Age Pension: Centrelink to expand robo-debt program

Pensioners could be the next group to be hit with robo-debt letters.

pensioners with centrelink debt recovery letter

Pensioners could be the next group to be in the firing line with confirmation that Centrelink’s robo-debt recovery program will be expanded from 1 July 2017.

In an expansion of the program, which the Department of Human Services believes will raise close to $1 billion, Centrelink will cross reference information it holds on interest earned and asset values with details received from the Australian Tax Office (ATO).

Representatives from the Department of Human Services confirmed to the Senate inquiry in the ‘robo-debt debacle’ that the program will raise a total of $980 million over three years once the expansion of the program is in place. However, in good news for pensioners, it also confirmed that any discrepancies would be manually checked, hopefully avoiding unnecessary debt collection notices being sent to pension recipients.

After the Senate inquiry, committee member and Labor senator Murray Watt called for the program to be paused. "No one has been able to convince this inquiry that this system has been running so smoothly that we aren't going to see a whole bunch of new problems emerge on July 1 with this expansion, with a particularly vulnerable group of Australians being older people," he said.

At the height of the program, which to date has raised $70 million more than expected, Centrelink was sending 20,000 letters a week. Due to postal constraints, this has been reduced to 10,000. During the inquiry, the Department of Human Services conceded that it was difficult to know when exactly during the financial year people has been employed as the ATO records used to cross match data didn't have such details.

The full report into the robo-debt recovery program is expected to be released in June.

Read more at thecanberratimes.com.au

Opinion: Let’s hope lessons have been learned

The expansion of Centrelink’s robo-debt recovery program is likely to have many pensioners worried, but hopefully the addition of crosschecking the details will prevent any further debacle.

From day one Centrelink’s robo-debt recovery program was flawed from the humanitarian view point. Data-matching information from two systems that hold a different scope of detail could only result in discrepancies. That such discrepancies could be over a period of five years and that it was up to the individuals to provide clarification in such a short space of time, over a busy Christmas period no less, was simply asking too much of a system that had not been fully tested.

It seems, however, that lessons have indeed been learned and the next phase of the program, which will cross reference income earned and asset values, will at least have any discrepancies checked by a human. This isn't to say that a human won't make errors, but it is a step in the right direction.

With just over a month until the expansion of the program commences, it may be worthwhile checking that the information held by Centrelink is indeed correct.

What do you think? Do you think the program should be expanded? Do you think pensioners will be wrongly targeted or does the inclusion of cross checking of discrepancies by a human give you some comfort? 

RELATED ARTICLES





    COMMENTS

    To make a comment, please register or login
    Nan Norma
    22nd May 2017
    10:26am
    Most age pensioners don't pay tax so how can their pensions be cross referenced with the ATO.
    TREBOR
    22nd May 2017
    10:55am
    Working pensioners nan - I was one up until a year ago. Let's see what these vultures can find in my murky past, where I calculated every fortnight and sometimes went in their favour a little.

    If they take me on, they will be fighting me all the way to the top and then I'll be claiming payment for stress etc.
    TREBOR
    22nd May 2017
    11:02am
    Absolute parasites the lot of them - a politician cops a lifetime pension for stuffing the country - a public servant can pull out for stress or injury and cop a lifetime indexed pension as well, and they can all go get another job and still get it without losing any 'pension'.

    The peasants must survive on a pittance as reward for putting up with the shenanigans of politicians and public servants in ruining (sic) the country, and then not only is it not indexed, but they lose some if they have the damned gall to go out and work for a few more measly dollars.

    One rule for one - another set for the peasants.

    Until everyone is handed equal treatment, they have no moral ground to stand on.
    jackie
    22nd May 2017
    11:12am
    The rich have to be the majority in this country to have voted this Government in. They are the only people that benefit from this Government.
    Old Geezer
    22nd May 2017
    11:14am
    Centrelink will cross reference your assets with the ATO.
    GeorgeM
    22nd May 2017
    12:28pm
    Good comments, TREBOR. They need to:

    a) Stop the system till it is fully fixed (first, sack / replace the morons who produced a system which does not work and has created stress for many). In the case of Age Pensioners, I would worry about the impact on the health / indeed survival of some if they receive wrong demand letters.

    b) Use the system for the recovery by ATO of the high levels of fraud there, e.g. how did they get the evasion to $165 Million in a recent case, without ATO taking action earlier? That can recover far more in lost tax revenue.

    c) Leave Age Pensioners alone - by giving Age Pensions to all who have worked / paid taxes here for say 20 years and tax all income above that (ATO can do all that). Then, a much smaller Centrelink workforce will be needed to monitor the rest.
    HarrysOpinion
    22nd May 2017
    12:53pm
    “will cross reference information it holds on interest earned “, wrote Debbie McTaggart
    in this article.

    – The interest earned by pensioner funds in the savings bank, term deposits has no relevance because all declared fund amounts are subject to the Income Deeming Rule (IDR) irrespective whether you earn 10% pa or 2% pa from such cash investments. The IDR is 1.75% for first $49,200 and 3.25% for any amount over. You can have up to (approx) $150,000 in cash bank savings or term deposits earning interest and still qualify for the full pension. In addition you can earn $162 per fortnight in extra income from casual or part time employment and still qualify. The affect on the full pension is if, one exceeds the allowed threshold and uses up their entire Work Bonus Offset. –
    – Unless, of course, the government intends to shift the goal post again and reduce pensions by a calculation that penalises the pensioner for earning more interest than the IDR. If such was to be the case then many pensioner can expect a refund for the overcharging by the government by the IDR. That’s not going to happen,-
    – But, if you do have an amount of funds that is the maximum of the threshold, any interest earned will add to your savings and you will exceed the threshold amount. The thing to do is to spend your interest earned, on whatever, every year and maintain your savings balance up to the threshold limit so you don’t exceed it. Nothing wrong with this, it helps to spin the commerce economy. Once you exceed the threshold the IDR will begin to reduce your full pension accordingly. -
    – It is not the amount of interest earned that might be an issue but how much you declared in the change of your circumstances regarding cash holdings.
    pedro the swift
    22nd May 2017
    10:29am
    Once again, target those least able to afford this nonsense. Why not target assets of the most wealthy to correlate their incomes and assets. Or ensure that the big companies pay the proper tax and not use "dodges" and offshore accounting to cheat the OZI society.
    Old Geezer
    22nd May 2017
    10:52am
    The ATO already does this and has been doing so for decades now.
    TREBOR
    22nd May 2017
    10:54am
    I await with bated breath the next round that these constitutional liars can come up with.
    Play Fairly
    22nd May 2017
    10:52pm
    Time for all pensioners to demand some peace and quiet after their lifetime of working and contributing to this country's wealth.

    However, if this is too hard for the government to arrange, pensioners have every right to advocate that politicians be made to wait until they reach 70 before they are eligible to collect their parliamentary pensions. The Aged Pension eligibility age of 65 for workers should never have been increased, as from 1 July this year, every year the pension eligibility age increases by 6 months until it reaches age 70.

    If the government makes workers work until 70 before they are eligible for the Aged Pension, then politicians shouldn't be eligible for their pensions until they turn 70 either.

    We have, unfortunately, ended up with a greedy government who couldn't give two hoots for ordinary people, and they are getting remunerated far too generously by the Australian taxpayer for doing this country and its people what amounts to a great disservice.
    niemakawa
    22nd May 2017
    11:20pm
    @Play Fairly. You are right in what you say. Their day will come and it is not too far away. Dissent is on the rise all over this Country from both young and old, so it is just a matter of time. I just hope I can hold out long enough to see the hangings of the political elite. I want to party.
    AutumnOz
    23rd May 2017
    6:01am
    I agree politicians should have to abide by the same rules as the rest of us, however, I doubt they will ever even consider a suggestion they need to wait until 70 years of age for their pensions to be paid into their pockets.
    Justsane
    27th May 2017
    3:25am
    Not quite right, Play Fairly. The pension age is going to be increased to age 67, not 70.

    This webpage: https://www.finder.com.au/australian-age-pension-eligibility-requirements
    states that:

    "To be eligible for the age pension, you must be 65 years or older, regardless of whether you're male or female. From 1 July 2017, the qualifying age will increase to 65 years and six months. The qualify age will increase by six months every two years, to 67 years by 1 July 2023."
    Budwah
    22nd May 2017
    11:12am
    Shouldn't Representatives from the Department of Human Services be recovering monies rather than saying that the program will raise money. Shows how out of touch they are with the real world. It's a recovery program not a money making one. Besides if a lot of honest law abiding pensioners dont pay tax how's it going to work?
    Old Geezer
    22nd May 2017
    11:16am
    ATO know what your assets are so they will cross reference them.
    Budwah
    22nd May 2017
    11:16am
    I'll bet if they find that they owe pensioners a refund that the pensioners will be waiting a while to receive it but if the shoe is on the other foot it'll be pay up quickly or else.
    Old Geezer
    22nd May 2017
    11:40am
    Bad luck if you haven't claimed everything you won't get a refund.
    Sundays
    22nd May 2017
    12:31pm
    How does the ATO know your assets. It knows shares, managed funds and interest on bank account as well as your earnings from wages and super but no other assets.
    HarrysOpinion
    22nd May 2017
    1:00pm
    ATO wouldn't know what private assests an individual has because ATO is only concerned with Income Assessments and Income Assesment from property investments and Share investments. DHS would know only the assets that you need to declare.
    TREBOR
    22nd May 2017
    1:43pm
    Colonel C'Link know your declared assets.... how many don't declare them? You could have a boat in the backyard and not declare it... big deal - it doesn't earn you money.

