Centrelink data-matching ignores those who are underpaid

Should data matching be used to help those who have been underpaid?

Mature couple checking their Centrelink benefits

Over the last few weeks, much has been made of the Government’s debt-recovery program but if data-matching really is the way forward, when will it be used to help those who have been underpaid or missed out on benefits altogether?

Following analysis of the Government’s Parenting Payment, The Australia Institute (TAI) uncovered that an estimated 113,176 Australian families missed out on payments. According to its paper, Match making: Using data-matching to find people missing out on Government assistance, in the year 2008-09, the amount of Parenting Payments not paid totalled $46.8 million, with one in four families missing out on payments due.

Interestingly, during its analysis, TAI found that almost the same number of people were estimated to be missing out on payments as those who were being overpaid. It also notes that while data matching can indeed identify overpayments, it doesn’t mean that the recipients were actually welfare cheats. Often it’s the complex nature of the forms, the detailed information required and the inability of people to understand the language used that results in the discrepancy.

Although the Government’s data-matching system can’t actually identify those not receiving payments they are due (as it requires a customer account to cross reference the information from other agencies), it can identify where an underpayment is being made. This is not just for the Parenting Payment, it’s also for any payments that require reporting of income, such as the Age Pension and Newstart Allowance.

Of the 1034 Australians surveyed by TAI, 75 per cent believed that the Government should do more to identify those who may be missing out on payments. TAI also concludes that with data matching being used to help people find unclaimed and lost superannuation, there is a clear need to utilse the technology to provide a similar system for welfare payments.

Read the full paper at TAI.org.au

Opinion: There can’t be different rules for all

Not only has the Government’s debt-recovery program been badly managed, it has raised questions about the fairness of the system in general.

In a week where the Minister for Health Sussan Ley stood down and later resigned due to a supposed rort in travel expenses, it was open season for the mainstream media on the Government. Tales of Julie Bishop’s trip to Portsea Polo, Mathias Cormann’s weekends in Broome and even Peter Dutton’s working dinner in the USA all hit the front pages, yet they couldn't quite bury the debacle that has been the Centrelink debt-recovery program.

How galling for those who have received an incorrect notice of possible overpayment of benefits or have been forced in to repayment plans to see our esteemed ministers living it up at the taxpayers’ expense? And while you may think that the two issues are not connected, the reality is that both are a reflection on the failure to understand that just because something is legal, it doesn't make it morally correct.

Sure, all of the ministers who hit the headlines, not just last week but over the last few years, for seemingly excessive travel claims may well have acted within the current guidelines, but can they honestly say they didn't use the rules to their own personal advantage? And the Government is indeed well within its rights to instruct Centrelink to pursue those who may have been overpaid benefits, but surely it has an obligation to ensure the integrity of the system it uses to do so?

It’s not only the integrity of Centrelink’s debt-recovery process that should be called into question, but also the means for which it is used. If the system is able to flag cases where an overpayment has occurred, then surely there is a moral obligation to flag cases where the individual has been underpaid? If so, it’s one that the Government has chosen not to take on board.

Instead the onus is on the individual customer to try and make sense of the complex rules and legislation that are attached to every Centrelink payment. And, as we at YourLifeChoices see every week from the questions we receive seeking clarification of Centrelink rules and entitlements, this is far from easy.

With a recent Reachtel poll, conducted in the wake of the Centrelink debacle and the current entitlements scandal, indicating that undecided voters would, if pushed, list Labor as their first preference, perhaps a little New Year goodwill from the Government would go a long way.

What do you think? Should the Government look to clean up its own entitlement issues before chasing people who may not owe anything to Centrelink? Or are the two items completely separate? Do you think the onus should be on Centrelink to flag underpayments? Have you uncovered a Centrelink underpayment? And if so, did you find it easy to have the payment corrected?

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    COMMENTS

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    TREBOR
    16th Jan 2017
    10:22am
    If the recipient is UNDERpaid, Colonel C'Link will stay away from that like it's The Black Plague. As before, I've often slightly over-stated income when I have no real idea what hours I would be working on the day I had to submit income , just for safety's sake - and never once did The Good Colonel send me a nice letter saying :- "Oops, we've underpaid you by $X - we'll balance it next pay."
    Old Geezer
    16th Jan 2017
    10:28am
    When I fill out forms for people I underestimate as you can always pay a bit back but you may miss out if you overestimate.
    TREBOR
    16th Jan 2017
    10:34am
    Thanks for your support there, OG... one rule one way, another rule the other.... works wonders every time.
    gravy
    16th Jan 2017
    12:00pm
    Hi Old Geezer

    Your method of underestimate rather than overestimate is in fact an offence (to receive a payment than is greater than you are entitled to is against the Acts) and unethical (you have previously made mention you are an accountant). When declaring income to Centrelink you must provide a correct figure and you acknowledge the details are correct. If it cannot be determined then you should overestimate the figure and advise that it is an estimate and when you have the correct figures you must supply them and an adjustment will be made.

