ensure no other administrative errors have taken place and that taxpayers money can be channelled back to the community through welfare payments to those who deserve it the most.

What do you think? Does someone at Centrelink have to lose their job over this debacle? Is this just one slip up of many more to come at Centrelink with reduced staff numbers? Were you surprised to learn that Centrelink can’t claim the money back? 





    COMMENTS

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    Jurassicgeek
    27th Mar 2014
    10:32am
    and while Centrelink is busy hounding people who earn a little on top of their pensions, the real cheats are getting away....typical...
    Anonymous
    27th Mar 2014
    3:55pm
    Yes, you are right Jurassicgeek….. Murdoch got $882,000,000 (yes $882million) from the ATO in rebates. BHP & Rio Tinto got $100million for…. who the hell knows, indirectly, from the current government. They ARE the real and most expensive cheats!

    $10000 to a low life in prison is chicken feed.

    When are we going to have an enquiry into how much mega corporations and wealthy elite squeeze out of taxpayers coffers!!!

    The average hard working Australian and highest taxed taxpayer, can no longer afford to finance such greedy parasites as the WEALTHY ELITE. They simply extract and give very little back.
    Anonymous
    27th Mar 2014
    3:58pm
    Ooops…… even Abbott has stolen over $84000 in travel funds, that belong to the taxpayers of Australia….. he is a sociopath who is hell bent on raping Australia of its wealth and giving it to the those that already have much, much more than plenty.
    sidney70
    28th Mar 2014
    10:26am
    Ooops and the labor party was honest,comeon.I am a down the middle voter and looking from the sideline I see a lot of dishonesty from both sides.
    griwi
    27th Mar 2014
    10:45am
    the cuts to services are partially to blame - however this is a very long-term problem, too many people slipping through cracks - should have a specialist team to do a thorough clean-up
    Nightshade
    27th Mar 2014
    11:13am
    Is the real problem being ignored though ?
    In house people slipping through the cracks -
    The Federal police have such teams - in fact they are such teams - but is there the will.
    It is the easiest thing to sit at a computer terminal & set up several extra incomes & a nice little nest egg for yourself & have them transferred into accounts of your choice & including off shore.
    After all these accounts are your exclusive clients -
    The cuts maybe, in reality the government finally dealing with the massive in house problem of fraud - the tip of the iceberg so far.
    Nightshade
    27th Mar 2014
    11:14am
    We need to wake up & smell the coffee mate !
    Pass the Ductape
    27th Mar 2014
    11:19am
    Not only does the tax payer pay for the privilege of locking a prisoner up and paying a benefit to some, in most cases, if the partner of incarcerated person doesn't have a job, or finds the going a bit tough, the tax payer foots the bill for them as well.
    Curmudgeon
    27th Mar 2014
    11:26am
    Let the shake up in Centrelink start at the top.
    Chummy
    27th Mar 2014
    11:28am
    From what I have experienced with centrelink lately the left doesn't know what the right is doing.
    In just over a week I have made 3 trips to have their mistakes corrected.
    Because of their mistake I have missed out on a portion of my carer payment.
    As far as paying anyone in jail goes all I can say is" you must be joking".
    It just beggars belief.
    Why should anyone in jail be paid benefits?
    They do the crime they should do the time without government assistance.
    dippity
    27th Mar 2014
    11:49am
    I can't understand why the money can't be recovered for two reasons:
    1. the money was received after a fraudulent claim - people have gone to gaol for such claims. Don't they have to pay the money back either?

    2. I have been overpaid on two separate occasions - not of my doing, nor my fault as all information was provided within the required timeframe. On both occasions it was demanded that I repay the money, which I did in weekly instalments. Does this obscure rule about fault mean that I could have told them to go jump?
    Wendy HK
    27th Mar 2014
    7:59pm
    CL has just discovered that they accidentally overpaid us by $150 two years ago when I had a job for 4 days (I reported it) I've had to pay it back.

    27th Mar 2014
    11:59am
    It's time the responsible employee at Centrelink was held accountable for serious payment errors such as this.
    If I made a major error in information provided to Centrelink, and was overpaid $10,000, I would be forced to repay the full amount and also be fined as well.
    Being a public servant should not provide them with full immunity from serious errors as regards payment, because they are being paid on the basis of being competent in their job and being thorough with cross-checking the information provided to them.
    I wonder if the payments being sent to, Martin Toki, C/- of Long Bay Jail, would have possibly alerted someone at Centrelink eventually? Talk about asleep at the wheel.
    Fiona
    27th Mar 2014
    12:00pm
    I too am surprised you don't have to pay back money for their mistakes as my friend my daughter and I have at various times had to pay back money they had assured us was the right thing. We certainly hadn't done anything dodgy.