    If you have cash assets or property HERE in Australia, they can check on it.

    To me, that's never been a problem - but recent activity has lead to a glaring need for a total overhaul of the entire retirement package scheme - for all!! And that may well include dumping the assets test and paying all pension, then taxing all income and fringe benefits and income-bearing assets above that.

    Then watch the loop-holes appear for the mighty..... bevies of beagles legal beavering to bash holes in the system.. as usual ... acres of accountants aching to accrue assets for the rich without penalty....
    niemakawa
    22nd May 2017
    1:59pm
    @OG , financial assets yes I agree. But what about non-financial ones?
    Old Geezer
    22nd May 2017
    2:24pm
    That's where there other intelligence gathering comes in.
    niemakawa
    22nd May 2017
    2:30pm
    @OG you mean "snoopers" in the backyard!! Be careful for what you wish such a move would be all encompassing. "Every move you make,I'll be watching you". Would you really want such a society.
    Old Geezer
    22nd May 2017
    2:43pm
    If you are on a full OAP with no assets and cruise on luxury cruises 9 months of the year I think that would sound the alarm bells very loudly. If you buy and register a luxury car then they will know about it. Buy that million dollar painting at auction etc. You need to behave like an OAP with nought otherwise you will get caught. Way too many jealous people in our society today I'm afraid. Even I have been put into Centrelink and I have nothing at all to do with them myself.
    TREBOR
    22nd May 2017
    4:09pm
    As I've said before, Budway etc - any time I wasn't 100% sure, I usually over-stated income by a few dollars - so if they come after me I will want a fully indexed refund cheque.
    niemakawa
    22nd May 2017
    4:27pm
    @TREBOR. It doesn't work that way unfortunately. But you are wise to overstate if not a 100% certain.
    leek
    22nd May 2017
    11:15am
    Nan- Centrelink can check with the ATO any details that has your Tax file number on it.
    So most bank accounts have the TFN on it. If you make a very large amount of interest and that does not reflect what you told centrelink you have in the bank, then a robo letter will be generated. So lets say you have $600,000 in the bank generating say 4% interest, but only told Centrelink you have $200,000, then this can be picked up- Does this make sense? This is how Centrelink will check the Aged Pensioners.
    Nan Norma
    22nd May 2017
    11:22am
    leek. But doesn't Centrelink already do that?
    HarrysOpinion
    22nd May 2017
    1:19pm
    They probably do it at random where there are suspicions regarding your declared change of circumstances. For example, where a person declares an inheritance of $300,000 as a change of circumstances and that amount is reduced by half within the first 12 months. You can expect a phone call asking you to explain. One pensioner bought a residential unit as a principal residence, furniture and a car, declared value of furniture, car and the balance of funds and they got a phone call from Centrelink H/O to "please explain". I'm sure Centrelink would have assured themselves as to the explanation by running a back door audit/ check on the pensioner's bank statements, Land Titles Office and anything else.
    Misty
    22nd May 2017
    6:19pm
    I am sure they know already Nan, once I used to get a form to fill out and modify all my bank details. assets etc but haven't had one for a couple of years, I rang once when I paid out a large amount and was told to only notify them if it was $2,000.00 or more.
    Dorliz
    22nd May 2017
    11:27am
    Before Centrelink targets aged pensioners by cross reference with the taxation records, how about the Taxation Dept. cross reference itself and recover the 165 million it has allowed to be fraudulently misappropriated.
    Budwah
    22nd May 2017
    11:31am
    Well said, but will it ever happen?
    KSS
    22nd May 2017
    12:22pm
    For goodness sake that Dorliz that case is already being investigated with more than a dozen arrested and charged. I'd say the cross referencing has already been done in that case.
    Sundays
    22nd May 2017
    12:38pm
    Cross referencing yes, but they will only recover half the money. Let's hope they also look at other payroll companies who might be doing the same thing
    HarrysOpinion
    22nd May 2017
    1:22pm
    ATO have declared that the $165 million is "False News".
    TREBOR
    22nd May 2017
    1:45pm
    Of course it is - just a beat-up in the media despite the twelve arrested etc...
    Janiel
    22nd May 2017
    11:37am
    I cannot fathom how most comments here seem to indicate that it's acceptable to misrepresent their financial situation to obtain more money from our hardworking taxpayers, surely a fair system for all Australians is desirable, this is a step in the right direction towards achieving this
    Old Geezer
    22nd May 2017
    1:45pm
    Agree far too many tell porkies.
    TREBOR
    22nd May 2017
    1:48pm
    I haven't seen that...... tell 'er she's dreamin'....
    Misty
    22nd May 2017
    6:27pm
    I don't know how you got that impression Janiel, no one is saying on here that they have deliberately misled Centrelink.
    inextratime
    22nd May 2017
    11:49am
    I wonder how many people are employed in Centrelink to spend so much time recovering this money and how much their wage bill, super, sick leave, holiday pay etc is costing ? But of course if you employ lots of people to do this work it keeps your unemployment figures down. I know a fair amount of PS's in other agencies and believe me there could be millions of dollars 'recovered' in a complete analysis of PS practices and employment levels.
    Jen50
    22nd May 2017
    11:50am
    This terrifies me. Not because we are guilty of fraud, but because my husband was on a Carers Pension for his mother who lived with us, then he transferred to the Age Pension after she died. At the same time he continued to earn around $6,000-$8,000 a year in the small manufacturing business that he had operated it from home since 1986. The business steadily declined over the years because of cheaper imports. We declared everything & lodged tax returns through an accountant. The ABR contacted us and suggested we cancel the ABN because of the low income. I sought advice from the ATO who suggested we switch to Hobby Income, which we did & we cancelled the ABN. There was no income at all shortly before and after the switch. We weren't required to lodge a tax return, we just had to let them know of any earnings. I retired from office work just over 3 years ago and we are both in a full pension because I had very little superannuation & my husband has none. I worry that I might have missed something or that Centrelink will assume things and/or make a mistake. If they do, I don't know if I have it in me anymore to rake up and put together evidence that we have declared everything and paid all our taxes. I'm tired, and I'm done with paperwork, dealing with bureaucrats and stress.
    KSS
    22nd May 2017
    12:29pm
    You cannot bury your head in the sand Jen50 and ignore this. It will catch up with you. I would suggest you be pro-active and make sure you have your ducks in a row and do it before 1 July when you are not under pressure to respond to an enquiry about your business affairs.

    And if you have any concerns then contact the ATO and/or Centrelink ahead of time. Saying you are "tired, and done with paperwork, dealing with bureaucrats and stress" will not be a defence if it turns out something has been overlooked.
    HarrysOpinion
    22nd May 2017
    1:45pm
    If he got his pension and continued working earning $6,000-$8,000 pa.
    Did he declare the income fortnightly to Centrelink? Did he continue to do his Tax Assesmrnt annually declaring the pension income and the employment earnings? Because he should have. If he did, then nothing to worry about, if he didn't, then both of you need to make a quick trip to Centrelink to sort things out. Take his pay slips with him. Bear in mind that, the first $81 per week ($162 per fortnight + any Work Bonus Offset) may minimise any liability owed to Centrelink. Unfortunately, ignorance is not an excuse, if that is the case
    Autumn
    22nd May 2017
    12:18pm
    responding to TREBOR re public servant parasites... must clarify that while politicians do receive a public funded pension, public servants do not as they are like any other person with superannuation. Please do not make unfair blame and criticism on public servants for the decisions of government and circumstances of politicians. Very different scenarios
    Anonymous
    22nd May 2017
    12:35pm
    Sorry Autumn, public servants receive super of between 15.1% and 17.4% which is much higher than the 9.5% to those in the private sector.
    Sundays
    22nd May 2017
    12:44pm
    Public servants also mostly pay 5% of their after tax pay into their super and it is compulsory. In the Private sector the employer pays the super. If public servants work for 35 years, and invested the compulsory 5% themselves they would actually have a lot more than they end up with. I've done the math.
    Anonymous
    22nd May 2017
    12:59pm
    This is from the Department of Finance web page Autumn.

    "PSS members can make contributions of between 2% and 10% of superannuation salary or can elect to make no contributions. Those contributions are, in most circumstances, paid each fortnight into the PSS Fund. When you contribute your employer also pays an employer productivity contribution of approximately 3% of superannuation salary into the PSS Fund. Your defined benefit also includes an unfunded component that depends on the level of your contributions."