    Centrelink does not normally check for underpayments as a client may wish to receive less than their entitlement. It is up to the client to initiate a request to check. If you have been underpaid you are only entitled to receive back payments to a total of 13 weeks from the date of the request. If overpaid the period is unlimited.
    HarrysOpinion
    16th Jan 2017
    2:40pm
    "When I fill out forms for people I underestimate "...Who in the hell are you old geezer?. The other day you wrote that you bribe Centrelink staff with hamburgers and lifts home. Now you state that you complete forms for other people with false information !
    Old Geezer
    16th Jan 2017
    3:44pm
    I'll give some examples of how I underestimate. A car is valued between $2K and $4K. I will take the lower value. Interest rates are 2.5% and the forecast is for lower rates so I will check the forecast rate for the end of the period and average the 2 rates. If I used the 2.5% I would be overestimating. Caravan and motorhomes are the worst to value. So how do you get a realistic value? You are probably looking at about half their advertised value for a quick sale now. Most people overestimate by quite a margin but they are doing themselves a disservice if they are close to or just over the limits. Most household contents are virtually worthless and in some case you have to pay to have them taken away.

    If you had ask me to say what my income was going to be at the end of this financial year back in July it would be a vastly different figure to what I would forecast today. You cannot give a correct forecast and have it spot on. It's just a guess based on history that may be wrong.
    TREBOR
    16th Jan 2017
    7:40pm
    Do you do, or advise, that with fortnightly income for Social Security recipients, OG? That IS the subject.

    We're not talking about asset values and estimated of future income - we're talking about lodging a return of hard income (estimated though it may be) every two weeks with the relevant government body, and signing to its truthfulness......
    Rae
    18th Jan 2017
    8:54am
    I'm not sure I understand TREBOR. How is it even possible to estimate income and then sign to its truthfulness?

    I swear Centrelink is crazy or lost in the 20th century.

    I have never had to claim than the Goddess but I have worked casual and would have no idea if I'd work one day or ten a fortnight. If they needed me then I got a call before 7:30.

    It sounds like the deeming and the 10% or 16X measure made up for defined benefits. It is an imaginary number only.

    Shouldn't people be reporting after payday whenever that is and an appropriate program be written to deal with it?
    Old Geezer
    16th Jan 2017
    10:25am
    I received a phone call from Centrelink wanting to know why I didn't apply for the OAP. So it looks to me like they are already checking to see why people are not getting welfare.
    Idontforget
    16th Jan 2017
    10:35am
    There is an old saying that can be adapted for this online forum.
    'Don't put your fingers near the keyboard and people can only think you are an idiot. Put your fingers on the keyboard and type and people will know you are an idiot'
    Old Geezer
    16th Jan 2017
    10:51am
    What a lot of rubbish!

    Centrelink is checking people with under payments already.
    Appathetic
    16th Jan 2017
    11:41am
    Centrelink can only do that if you are already on a payment. One of the advantages of the current publicity is that people are saying "you mean I can get a pension if I am working?". Most people of this age pride themselves of not previously getting a hand out from the Govt. The politicians excessive claims are changing that and we now see more people saying if they get that then I am claiming this!
    Old Geezer
    16th Jan 2017
    11:48am
    I don't even have a Centrelink number and have not received any payments at all from them. So it is incorrect that you have to be on payments.
    Appathetic
    16th Jan 2017
    12:19pm
    Old Geezer - I would be interested to find out how they found your contact details. Centrelink are very constrained in their data matching functions.
    I would get at least 2 enquiries a week from people have been entitled to an age pension for more than a year. Yes it is their problem not knowing but even Centrelink 'front desk' staff are not able to recommend an entitlement. Although FISO may do so.
    Old Geezer
    16th Jan 2017
    3:59pm
    I thought it was a nuisance call when I answered the phone. From what I can work out they must have got my information from the ATO but I can't be sure.

    It may have been as simple as someone putting me into Centrelink because they thought I should not have been getting the OAP. People make the wrong assumptions all the time about me. Sometimes it's easier just to say thankyou with a smile as to do otherwise would cause them embarrassment.
    TREBOR
    17th Jan 2017
    8:04am
    The ATO probably on-sold your meta-data to some commercial user.... budget bottom line is tough for the Guv, you know, and every cent counts......
    TREBOR
    16th Jan 2017
    10:31am
    As for politicians - thee is no argument over their entitlement to fair compensation for genuine work-related expenses - they are, after all, doing their WORK on behalf of the country. The trouble begins when they abuse that entitlement and artificially create work-related reasons to travel etc so they can claim, and not pay out of their own pocket for their person OR their Party business.