    27th Mar 2014
    12:05pm
    CENTRELINK has the mental health problems...HALFWITS work there
    Blossom
    27th Mar 2014
    12:25pm
    Perhaps the Correctional Services Dept should remind inmates that they have to notify Centrlink when they enter prison. Some may be deliberate, others may simply forget to notify them.
    dippity
    27th Mar 2014
    2:22pm
    maybe the left hand has a responsibility to know what the right hand is doing. Why is the penal system not advising Centrelink of their clientele? This guy did this deliberately! No prisoner is going to bother following rules re Centrelink whilst in gaol when they had a problem following rules on the outside.
    Julkay
    27th Mar 2014
    1:11pm
    It is about time that people, who pay their taxes all their lives are the ones looked after. I am sick and tired of hearing from doll bludges that they are earning more than an average worker. This is uaually 2 and 3 generations of the same household. The disability pension being paid to this criminal is just another tip of the iceburg. I am a pensioner, worked all my life and paid my taxes and found it quite difficult to get a disability pension when I couldn't work anymore.
    Anonymous
    27th Mar 2014
    5:30pm
    The mega corporations and wealthy elite cost you a lot, lot more but I am sure that is what you mean…. they certainly are mostly bludgers
    Wstaton
    27th Mar 2014
    1:29pm
    I guess they will have to put another sentence on the application form-

    "Are you currently serving a jail term"
    Chummy
    27th Mar 2014
    2:21pm
    Even then they will lie Wstaton!
    Wstaton
    27th Mar 2014
    3:19pm
    Yeah Chummy but then they would have to pay it back when found out. (if they ever were)
    KSS
    27th Mar 2014
    2:52pm
    One would have thought that any application with an address containing "Long Bay Jail" (or similar) would automatically trigger an investigation of the applicant. But obviously not.

    As to why the money cannot be recouped..... The man is in prison, no access to his bank account. Save for the cost of a few toiletries, perhaps a packet of biscuits a week and a pack of cigs a week, where has the money gone? Centrelink seems to have a rich history of demanding overpayments back regardless of who initiated the error so I fail to understand why they can't simply make the same demand here.
    Penqueen1949
    27th Mar 2014
    3:32pm
    To even apply for a Disability Pension part of the form has to be filled out by your own doctor. After the application is submitted the claimant has to see the Centrelink doctor to be further assessed. It seems to me that the government doctor would be at fault as well as whoever rubber stamped the application. Of course the money should be paid back no matter if it was the departments fault. The murdering prisoner is not entitled to the pension, full stop, no ifs or buts!
    Penqueen1949
    27th Mar 2014
    3:32pm
    To even apply for a Disability Pension part of the form has to be filled out by your own doctor. After the application is submitted the claimant has to see the Centrelink doctor to be further assessed. It seems to me that the government doctor would be at fault as well as whoever rubber stamped the application. Of course the money should be paid back no matter if it was the departments fault. The murdering prisoner is not entitled to the pension, full stop, no ifs or buts!
    lorra
    27th Mar 2014
    6:33pm
    They certainly chased up someone I know who was overpaid- and made them pay back in instalments!
    blondie
    27th Mar 2014
    6:53pm
    How does this happen when one has to give so many current details regarding breathing eating residence when just talking let alone apply for benifts.
    who checks on the incompetented staff who got paid for not doing their job..Instant sacking pkeade
    Tom Tank
    27th Mar 2014
    10:30pm
    This just seems incredible. If you travel overseas the Immigration Dept advise Centrelink that you have left the country and then also when you return. Surely it is not too much to expect the Penal authorities do the same when prisoners enter gaol and then when they finish their time.
    My personal experience with Centrelink has been positive any time I have contacted them but I do have reservations about some of their systems. There is no doubt they are seriously understaffed and probably underfunded to boot.
    MITZY
    28th Mar 2014
    11:38am
    Good comment Tom Tank. I also have never had a problem with my dealings with Centrelink. The staff have always been courteous at all times and efficient. One has the opportunity sitting opposite a Centrelink employee to partake in what he or she is inputting into the computer and discuss anomalies at the time. I doubt this type of incident of a mentally affected prisoner would be the norm, if he was mentally affected it seems ludicrous that he went to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal to have the disability pension restored!? That would have been further waste of taxpayers' taxes also. He was paid this disability pension of $10,000 for approximately 9 months so when you consider how slow the wheels of government revolved, it could be considered a pretty fast moving wheel in this instance!
    etnorb
    28th Mar 2014
    8:14am
    Yeah, right! In our case, we were "mistakenly" overpaid some $12,000 or so, which, if the idiots at Center Link had turned over the letter sent to them by the income Protection Insurance company, "they" would have seen that we only got some $4,000 or so, & that the 'scheme had paid back to Center Link some $6,000 or so, to compensate for 6 months of getting payments from Center Link! We have lodged an appeal, which seems to take for ever & a day to be decided on, in the meantime, my Pension has been cut from the full Age pension to about $380 a fortnight, my wife has had her New-start allowance cut from what she was receiving to $113 a fortnight! She has "paid back" (sic) the supposed $500 or so she was "overpaid" & I am paying mine back at $25:00 a fortnight. We "had" to do this or we would have been hounded by them for "over payments"! I have contacted Center Link on several occasions but we have yet to hear back from them about what they describe as a "keying error" (what a load of rubbish!), the only error was them not turning over the letter we sent them, which detailed exactly what my wife was to get from her Income Protection, which was only about the $4,000 or so, as mentioned above! Bloody Public "Service" gone mad!
    Bella
    28th Mar 2014
    10:22am
    They pay dead people for years, they pay backpackers who are not even in the country, but leave Australia for more than 6 weeks and they cut out your concessions etc. go to jail, embezzle money, rip of the baks and superannuation get a slap over the wrist, and keep the dough....who are the dills here...? Yes the honest people. Crime pays.
    speakup
    29th Mar 2014
    4:55am
    This prisoner (for murder) also receives free medical treatment,whereas Australian law abiding Pensioners are denied such luxuries and have to suffer .Our Premier can afford the very best of medical treatment with his $70.000 increase in salary provided by a 3 person tribunal of which he implicated last year,why cant Pensioners have the same three I.R.T idiots decide on Pension increases,who are the real criminals here
    Nightshade
    30th Mar 2014
    4:42pm
    It is not possible that this story & others like it are created or fabricated so as to hide the real CHEATS - THE IN HOUSE STAFFERS ?
    Those who are tied to their computer screen too busy to SERVE CENTRELINK CLIENTS ?
    Hence they wait for hours