    Your claim that the 5% is compulsory seems to be at odds with the Department.
    KSS
    22nd May 2017
    1:07pm
    And anyone can salary sacrifice into super or make after tax contributions at the same or even higher rates (subject to the super caps).
    Placido
    22nd May 2017
    1:21pm
    Sunday, the comment "in the private sector the employer pays the super" is not an accurate assumption" When I was working superannuation was calculateed in the "salary package" that one received so it was not a "gift" from the employer nor an extra cost to the employer all worked out when you applied for the job. Also thanks to %&#$* John Howard and his superannuation surchage theft I had to pay an extra tax on my super. Due to a large allowance for after hours callout and standby (fixed allowance) my taxable income was 33% higher than my my superannuation base (employer would not pay super on allowances) so I was hit by a stupid tax that was taxing me for something that I didn't receive but because my taxable income fell into the trap I was ripped off nothing like a badly thought out piece of legislation.
    TREBOR
    22nd May 2017
    1:51pm
    You miss my point - retirement early on disability will net a PS 2/3 salary indexed for life - and they can still work another job without penalty to pension.

    One rule for the masters, and one for the knaves, and one for the little boy who runs all the slaves....
    AutumnOz
    22nd May 2017
    4:28pm
    Autumn, I did not send in the post above so it seems as if two of us have the same nickname. We probably both should change our nicknames to save confusion in future.
    Sundays
    22nd May 2017
    5:47pm
    Old Man, it used to be 5% then they added more flexibility in recent years but for the current pensioners it was compulsory after tax contributions. I know because I worked in this area and truly having less take home pay was hard and if I had invested elsewhere I would have made more even with the govt contributions. There is no residual capital value to leave to your estate and your eligible spouse gets 67% but nothing for independent kids. Once in pension phase no access to a lump sum. The fortnightly indexed super is good but so would the investments I could have made. However,I take Trebors point but at least public servants who retire can't access their super until their preservation age. Unlike parliamentarians who get their super when they leave office regardless of age which is just wrong
    Pass the Ductape
    22nd May 2017
    12:26pm
    I'm totally sick of trying to fathom out the intricacies between Centrelink and it's master who between them, never fail find a way to hound the poor old age pensioner: the easiest target to pick on when they need to find a few extra dollars. I'm too old to care about whether I've saved a bit too much for Centrelink's liking - and might have a few extra bob to pay for medical issues which seem to keep rearing their ugly head these days - and I'm too old to care about whether I've let Centrelink know of my continual changing financial situation. Here's what you can do to me Centrelink: if you deem fit to believe that I'm deliberately ripping off the taxpayer, STICK ME IN JAIL!! I'll welcome being looked after with unlimited medical attention for my ailments - no bills to pay - nothing but to become a final and complete burden on society in every aspect. It's going to cost a lot more than the annual $16,000 you're paying out to date!
    Trevine
    22nd May 2017
    12:33pm
    Just sick of this government. Why doesn't the tax dept go after the politicians. They get a lifetime pension. They may be needing more money to top up their pension so they go after the the poor pensioners
    johninmelb
    22nd May 2017
    12:39pm
    Might have known this would light up the site like a Christmas tree.

    No doubt Malcolm and his minders read this site every day, and will take notice of your comments. So what have you got to worry about?

    We are stuck with this. It is going to happen like it or not. We can sit back and whinge about it, or we can fix it.

    What are you going to do? You've got precisely 39 days to stop it, so stop whining and get moving.
    TREBOR
    22nd May 2017
    1:57pm
    They do read it - I've noticed some of my very own phrases coming out in public utterances from politicians...

    I've explained before that commenting on fora like this are the canary in the coal mine - we let the politicians and their running dogs know in advance that their gas is coming... better to let them know from the start than let them steal a march on you - again.
    johninmelb
    22nd May 2017
    2:07pm
    You might like to share whatever it is you're smoking around with the rest of us.

    It will help us deal with the reality of this idiotic policy. No point living in the fantasy world you have created for yourself.
    niemakawa
    22nd May 2017
    2:13pm
    I would like to know if YLC receives funding from the Government. As this is a general forum it is better to deal with the pros and cons of any such changes and not to disclose any personal information or circumstances. The Government "watchers" who may visit from time to time can find out your personal details as can any other on-looker.Entrapment maybe!!!
    Trees
    22nd May 2017
    2:50pm
    Agreed johninmelb - stop whining & do something.

    I think maybe the muppets in charge of the country don't read all this whinging & as far as politicians using some of the phrases put out here on this forum, well all I can say is "you're dreaming"
    Trees
    22nd May 2017
    3:12pm
    niemakawa put yourself out of your misery & asking YLC if they are
    Government funded & maybe you can stop being so paranoid
    niemakawa
    22nd May 2017
    3:13pm
    @Trees you fool. go away.
    Trees
    22nd May 2017
    3:38pm
    Go away because ..... why?

    Because you say so? ..... not gonna happen

    Now, have you asked YLC if they are government funded yet???
    niemakawa
    22nd May 2017
    3:46pm
    @Trees MYOB for once in your life you fool.
    Old Geezer
    22nd May 2017
    3:50pm
    YLC gets funded by those annoying popups that you hit in the wrong place trying to shoo them away like flies.
    Trees
    22nd May 2017
    4:08pm
    Oh poor niemakawa - this is my business you silly old man - its a public forum its not your forum - deal with it

    Thanks Old Geezer that little bit of information in enlightening.

    niemakawa now you don't have to do anything, Old Geezer did it for you.

    More action less moaning niemakawa :D
    niemakawa
    22nd May 2017
    5:46pm
    @Trees. You seem to have a bee in your bonnet dearie. I know it's a public forum and I expect some decorum not serial abuse from people like you. Try to exercise some restraint.
    TREBOR
    22nd May 2017
    5:51pm
    Oooh - this issue sure does bring out all the bitches, doesn't it.... john-boy and trees ....dream on, fools.... they'll get to you some time......

    Now stick to the issues or get out of the way...

    OG - you got proof of that statement?
    Old Geezer
    22nd May 2017
    5:56pm
    No but that's how internet ads work. No point in having them for no gain.
    Trees
    22nd May 2017
    6:18pm
    TREBOR & niemakawa suggest you do like wise & use some restraint. Language old boys you are showing your ignorance.

    You should also take your own advise & stick to the points raised, give some facts to back your statements up not just your jaded opinions & hearsay, otherwise be prepared to be called out, fair enough?

    Its not a mans world anymore unfortunately for you, you can't make women take a back seat its not 1950 - so be factual, be helpful & stop berating everyone else's opinion & the world will be a nice place :)

    It will be sometime before "they" get me I can assure you.
    niemakawa
    22nd May 2017
    6:24pm
    @Trees. Thanks for the laugh. Read again what you have just written.
    Trees
    22nd May 2017
    6:29pm
    Just did - Perfection if say so myself.

    Why do you use "@' before everyone's name???
    Misty
    22nd May 2017
    6:35pm
    So what niemakawa, if you are not doing anything wrong why worry?, I couldn't care less if the Govt checked any of my details.
    TREBOR
    22nd May 2017
    6:40pm
    Language and personal vitriol? You ain't seen nothin' yet, brother....

    But I suggest you stick to the issues and stop playing the man. You started this - now you finish it - NOW.

    Ah - I get it - you're one of them feminist supremacists - what a dreamer to even imagine that any comment against an approach is based purely on whether or not a person is of one gender or another.

    I'll bet you've had a lot of arguments in your lifetime...

    Now stop picking on us men - it's not a woman's world any more, you know..... those days are gone, and not before time.
    TREBOR
    22nd May 2017
    6:43pm
    Actually when I started to slice you up as a nasty piece of work, I had no idea if you were man or woman - if anything, I assumed just another twisted old man with a shoulder chip and the idea that he is better than others.

    Now wee understand fully... oh - BTW - don't take everything OG says as gospel - he's our master baiter who's seen, been and done everything.
    niemakawa
    22nd May 2017
    7:07pm
    @Trees try to work it out for yourself , darling. Or go to your mentor OG he will explain it to you.
    Old Geezer
    22nd May 2017
    7:12pm
    I learnt long ago not to try an explain anything to a woman.
    niemakawa
    22nd May 2017
    7:16pm
    @OG. She who must be obeyed will not be amused.
    TREBOR
    22nd May 2017
    8:35pm
    OG!! You old chauvinist you!! Niemie - wash your mouth out with soap....