    Once again - PARTY business is NOT government business, and it is not merely sufficient that some government/opposition luminary be invited to a NYE party, a footie final or anything else, on the basis that they are that luminary. ONLY if they are actively doing something related to government work - opening a stadium (why would the Finance or Foreign Affairs Minister need to do that?).

    No more:- "Oh, come to my party for NYE as the Minister and cop your freebie." Invitation to a party etc is on a personal basis, irrespective of who you are... the head of the AMA doesn't cop payment for travel etc to attend a party he/she is invited to... like everyone else, they pay for it themselves.
    Anonymous
    16th Jan 2017
    3:26pm
    I agree TREBOR. How is it that a Foreign Minister can claim internal travel to a polo match and tell us that it is within her portfolio? I note that the polo match was on again last weekend but she didn't turn up this time.
    TREBOR
    16th Jan 2017
    3:43pm
    Yes, amazing, isn't it? As soon as they have that position, they blithely say:- "I was only invited because I am the Minister for Whatnot, so that justifies the public purse paying my way."

    When it has nothing to do with their portfolio or electorate work, there is zero requirement for the taxpayer to fund their travel and accommodation. And that includes PARTY business as well...

    Maybe a Foreign Minister needs to know how polo is played in case he/she hob-knobs with the Pakis or Prince Charles or whatever....
    Anonymous
    16th Jan 2017
    4:44pm
    And, speaking of Foreign Ministers, when Gillard overlooked Warren Mundine as the logical replacement Senator and chose Carr who was made Foreign Minister, I wonder what the deal was. By convention, a Foreign Minister may only have his/her partner accompany them if a specific invitation asking for that is made. Carr took his wife on all trips and the questions have to be asked; was his wife invited for every trip (most unusual) or did Carr agree to the job only if his wife could travel with him.

    I don't want to make this comment party specific but, to me, what Carr did was a total disregard of all the "guidelines" and what Turnbull has proposed may not stop this happening in the future.
    Old Geezer
    16th Jan 2017
    5:49pm
    The appointment of Carr was the worse kept secret of all times.
    TREBOR
    16th Jan 2017
    7:21pm
    Yes - the appointed Secretary of State of the Gillard years....
    phantom
    16th Jan 2017
    10:33am
    It's like claiming tax, it up to you to know what you are entitled to, not the government.
    If you were a politician would you hand back half you wages and entitlements. No, you would be like everyone else, if that's what I get so be it. I can't see people giving up their business class seat and go to cattle class. I can't see pollies not taking their spouse if the rules allow it. What hypercrits we are. To stop them from using the RULES, find out who makes them and change them. Or if that fails stop the whining and become one. Theirs no university course or qualifications, just lie a lot.
    Captain
    16th Jan 2017
    12:55pm
    As I have stated previously, they are our employees and we are entitled to vary their entitlements.
    TREBOR
    16th Jan 2017
    3:44pm
    Absolutely, Captain.
    dougie
    16th Jan 2017
    10:35am
    My experience and knowledge of Centrelink is that if you have been underpaid as a result of their mistake that they will pay you the underpayment back to the point of the error.
    I know of one lady who had her benefits wrongly assessed and was told that she had an amount to pay even though only being on the pension for a short while. In her words " the lovely young lady at Centrelink on the phone looked into the matter and said that she would have to refer to her supervisor. She did this came back to the woman and said her supervisor would contact he within the hour. This he did resolved the problem and arranged for her pension to be increased and a payment of the underpaid amount."
    Mistakes can be made but if they are corrected and the correct payments made that is a good thing.
    I know that this is only one person but she certainly sings high her praise of this employee.
    Work with the staff and things will be achieved work against them or be abusive and you will be treated the way you should be. We can all get frustrated but rudeness gains nothing.
    Appathetic
    16th Jan 2017
    11:33am
    Centrelink are only obliged to pay back a maximum of 14 days even when confirmed/agreed that the error was made by Centrelink.
    It is possible that when an error is found within the 14 weeks of the original claim then that may be corrected/paid. However, Centrelink have also removed the document that allows confirmation/audit of details recorded by Centrelink, so it is somewhat difficult to do that. You now need to specifically request those details.
    If during the 'robotic' debt process a Centrelink error is identified then a maximum of only 14 days will be repaid, not - say - 4 years.
    I agree about most Centrelink staff. Treat them with respect and you will be better off. However, they need to work with some very unfair rules.
    Old Geezer
    16th Jan 2017
    11:52am
    If you get family benefits weekly then they match it with what you have received with your tax return they will recalculate it and backdate it at least 12 months.
    Appathetic
    16th Jan 2017
    12:14pm
    Gee Old Geezer that's great! I have been to numerous Appeal Tribunals, submitted to a number of Senate enquiries and the Greens are currently preparing Legislative change to allow more than 14 days back pay. So maybe its just age pensions?
    dougie
    16th Jan 2017
    12:34pm
    Apathetic,