    IMAGINE THIS -
    Here you are an honest pensioner
    Suddenly you are overpaid
    CRIMINAL YOU
    Now you are sent a threatening letter
    Now you are also having to pay back monies that were FRAUDULENTLY PAID TO YOU BY CENTERLINK
    Hang on that"s not correct - SOME ONE AT CENTRELINK -
    Someone creating a diversion ?
    Someone maybe covering up a bigger fraud of their own ?
    But you are the one - the stooge that gets to go through the ringer & have your life stuffed because of someone who is cleverer than you & has their fingers on the pulse of things - someone doing the wrong thing & getting away with it year after year.
    AND POINTING THE FINGER AT YOU MATE !
    AND YOU KNOW WHAT EVERYONE BELIEVES IT IS YOU .
    Nightshade
    30th Mar 2014
    4:51pm
    THERE IS A STORY CURRENTLY IN THE DAILY MAIL WHERE ONE DEGENERATE FAMILY HAD TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY THOUSAND POUNDS OF WELFARE MONEY SPENT ON THEM -
    TAX PAYERS MONEY -
    NOW WHAT ARE THE ODD THAT THE MONEY WAS ACTUALLY SPENT ON THIS DEGENERATE FAMILY -
    The monies were syphoned off into the pockets of the councilors & other professionals who "HELPED" this degenerate family
    THE ACTUAL FAMILY DID NOT SEE A PENNY
    YET THEY ARE THE WELFARE CHEATS
    Needless to say that this particular case is being investigated -
    Nightshade
    30th Mar 2014
    4:59pm
    Q:-
    Where is the investigative branch of the MEDIA while this is going on ?
    Where are the ABC
    PAID FOR - to the tune of ONE POINT THREE BILLION DOLLARS EACH YEAR - FROM THE PUBLIC PURSE
    It seems that the attitude around at the ABC is - "kick back & relax man - stead as she goes"
    STAUNCH SUPPORTERS OF PRIVATIZATION
    YET THEY HAVE NOT OFFERED THEMSELVES UP FOR THE CHOPPING BLOCK
    HOW SO - ?
    IT MUST BE NICE ON EASY STREET HEY !
    Finni
    30th Jun 2014
    6:59pm
    Thanks for highlighting the mental health of prisoners, it good to see that prisoners are on a saving plan, that meets the governments requirements to be able to obtain the DBS
    Having to go though the wringer to obtain a support pension and working for 30 years and now a widower and. My 2 boys working no one will employ me as I cannot stand longer than 2 hrs due to pain, but who cares


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