    (snuckles loudly)...
    Trees
    22nd May 2017
    11:29pm
    Trebor - finish it NOW - who do you think you are talking to, your wife? get real hahaha You sliced me up? bitter & twisted,
    Unfortunately for you old moaners I will keep contributing to your nonsensical comments,
    If you are unable to explain something to a female that is your failing not mine, try a little harder (no pun intended at your ages) to get your point across.
    Expect we will continue to exchange words in the very near future.
    TREBOR it aint over until I say its over
    feminist supremacist - is that even a thing?? ;)
    thanks for the laughs old boys
    niemakawa
    22nd May 2017
    11:37pm
    @ TREBOR. Men will be Men and Women will be Women, but Women try to be both which they can never be. Men and Women are wired differently, men know this but women fail to do so. That doesn't mean they can't be heard of course they can but only if they can accept that they are different. Men can so why can't women?
    TREBOR
    23rd May 2017
    6:05pm
    Jeez- all I wanted was a little fair play - even the field with a little taste of what is being handed out - then ask for decency... and of course the prime instigator of the whole thing had nothing to do with it, and the whole thing is about poor oppressed women and nasty domineering men. I thought trees was just another bitter old man with an unfounded thought of being somehow better than the scum...

    Oh, well - you can lead a horse to water....

    Besides - mah missus knows better than to talk back to her lord and master (snuckles)...
    niemakawa
    23rd May 2017
    7:58pm
    @TREBOR. I can see you pulling the missus along by the hair with your club hanging over your shoulder. Good work. Now get back to your chores old chap!!
    TREBOR
    25th May 2017
    1:21pm
    Yes - she who must be obeyed supervises my every move.... once a week I get water melon and chittlins....
    Not a Bludger
    22nd May 2017
    12:41pm
    The dollars that you report (around $1 billion in overpayments) obviously indicate widespread rorting.

    It is entirely proper that all categories of welfare recipients (getting my/our taxpayers money for free) be checked and if found to be a rorter, be forced to promptly repay -serious rorters should also be fined/jailed.

    And personally, I have no time at all for those who claim the "I didn't know" defence - rubbish.
    TREBOR
    22nd May 2017
    2:01pm
    A billion in overpayments? Then that minor percentage of genuine rorters must be rolling in clover...

    Oh - sorry - that was just an estimate..... not a hard figure, that billion.... (oops again)...

    Two million pensioners... $1bn - averages all of $5000 EACH!

    What a thieving lot the OAP community is... or what a load of codswallop this whole beat-up is in reality.
    Not a Bludger
    22nd May 2017
    2:34pm
    If you read the article, you will see that the $1bn refers to all Centrelink welfare recipients, not just OAP's - and it is not a beat-up but $1bn of taxpayers money (my/your/our monies) being improperly claimed.
    TREBOR
    22nd May 2017
    5:53pm
    Ah - then why is it trotted out in THIS issue strand???

    How much do the parasites and vultures estimate they'll get back from pensioners?

    That $1Bn is an 'estimate' - pretty much on a par with other government estimates such as those that go into the 'budget' for the next twelve months (new flash - it's NOT Money in the bank today).....

    22nd May 2017
    12:41pm
    I cannot understand the position taken by a lot of people who appear to be trying to protect those who are ripping off Centrelink. Apart from the scale, what is different from those trying to defraud Centrelink and the alleged $165M defrauding of the ATO? In both cases government funds (read taxpayers' funds) are involved. When the dust has cleared it is safe to say that the percentage of pensioners involved will be a very, very small percentage.
    Placido
    22nd May 2017
    1:27pm
    Just a little bit of white collar crime and perhaps some insider information..pat em on the back now lets go get those evil pensioners (sadly a lot of those same pensioners voted this bumbling incomptent lot into power.)..what HAVE they actually accomplished in their two terms in office...wait..an economic glimmer Malcolm wants to sell arms to the Saudis with his "mate" Trump!
    TREBOR
    22nd May 2017
    2:08pm
    If 1% of pensioners are guilty as charged - of deliberate rorting that is and not just a tiny error in estimated income of a couple of dollars here and there - and the estimated figure is a bill-yun dullahs (can't help Dr Evil every time I hear these numbers trotted out) - that's 20,000 (wait for it) Twenty Thousand!!! .. pensioners ripping off the system for around Fifty Thou-sund dullahs EACH!!

    Damned hard to do on a pension or around Twenty Thous-Und Dullahs!!

    Whoo-hoo - where do I get my union card for that job?

    Ask me again why I doubt this government story as having any merit at all... and why I think it is just more bulldust being raised to cover for the ineptitude and self-interest of this current lot (on all sides apart from a few)...

    How do you stifle popular unrest leading to near-revolt? Frighten them with yet another Night and Fog program - watch out - we're coming for YOU next......

    People - you have nothing to fear but fear itself.
    KSS
    22nd May 2017
    12:43pm
    If all welfare recipients are being reviewed, then pensioners (of any type) should expect to also come under review.
    Whilst most people will have nothing to worry about, just reaching pensionable age does not bestow attributes of honesty or integrity on anyone. Act now if you are concerned and don't wait to be 'caught out'.
    Sundays
    22nd May 2017
    12:48pm
    Agree, if you've been working and haven't told Centrelink about this income, well yes they will find you.
    TREBOR
    22nd May 2017
    2:11pm
    The issue is not about those who have not reported income that is traceable (as if anyone who pays tax on a job is that stupid - really... let's re-do this one shall we?) - it is about people who have honestly declared being pursued like bank robbers under a false paradigm of 'right' and 'wrong' as laid out by the government of the day, and told that they are thieves and liars for either a tiny error or for this department itself being totally wrong.
    TREBOR
    22nd May 2017
    5:57pm
    Same applies to anyone with a huge hoard of cash in a bank account - that info and interest paid is already held by ATO....

    If you are silly enough to have not declared some massive fund hidden away (as long as it's not parked alongside Mal's in Offshoria, or is held in the Greek Islands in properties held by Con the Pensioner and his wife Aspidistra) you need your head read.

    Personally I'd love the government to come up with a hidden cash reserve of mine that is worth robbing the government over..... I'll happily refund if they find me $600k stashed away...

    Now - as for the currently legalised tax cheats ......... you're next!
    Tricky Dicky
    22nd May 2017
    12:47pm
    What a waste of time and money checking age pensioners! They might repeat might find a few frauds and recover maybe $50,000 to $100,000. Even that is doubtful because it took one of the $165million defrauders to dob the scheme in before the tax office knew. AND IT HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR YEARS EVEN A DECADE. Who Knows.
    As for recovering $100,000 how much are they going to spend checking every Age pension and handle doubtful one manually only to confirm the claim was legitimate and no money could be legally recovered. Sounds like spending millions of dollars to recover hundreds of thousands dollars. So far the trial has recovered $70,000,000 at what cost we don't know. Lets make the Politicians pensions taxable and what is earned in Australia is taxed by Australia. That means big companies can't shit monies off shore to a country with a very favourable tax rate. That includes Turnbull's company being based in the Cayman Islands although his money is NOT earned there.
    Tricky Dicky
    22nd May 2017
    12:58pm
    I thought in Australia you were INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY and Centrelink is saying you are GUILTY UNTIL YOU CAN PROVE YOUR INNOCENCE. IF THIS WAS COURT CASE IT WOULD BE LAUGHED OUT OF COURT FOR LACK OF PROOF BY CENTRELINK.

    By the way this comparing Apples with Oranges on 2 counts
    1. Yearly versus Fortnightly income
    2. Financial year versus Calendar year how does centrelink now what months that you earned the extra income in. Before or after June 30
    Tricky Dicky
    22nd May 2017
    12:58pm
    I thought in Australia you were INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY and Centrelink is saying you are GUILTY UNTIL YOU CAN PROVE YOUR INNOCENCE. IF THIS WAS COURT CASE IT WOULD BE LAUGHED OUT OF COURT FOR LACK OF PROOF BY CENTRELINK.

    By the way this comparing Apples with Oranges on 2 counts
    1. Yearly versus Fortnightly income
    2. Financial year versus Calendar year how does centrelink now what months that you earned the extra income in. Before or after June 30
    Old Geezer
    22nd May 2017
    2:23pm
    It can all be taken down to common denominator so no problem there.
    TREBOR
    22nd May 2017
    6:00pm
    That's not the way it works when you challenge the Feudal Barons - oops, me sorry - government functionaries and their political masters - not in this country.

    They feel they are (wait for it) Entitled to make the rules up to suit themselves whenever they want...

    And all this time I thought the Age of Entitlement was over and a Brave New Day had dawned.....
    niemakawa
    22nd May 2017
    6:05pm
    @TREBOR the Age of Entitlement for the man in the street is over. The Brave New Day is work in progress for the Globalists with their OWG project. All Western economies are bankrupt beyond repair, so money is not the issue here.
    TREBOR
    22nd May 2017
    6:46pm
    Yes - it's all about as near total control of the masses as possible... via starvation if necessary, but there's always the gulag for the true dissidents...
    niemakawa
    22nd May 2017
    7:15pm
    @TREBOR, don't know whether your comment is tongue-in-cheek, but it is going to happen.
    TREBOR
    22nd May 2017
    8:42pm
    Very tongue in cheek - not the bit about the control off the masses though, I'm not blind yet -the problem with agencies such as colonel C'Link is that they, and their masters, mistake the duty to pursue policy with being an absolute right to do so in any way, shape or form, legally bound or not.

    It's a convenient and self-serving mistake based on the undeniable principle that, in reality, they play with a stacked deck while you are not even allowed in the game unless it is to fund their playing ....

    In polite circles, it's called tyranny or despotism....

    As I've said many times - all legislation, policy and regulation must itself pass the test of Rule of Law - or it is not legal.

    These people play the game knowing that nobody has the wherewithal to challenge them in a court, and the courts are part of the same racket, anyway.

    For those afraid of their horses - I couldn't give one rat's if the government looks up my personal details - they're all out there in public, and if they want the full depth of my despising of them - they only need read my partial auto-bio.

    When they apologise for past wrongs and make restitution, and when they begin to behave like a responsible government - there may be leeway for negotiation with me....
    W.O.W! Spokesperson
    22nd May 2017
    1:08pm
    Centelink is already doing this. A couple who are both on a part-Age Pension asked our charity to help them. He'd received a small inheritance and before he was even aware the money was in his bank account, Cenrelink sent a letter demanding to know why he hadn't declared it. Being ill and in hospital for not one, but two operations, was not an accepted reason for not complying (supplying bank statements for the previous 2 years, doing the very complicated Asset & Income Test document and more) "within 14 days", nor was the fact that they do not get a daily mail service because they opted for the free delivery. Like many on a Centrelink benefit, they can't afford to pay for the daily mail service. His meagre part-Pension was cut completely and hers was reduced. As the Volunteer Advocate for W.O.W! - Willing Older Workers, I requested an extension of compliance time then helped them get their papers in order. Numerous calls to a woman in Centrelink on an 02 number, and hours spent battling the MyGov Business Portal trying to upload scanned documents and they still didn't reinstate his part pension. So he was without any benefit from the end of November 2016 to April 2017 - I kept calling and uploading copies of documents to no avail. Then they both received a Debt Notice, generated on 21st April 2017. More calls and finally a Centrelink employee asked why his part pension had not been reinstated because she could see that all the documents had been submitted!
    She immediately reinstated it then said he'd be back paid until Nov 2016. This dear couple even gave me a letter to submit to the Senate Inquiry telling their case and saying that if they hadn't been able to get food parcels from W.O.W! they would have been in dire straights. They've paid taxes for years, and they can not understand how the government can be, quote, "so heartless". I spoke to several staff in the Debt Recovery section who gave me information about this couple that was not correct so we continued the Debt Recovery Battle. It's still ongoing.
    And they are only one couple. We have several Age and Disability Pensioners (and folk on Newstart) who have been caught up in this issue. In some cases we found that Centrelink has more than one file for the individual or that Centrelink has not updated the file, even though they've been notified that a bank account has been closed or a car has been sold or ...................... the list of mistakes is long.

    I spend a lot of time on automatic hold, waiting for a real person in Centrelink to speak to me. It's very challenging, to say the least. How the government expects people to do the enormous quantity of paperwork is beyond me because as an Advocate, I struggle to wade through the paperwork quagmire!
    The system needs to be fixed.
    johninmelb
    22nd May 2017
    1:36pm
    Don't hold your breath. The system will never be fixed. Neither party has any interest in things like this. Concentrate your effort on things you can change, not those you can't.
    niemakawa
    22nd May 2017
    1:31pm
    The income from Financial assets is deemed by Centrelink ( at extraordinary high rates) and they are not interested in the actual income which a person actually receives unless it is used to create new assets . Of course if this income is reinvested say a DRP for shares or interest received on term deposits is capitalised then the asset increase needs to be reported to Cenrelink. Best to spend any income from this source in one way or another. Financial institutions are required by law to inform the ATO of interest/dividends paid to individuals as well as companies. So even if an individual does not need to complete an annual tax return this information can still be cross referenced by Centrelink. I wonder how Centrelink will find out if assets such as cars , valuables, boats, furniture etc are being held by anyone? Maybe from the motor registry? The Government also needs to set deeming rates closer to the official bank rate.
    Old Geezer
    22nd May 2017
    2:46pm
    All amounts of money spent over $10,000 must be reported to the Government. Now it doesn't take much to imagine what they can do with such information.
    niemakawa
    22nd May 2017
    2:51pm
    @OG AUSTRAC.
    TREBOR
    22nd May 2017
    6:02pm
    The same attention to money being shipped offshore by the container load would we a help.....

    Minimum tax anyone? With the opportunity to present your books for a genuine discount....

    I rather like the idea of a minimum tax on turnover with a holiday for new businesses not associated with major corporations etc.... and a graduated scale of minimum tax depending on turnover volume.
    Paicey58
    22nd May 2017
    1:37pm
    Well if the current system has recovered 70 million dollars more than it was expected to do it has been very effective. Obviously some people have been claiming or routing the system for a long time!!!
    Old Geezer
    22nd May 2017
    1:52pm
    Agree over 80% owe money so it's not a drop in the bucket at all. Way too many think it's OK to tell lies to Centrelink.
    HarrysOpinion
    22nd May 2017
    1:58pm
    "Some people" - includes all politicians, lawyers, accountants, doctors,musicians, builders, tradesmen and pseudo-charity organisations. It's actually a very long list of suspects and perpetrators.
    Old Geezer
    22nd May 2017
    1:59pm
    It's a national pastime seeing how much you can get away with at tax time.
    TREBOR
    22nd May 2017
    2:18pm
    That's a big IF, Paicey - where did the figure of $70m come from? First I've seen of it was the unsubstantiated post above about that being the figure....

    The whole issue still belies the reality that people who are assumed guilty are face with monumental hurdles in having to show wrongful demands by The Good Colonel - rather than The Good Colonel being required, as required by law, to prove 'debt' in a court.
    TREBOR
    22nd May 2017
    2:27pm
    OG - that comment reminds me of The Prince of Tides:-

    Momma - "Oh, Tom! Who EVER taught you to be so cruel?"

    Tom:- "You did, Momma - YOU did!"

    When the powers-that are self-appointed get away with lies and theft every day.....
    fearlessfly
    22nd May 2017
    1:48pm
    MAKE DAMNED SURE you vote these bastards OUT at the next election. No pussy footing around, no humming and harring, no being influenced by family members, just vote for anyone BUT your local coalition dickhead !
    Old Geezer
    22nd May 2017
    1:50pm
    So it's Ok for people to defraud the taxpayers of Australia? If you have done the right thing you have nothing to worry about. It's about time some checks and balances were taken to ensure my money as a taxpayer is being spent where it is needed to pay people defrauding the system.
    niemakawa
    22nd May 2017
    2:07pm
    @OG no it is not, but when is the Government going to target a certain group claiming multiple benefits under assumed names and identities.
    TREBOR
    22nd May 2017
    2:25pm
    FF didn't say that, OG - you are leaping a very high fence to suggest that despising this current lot is in any way condoning fraud etc.

    It is not 'fraud' if The Good Colonel does a re-check of ESTIMATES demanded in advance and finds a dollar a pay wrong.... some of you really need to get your heads into perspective and realise there is a world of difference between a government agency demanding the impossible (i.e. a 100% accurate estimated of yet to be paid income) and then saying it is a crime to make a mistake under those unreasonable demands - and someone deliberately going out of their way to NOT declare income.

    To me this whole venture by government is a very one-sided and bullying attempt to gain a tiny amount of cash and inflict a whole heap of fear on people who do not deserve it.

    Can someone answer me this:- If a Social Security Recipient/Pensioner is working, and they do not declare their estimated income as above on time, and they then do receive their Benefit/Pension until they do - HOW is it that this claim is going the rounds that many thousands of people are 'rorting' the system?

    People who work in a tax-paying job or a job registered in any way MUST declare income, and would be utterly foolish to deliberately not do so - and if they do not do so, they don't get paid by Colonel C'Link until they do.

    The more I think over this 'issue' - the more I see it as one big lie.
    Old Geezer
    22nd May 2017
    2:38pm
    When you are granted welfare there are certain conditions you must adhere to including working. Follow these and you will be OK.
    Veritas
    22nd May 2017
    2:49pm
    Are you for real fearless fly ??? You can't possibly be on the OAP or you would not advocate voting for Labour. They spent all the the money in the coffers (K Rudd), bring in policies that do NOT look after the less wealthy in this country and are totally dishonest and negative. The economic mess we are in can be laid firmly at Labour's door. hey are incompetent to say the least. No Government is perfect, but good grief open your eyes and ears, listen and read, educate yourself and learn basic economics, and history, then maybe you can comment.
    grounded
    22nd May 2017
    4:15pm
    Totally agree 'fearlessfly' and TREBOR...what we need is a 'good old socialist government' back in office....akin to Venezuela...and Rudd/Gillard/Rudd.

    Gee whizz, we can send Dastiari on a fact finding mission...What better man could we pick...he knows how to rip a system....Just think, what a guidance he could be to our OAP's.....
    TREBOR
    22nd May 2017
    6:07pm
    You've finally agreed that welfare has nothing to do with OAP, then, OG? Now extend your thinking to all of Social Security and you will see that Unemployment Benefits etc are an investment in this nation's future - not a drain on its resources, same as feeding kids....

    Sam Dastardly? Just the man..... but what you say about 'socialist' is incorrect, since Labor is a combination of capitalist and socialist, and the Autralian economy bears no resemblance to Venezuela's...... so are you now advocating utterly useless holiday trips for politicians?

    Just when the country was on its knees so badly that it needs to take a few more dollars from the retired..........
    Misty
    22nd May 2017
    6:49pm
    What rot Veritas, get your head out of the sand, look what this govt has done, raised the debt enormously and just how long do you think they can get away with blaming Labor for everything, and maybe you should do a bit of reading too, the Labor Party in Australia is spelled LABOR, LABOUR IS WHAT WOMEN GO THROUGH IN CHILDBIRTH.
    niemakawa
    22nd May 2017
    1:52pm
    I am sure the Government will spend billions and billions of dollars on this programme with very little result. I am a strong advocate of aged pensions for all regardless of assets and income. It would be so much easier and the administrative costs negligible for the Government (aka the taxpayer). Where there is special need then those people can apply for further Government assistance.
    Old Geezer
    22nd May 2017
    1:54pm
    I'm sure they will rake in a lot more than they expect knowing what I know people do to get the OAP.
    niemakawa
    22nd May 2017
    2:02pm
    OG tell me more about what you know.
    Old Geezer
    22nd May 2017
    2:06pm
    Only this morning I heard about people putting their credit cards in credit to hide assets as no one checks the balance of credit cards for positive balances. One person had over $500,000 hidden on one of these.
    niemakawa
    22nd May 2017
    2:16pm
    @OG well if that is the case then I am sure Centrelink on on to it.
    Old Geezer
    22nd May 2017
    2:22pm
    They will be now.
    niemakawa
    22nd May 2017
    2:27pm
    @OG I wonder if they will reduce a persons assets if they have a debit balance on their credit card and paying the minimum repayment each month. I am sure many pensioners would use credit cards to pay bills etc. and their cards are maxed out continuously.
    Old Geezer
    22nd May 2017
    2:30pm
    Now that would be being really stupid or just plain ignorant.
    niemakawa
    22nd May 2017
    2:33pm
    @OG for Centrelink or the pensioner?
    Old Geezer
    22nd May 2017
    2:36pm
    Your assets are only assessed twice a year so it wold be plain stupid to have a big amount owing on a credit card at either of these times.
    niemakawa
    22nd May 2017
    2:44pm
    @OG I am not so sure about that.
    Trees
    22nd May 2017
    4:04pm
    On the point of debt on credit cards I would have to agree with Old Geezer, not clever to pay minimum & accrue interest every month,
    only banks win there.

    Assets are assets - your personal debts are your choice so no you can't offset against your assets.

    Credit card only comes into play as an asset if you have a positive balance not a negative balance. If you think you are hiding your money on your credit card then you just may have a nasty surprise when Centrelink start looking into OAP.
    niemakawa
    22nd May 2017
    4:23pm
    @OG take note from Trees and heed her warning. Going back to my original post, which has been somewhat derailed, pensions for all is not only the most equitable way but will save the Government billions of dollars in administrative costs.

    Thanks OG for your input I appreciate your comments, although I will not agree with all of them.
    Trees
    22nd May 2017
    4:39pm
    It wasn't a warning it was a statement of fact niemakawa ;)
    Old Geezer
    22nd May 2017
    5:45pm
    Trees not all are as honest as you. A credit card is not somewhere to normally look for lots of money being horded but with tody's low interest it does provide a viable opportunity for some it seems.
    TREBOR
    22nd May 2017
    6:09pm
    You're dreaming again, OG - who has $500k to lodge in a credit card for no earnings?
    niemakawa
    22nd May 2017
    6:12pm
    @TREBOR I have not seen any "official" reports of this case in question so the source of OG's assertion maybe is questionable.
    Trees
    22nd May 2017
    6:27pm
    Old Geezer is actually right about credit cards being used to "hide" money, I couldn't attest to the amounts that are hidden on credit cards but it is happening.
    Hiding money on a credit card is a crafty thing to do to lower your cash in bank for means assessments, just now it might not be so easy to hide it anymore.
    TREBOR
    22nd May 2017
    6:55pm
    Shall I play "I Heard It On the Grapevine" now or later, OG?

    Errr.. yeah, man... like.. ahhh.. yeah.. Harry.. you now.. he put like.. ahhh.... half a mil, man.. half a mill!... on a credit card so.. ahhh.. big brother wouldn't bust him, man!! Yeah -- I heard that around town,, yeahh..

    You ever notice those stories are from someone who heard it from someone else, and when you ask that someone else, they heard it from someone else?

    Maybe that's because Tercius never denied the stories....

    Maybe Tercius wanted the whole Legion to think he was the meanest bastard in the Legion..

    (Band Of Brothers)...
    TREBOR
    22nd May 2017
    7:04pm
    Anyone who can hide that amount of money on a credit card is one that needs to be caught.
    niemakawa
    22nd May 2017
    7:10pm
    @TREBOR yes agree. I am sure such accounts are under surveillance by AUSTRAC. To place such a large amount in any account will be reported as a "cash transaction" whether actual cash or a bank transfer.
    TREBOR
    22nd May 2017
    8:46pm
    Could it be done a small amount at a time unnoticed? Would anyone work that hard just to get a few bucks out of Good Old Uncle Guv?
    floss
    22nd May 2017
    2:34pm
    Good to see the old porkie out in force ,if this excuse of a Government chased the big end of town with the same enthusiasm we would not be in this mess.
    tzadikson
    22nd May 2017
    3:20pm
    I believe that the balance of right and wrong into the actions and intentions of the government in dealing/relations with pensioners should be in a mutual respect ways
    on one hand the pensioners should respect a genuine fair go decisisions made by the nominated gov.On the other hand the gove should respect pensioners as the elderly group of society -like it was respected by past generations and see the elderly who reached the age of retirement as laying guiding and past supporters the burden , the grounds for the new generations
    As long as this balance between the gov and the the aged population is not respected fair and acceptable -we are all going to suffer morally socially and economically
    the gov at the moment is not behaving nice into the balance.
    This computerzed robot scheme of the gov meant to check intent to catch and sue all pensioners as a group is in All shows the lack of understanding what I have described above as the nirmal relations between the gov and the pensioners /elderly retirement group of the population in Australia.
    If one Do not approve what the gov is doing one have the right to say perhaps complain and protest his/hers/theirs concerns and the wonderful gift given in an orderly democracy -the right to vote in election .
    If the elderly/pensioners will exercise his rights as mentioned above it will balance in a way the situation in regards to the should be reactions between the gov and the pensioners
    Good day
    Good luck
    God bless
    AutumnOz
    23rd May 2017
    6:28am
    Agreed tzadikson.
    It is time we all stood up for ourselves instead of expecting others to do it for us. If we all vote for someone other than a major party member it is possible the respect we deserve will be given to us. At the very least it will shake up the major party members and they may actually start governing the country for the good of all Australians.
    It seems to be a very long time since that has happened.
    inextratime
    22nd May 2017
    3:25pm
    Floss - correct. But the big end of town pay big deductable bucks to engage big end of town accountants, who spend a lot of time working out how to minimise tax and all the various loopholes that exist. Much too hard for the government to investigate and too many political donations at risk.
    rtrish
    22nd May 2017
    3:35pm
    While waiting to see a Medicare person I saw a tearful young woman trying to explain to Centrelink she could not provide proof she had NOT reveived a payment. How can you prove a Negative?
    Old Geezer
    22nd May 2017
    3:37pm
    Bank statement.
    Bes
    22nd May 2017
    3:49pm
    They can do this because someone voted them in:
    HOW DID WE GET INTO THIS CRAZY SITUATION?
    When the Coalition showed their true colours you got angry and elected the ALP.
    When the ALP/GREENS showed their true colours you got angry and elected the Coalition.
    When a new or other Party suggests to you that NEITHER Party is looking out for YOUR best interests….you say they can’t be trusted and it would be crazy to vote for a new party!
    BUT the real definition of CRAZY is doing the same thing OVER and OVER again
    And hoping for a different RESULT!
    WAKE UP AUSTRALIA!
    Old Geezer
    22nd May 2017
    3:53pm
    You have no choice in reality either you vote for one or the other. That's why I don't vote with our preferential system. Many others do the same as can be seen by the number of informal votes.
    TREBOR
    22nd May 2017
    6:12pm
    I don't vote for either, OG - I have that choice.. and even if it takes many elections, one day we will grind them down.
    niemakawa
    22nd May 2017
    6:17pm
    @TREBOR like you I do not vote for any of the above. Globalists the whole lot of them who have no interests in Australia and its people. Treachery happening in front of us but too few of us can see it.
    Misty
    22nd May 2017
    6:54pm
    I think it is criminal to vote informal, people in other countries would
    give everything to be able to vote and you squander yours, not right.
    TREBOR
    22nd May 2017
    6:56pm
    I don't vote informal, either.... I choose my votes carefully.. last time I voted for my future son-in-law for Senate, but he and the daughter have sp0lit.
    Old Geezer
    22nd May 2017
    7:10pm
    I didn't vote informal I just refused to vote and put the blank paper in the ballot box. It is wrong not to have your vote go where you want it to go as well. If I vote for A I don't want B or C to get that vote. So if I don't vote for A no one gets my vote. It is far from democratic as well.
    Charlie
    22nd May 2017
    3:50pm
    What are the targets? Pensioners who have a home, the maximum in the bank and undisclosed income. None,none, and none. Bet I get a letter though.
    TREBOR
    22nd May 2017
    6:59pm
    Yesterday someone - ah , it was Mick - mentioned those damned millennials who are so intent on the false idea that 'baby boomers ripped them off' - the poor darlings... forced to live on a mere politician's salary and perks while stirring up conflict between men and women, old and young, educated and semi-educated, have and have-nots, pensioners and SFRs... you name it... politics of division....

    Maybe we should just rip the skin off them slowly in a public square.....
    thommo
    22nd May 2017
    3:54pm
    This is blatant intimidation and harrassment. This will be another witch hunt.
    This federal govt just won't learn. They've got just about the whole population (except the rich and big end of town) set against them because of their unfair, mean, nasty and hard-line policies, and now they intend to get stuck into age pensioners.
    This Govt is going to get 'rissoled" at the next election, especially by the pensioners themselves.
    niemakawa
    22nd May 2017
    8:16pm
    I hope you are not going to place your trust in Labor or Greens, they are of the same cloth.
    TREBOR
    22nd May 2017
    8:48pm
    Those later two will simply trot out the same old worn story line - they have a duty to ensure correct payment under the rules...

    Now then - let's get back to those rules......
    thommo
    22nd May 2017
    9:24pm
    Just vote for the calithumpian party(s)...that will fix these mongrels, whether they are liberal or labor....
    niemakawa
    22nd May 2017
    9:31pm
    @thommo. Yes I can't wait for the hangings and the party that follows.
    TREBOR
    22nd May 2017
    10:59pm
    ... everyone repents on the scaffold and promises never to do it again .......
    niemakawa
    22nd May 2017
    11:22pm
    @TREBOR they can repent as much as they like, they deserved to be hanged by the neck.
    Pamiea
    22nd May 2017
    4:06pm
    Some of my friends think they are rich and vote Liberal. What a joke and I tell them too which of course they hate. Stop kidding yourselves people.
    TREBOR
    22nd May 2017
    6:14pm
    True- man a fool thinks that by sticking like a leech to the fat cat's party, they will somehow become fat cats, or at least will be able to feel superior to their neighbour...

    "Ah do believe mahn's faster than yours! 'Cause mahn's a RED one!"
    TREBOR
    22nd May 2017
    8:52pm
    In truth we live in a heavily 'classed' society - and many imagine that by scorning those who work for a living, they are somehow of a 'better' class.

    I've known construction workers with the same attitude towards unemployment and pensions and such.... one such used to do cash in hand work and never declare it, but he was a pillar of the community - just ask him. He was also a thug and a thief.... and it caught up with him in the end.

    Still - in his eyes he was of a 'better' class... one really finds it droll when the true peasants assume 'class'.....
    Pamiea
    22nd May 2017
    4:06pm
    Some of my friends think they are rich and vote Liberal. What a joke and I tell them too which of course they hate. Stop kidding yourselves people.
    Old Geezer
    22nd May 2017
    5:53pm
    I guess then you must vote Labor because you are poor. Silliest thing I have heard all day.
    TREBOR
    22nd May 2017
    6:15pm
    How so, OG? Not everyone at the bottom votes labor, which is obvious from election results....

    The truth is that both major parties have failed this nation for many years, and there is little on the horizon to suggest that might change any time soon.
    Rodent
    22nd May 2017
    4:32pm
    People have a think about this

    Govt says its will recoup $980Mill over 3 years with this "initiative"

    If you just count only the Age Pensioners, DSP, and Carer payments that number equals 3,606.651 people - divided into $980 Mil = $271.72 per person recovered (unless my maths are wrong )

    So my question how on earth did anybody calculate a saving of $980 Mill over three years?, sounds like a wet finger in the Air job to me.

    30 minutes ago I just come back from my local Centerlink office where they updated my Assets for the 18th time in 8 years. I waited 37 Minutes to see an operator, and she could not do it on line. (She lacked the skills required) After 3 other people helped her over the next 26 minutes they finally got it done, and I have checked now on line and they got it correct!

    As part of the Robo Debt debarcle I wrote to Senator Siewert and asked that they pay particular attention to the issue of the future checking of Age Pensioners/ matching etc The Social Security Legislation requires them the PUBLISH how that intend to do this next stage of crosschecking. I will wait for future developments with interest.
    niemakawa
    22nd May 2017
    4:51pm
    Centrelink continuously updating programmes so maybe the staff members had not been told, that is a distinct possibility. Don't know if you use myGov but they have changed the login page . Some updates have to be reported either by phone or a trip to a local office, as not all can be updated online. Most of my dealings with Centrelink have been straightforward and handled without incident.
    Old Geezer
    22nd May 2017
    5:59pm
    Just don't try and open their letters on an android phone or tablet. You will be out of luck there.
    TREBOR
    22nd May 2017
    6:16pm
    That's one of those 'government budget estimates' I mentioned above.

    At the end of twelve months, let's see the hard net figure on what they've collected.. after costs and legal costs and so forth.
    Triss
    22nd May 2017
    5:04pm
    I reckon this Robo debt has nothing to do with the government clawing back fraudulent pension payments. It’s about dehumanizing elderly folk on the pension and driving a wedge between different sections of society, divide and rule.
    Elderly pensioners have become scapegoats in order to hide the public service pension blow out of mega billions and the fact that a corrupt ruling by earlier governments allowed huge lifetime pensions for politicians after eight years work and an even bigger lifetime pension for PMs and Premiers.
    Way over time for government to go back and repeal all those non-democratic payouts and let the ex politicians who have gorged on them whilst working fulltime on huge salaries do a lot of paying back. We'd probably nearly cancel out our debt.
    niemakawa
    22nd May 2017
    5:22pm
    The plebs are the sacrificial lambs. Robo will be at our doorsteps in the not do distant future, doing house searches for hidden "treasures". Australia like many other Western nations are becoming police States by stealth and people just turn a blind eye to what is clear for all to see. The motives of this Government and most mainstream parties are the same, to have total control over its citizens. Nothing to do with money.
    Old Geezer
    22nd May 2017
    5:51pm
    I disagree. Unfortunately there are too many who are not honest and that's why robo debt is necessary and working so well. No hidden agenda here and it's good that it makes people think before they tell porkies to Centrelink.
    TREBOR
    22nd May 2017
    6:17pm
    Why is it that you know all the low-lives around, OG?????

    Just asking.... you have yourself mingling with an amazing host of people......
    Old Geezer
    22nd May 2017
    6:25pm
    Trebor I have a whole extended family of them and to make it worse they only turn up when the want something usually money from me. I haven't obliged them for years now so I haven't seen them for years either.
    francobee
    22nd May 2017
    6:15pm
    WOULDN'T IT BE NICE if the Government concentrated on the really wealthy who deliberately rip the system off for millions of dollars, instead of those pensioners who are probably not even aware they are at fault, and probably for a relatively small amount anyway ??
    TREBOR
    22nd May 2017
    6:18pm
    $10 a pensioner = $200M.....
    TREBOR
    22nd May 2017
    6:19pm
    Sorry - $20m.... not a drop in the bucket for government considerations on spending, which is in the billions, so $10 is nothing.
    Old Geezer
    22nd May 2017
    6:23pm
    Not enough money in chasing the wealthy as there is just no enough of them to make it worthwhile.
    TREBOR
    22nd May 2017
    7:02pm
    Ah - but the value per case is far higher.. but better to bleed the peasants dry....

    Now some changes to tax laws and offshoring money would recoup a few lazy bill...
    Misty
    22nd May 2017
    6:23pm
    Oh dear here we go again, picking on the poor defenceless pensioners, where next?, disability maybe.
    Jezemeg8
    22nd May 2017
    6:28pm
    NO, I get no comfort at all with the knowledge that humans will be cross checking references. I can't imagine that the current practice, where a debt is claimed yet no specific dates etc given by Centrelink will change. My daughter was fortunate that she encountered a Centrelink employee who used commonsense, when a debt was claimed against her, after the date the supposed debt occurred was changed from 2004 to 2000!!! Very difficult to prove one hasn't done what one is accused of after such a large amount of time has passed.
    Old Geezer
    22nd May 2017
    6:57pm
    What happened to the Statute of Limitations? Seriously I think any good solicitor could dispute this and win.
    TREBOR
    22nd May 2017
    8:55pm
    'Our' government arbitrarily decrees to suit itself whether or not you may benefit from the Law!! After all - they are above the law!!

    You uppity peasant, OG.. learn your place and kow-tow as your political masters walk past... how dare you demand rights!

    (bloody peasants).....
    floss
    22nd May 2017
    6:33pm
    Easy Trebor the man tells fibs,would make a good Polly me thinks.
    TREBOR
    22nd May 2017
    7:07pm
    Enlighten me - is it me or someone else how tells fibs?
    floss
    22nd May 2017
    7:16pm
    Never you TREBOR that other old person.
    TREBOR
    22nd May 2017
    8:31pm
    Ah - I see - thought so but was not sure... thankee...

    I re-thunk that one.. about rules of retirement package ...

    It's one for the Masters, and one for their Knaves, and one for the little people always their Slaves...
    TREBOR
    22nd May 2017
    9:04pm
    You unnerstan' what is this 'master baiter'? Ees hombre with economy of truth, comprende? You say thees word quickly... is verdad...
    Allie
    22nd May 2017
    11:47pm
    Seems like only when the precious aged (SFR)pensioners feel the heat can they ever even IMAGINE what it might be like.
    Makes me sick.
    Time for the 'oldies' (like me) to be more compassionate, kind and generous and stop being so mean....
    Imagine if it were your daughter (after fleeing DV) being demanded for $3000 you don't have...or imagine it was you years ago when life was hard and everything seemed against you after your husband left, died or fled with a younger woman.
    Imagine any of the multiple reasons you may have to turn to Centrelink...
    Is your husband/wife having to be full time cared for by YOU....
    Is your partner in need of care because of circumstances beyond your control?
    Just imagine a hundred situations and then stop being so mean and nasty because you can't access as little as $270 a week or $330 a week...for that is all it is.
    Most SFR get and live on far far more than that! Imagine.....
    Time for you to do some research and to get REAL.

    Sad....
    And BTW YOUR bloody 'taxes' no longer pay for anything!!
    That is not how our economy works.
    Learn some MMT and get educated!!

    Person up! Get real! Get knowledgeable asap...for without a realistic welfare net...it could be YOU next ( or your beloved child).
    niemakawa
    23rd May 2017
    12:01am
    ?? Just another sob story it seems. And the correct term is man-up it is a saying that encompasses both genders.
    leek
    23rd May 2017
    9:21am
    well said Allie. People need to do their research.
    leek
    23rd May 2017
    9:19am
    Well said Allie. People with mental problems are the most vulnerable. The homeless people seem to fall into 2 categories. Those on drugs(which we all hate), but then there are those that mental health issues. That are just struggling to get by. These are the ones that I really worry about. Mental health is becomming to be a really serious problem and is going to be the root of a huge amount of problems in the future for whatever government we have.
    Lookfar
    23rd May 2017
    5:19pm
    One Billion dollars, the amount that the Fed Govt is planning to give to Adani, the corrupt environment destroyer from India, where he has done it many times before, - one billion dollars, to harrass and cause severe stress to thousands of innocent people so he can continue the destruction of the great Barrier Reef, When I heard that almost half of the Great Barrier Reef may now be dead*, I felt numb, The largest living structure on Earth, visible from space, once teaming with life and colour, bursting with splendour and diversity, is being killed by a reckless industry.
    When the symptoms of the fossil fuel industry’s destruction are visible from outer space, you know things have reached a new level of wrong.
    We know that more coal equals more climate change equals a dead Reef. It’s a simple equation yet even when our natural heritage is being boiled alive, our Government is happy to let the profiteers of this terrible legacy keep on digging us into a dirty, deathly hole.
    The Federal Govt must have scat for brains, raise a billion dollars by harrassing the aged so as to destroy the reef and our grandchildren's world and future? - and they wouldn't get a billion dollars anyway, it will cost probably 4 to 6 hundred thousand in Bureaucreat expenses, so they will have to destroy yet more of Australia's heritage to get that blood money for Adani.
    And in the meantime, coal fired powerstations are closing down all over the world because wind and solar power are so much cheaper.
    Rodent
    24th May 2017
    9:37am
    ONLY FOR THOSE INTERESTED IN MORE DETAILS RE THIS POSTING

    Go to Senates - Community Affairs References Committee- Hansard Proof Thursday 18 May 2017 - Canberra Meeting

    PAGES 24,25,30,31,36,40 has more details on how the PROCESS may work , and what is being TARGETED
    Cat
    24th May 2017
    10:15am
    This has already begun! My mother received a letter that she owed $9,000+ a couple of months ago, due to overpayment 5 years ago,when my father died. As a 'courtesy' they knocked it down to $6,700 approx. We tried to get detailed info about it but couldn't. Even though we notified them of her earnings (super) at the time they still said they overpaid her as they didn't take the super into account. So she owes it. They asked for $120 pf repayment even though she was only getting a part payment not much more than this. I,told them the super pension and part aged pension wouldn't cover the cost of her weekly nursing home payments so they reduced the weekly payment to my requested amount. Not happy that they can spring this on you 5 years later, when all the evidence is gone.
    Misty
    24th May 2017
    9:56pm
    Cat same thing happened to me after my husband died, also with the super, I got a notice from the Debt Collector to say I owed Centrelink $4,000.00 I queried this as I had told them all the changes after my husband died and after a review they halved the amount and I am paying it back at $50.00 a fortnight, wonder how many others have received these letters.
    niemakawa
    24th May 2017
    10:19pm
    @Misty, Did they inform you of this debt before sending in the Debt Collector? I don't understand, if you told them all the changes, how they can say you have been overpaid.
    SheppartonMIss
    24th May 2017
    8:18pm
    If anyone from the gov ever reads YLC I want them to know that people who have worked all their lives, paid taxes and contributed to the community should be treated a bit better in their declining years. They shouldn't have to worry about earning '$10' over their fortnightly amount!! If you retire, and like many, don't have $500,000 in the bank, but are lucky to at least own the bed you sleep in, then you should be able to earn ANY amount UNTIL you surpass that magical number (whether its $500K or $700K) in your bank account.
    So many people have worked so hard all their lives but something, anything, happens and your retirement plans are shot.

    Personally, I don't want any charity, I am happy to (still) work for anything extra I want that my pension doesn't lend itself to BUT it annoys the s... out of me when I am to be penalized for earning every dollar over a piddling fortnightly amount.
    The system should be that once you retire the maximum amount of cash you can have in your bank account is $500,000 or $700,000 (or whatever is decided). People would not be penalized until they reached that amount. That would alleviate some of the wealthy v poor retiree issues. I certainly don't begrudge people who have been able to retire well in doing that. I just think there should be some mechanism that allows others that opportunity WHERE they are willing to work for it.
    Others thoughts? Very happy to hear others take on this as I am sure I am not the only 'old' hardworking person sick of always being behind the 8 ball.
    niemakawa
    24th May 2017
    8:22pm
    I am an advocate of non-means tested aged pensions. That would solve your problem. You would get the pension regardless of what other income or assets you may have. No more reporting to Centrelink, how wonderful.
    SheppartonMIss
    24th May 2017
    8:58pm
    No I don't think non means tested is the way to achieve retiree equality. People with lots of money and assets will continue to grow those. It's people without these that need a leg up - even in retirement. That's why a cap at $500K or $700K cash would be fair. For us poor people we could still earn up to that amount without impact - and rightly so. People who already have assets PLUS more than that in cash, could be means tested only regarding money from working in retirement. After all, 'means testing' is about seeing WHAT assets and means a person has. and if they already have so much they probably won't work once retired anyway - they don't need to!
    ex PS
    25th May 2017
    3:43pm
    No problem with Means testing if it is regarded as testing an individuals ability to earn an income, this would mean that the family home should be exempt as it does not generate an income. I will probably never quality for a Pension/Part Pension, but I do insist that people have the right to live where they want in the house that suits them whether they are getting a Pension Payment Entitlement or not.
    PlanB
    26th May 2017
    4:44pm
    The ATO has your Tax file number and they know everything about you, they also report to the Centrelink.

    Yes Pensioners DO pay tax -- they pay GST -- they may not have to pay tax on a Taxation form -- but they still pay GST


    Join YOURLifeChoices, it’s free

    • Receive our daily enewsletter
    • Enter competitions
    • Comment on articles
    you might also be interested in...

    Retirement Planning

    When retirement planning becomes life planning it is a challenging, fun and fulfilling task.

    Age pension explained

    Anne explains whether you will qualify for an Age Pension and simplifies some of the more complex scenarios you may encounter dealing with Centrelink.

    Cruising

    Got the travel bug or need a break? Take a look at our latest Seniors travel discounts and deals.

    Meal Ideas

    Be inspired by our easy meal ideas. Search through hundreds of recipes to find the perfect one for any occasion.

    Trivia

    Have some fun and keep your mind active with our Daily Crossword, Trivia, Word Search and Sudoku Games.