    Do you mean 14 days or 14 weeks, I am confused by your statements. Which is correct. I am not an expert on Centrelink, but I have found them to be fair in their decisions.
    Appathetic
    16th Jan 2017
    1:02pm
    dougie - sorry trying to be brief and caused confusion. The 14 weeks applies to new applications, suspensions, rejections etc. For example, you can be back paid the suspension period if the suspension was wrong. Also with a new claim, in some circumstances, you can get a back payment to the 'error' date - within a 14 weeks period.
    If you are updating your records and they enter $500pf as income instead of $50pf then you only get 14 days. The same period you get to respond to a request for information - a Q002 request.
    I am aware that some age pensioners - via their MP - have been able to get back payments beyond that 14 days.
    Old Geezer
    16th Jan 2017
    5:56pm
    You can claim family tax benefit up to 12 months after the end of the financial year. For 2015-2016 family tax benefit you can claim up until 30-6-2017.

    https://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/enablers/time-period-submitting-lump-sum-claims-and-confirming-income

    I know of some people who have had their OAP payments backdated years.
    tex
    16th Jan 2017
    10:39am
    this government is the laughing stock of the world, I believe some countries are even selling tickets Tex
    KSS
    16th Jan 2017
    12:40pm
    Guess what tex, the 'rest of the world' has more important things to worry about than the internal machinations of the Australian government. No one cares!
    Not Senile Yet!
    16th Jan 2017
    11:16am
    It's not the Centrelinks Staffs fault....they have been savaged with cut backs...just not enough of them to keep up with the Constant changes from Government who sacked the dead wood in a clean-out!
    Feel sorry for Staff...constant battle with ignorant and rude people....who haves issues that make them unemployable.....not just unemployed.
    Bad Attitudes are never addressed so nothing changes!
    Next to being a policeman/women....
    Centrelink has to be one of the worse jobs with regard to Stress & Negativity....not just from the CUstomers.....but also from their Bosses constantly changing everything and expecting les and less Staff to cope with Increasing demand!
    Thankless job....just like the Police!
    This government is Screwing everyone....even themselves!
    MICK
    16th Jan 2017
    11:17am
    The real cheats in all of this are the politicians who are happy to defraud taxpayers knowing that they can never be prosecuted for their behaviour. As always there are rules for some and (different) rules for others. Apparently id you are rich, well connected or in politics the rules for the rest of us do not apply to you.
    Anonymous
    16th Jan 2017
    5:19pm
    helo the hooded plover is back
    Anonymous
    16th Jan 2017
    6:31pm
    MICK, ignore it. Just nother snide and nasty comment coming fro one of the most disliked (and incompetent spellers) on this site. Have a good getaway.
    Not Senile Yet!
    16th Jan 2017
    11:19am
    Meanwhile....The real Welfare Cheats are racking up their expense accounts like their is no Tomorrow!
    And you know what....They are right for the First time!
    There will be no more LNP Party Puppets left after the Next Election!
    GoldenOldie
    16th Jan 2017
    11:35am
    Maybe Centrelink, or at least the selfsame IT system, should be used to ascertain MP salaries and 'entitlements' (or should it be 'benefits'?). I'm sure any glitches will be ironed out quick smart then - nothing like self-interest to solve problems quicker!
    HDRider
    16th Jan 2017
    12:03pm
    Quite right, clean up Government, age of entitlement for these spoiled brats is over. Then, dismiss the Centrelink CEO, he is, and has been totally out of control for years.
    Then we pick a Govt (haha) that may be able to do the job, or, vote totally for an independent and see if they are liars cheats n thieves too.
    Then, we get this new generation of tossers off their butts and into the work force and stop their handouts. Get rid of political correctness and the fools that preach it and get back to basics.
    I know, its a pipe dream and it'll never happen, but, I feel better for the release hahahahaha
    TREBOR
    16th Jan 2017
    1:25pm
    "dismiss the Centrelink CEO, he is, and has been totally out of control for years."

    Not challenging you here - but could you give me an outline of his issues? Just for the record.
    BillF2
    16th Jan 2017
    12:22pm
    The government's system of entitlements for travel and other expenditure is deliberately vague, relying on personal morality alone, so that the unscrupulous can continue to dip into the public's pocket and claim they have done nothing wrong. They might be little less gung-ho if they had to report every detail to Centrelink. They might also show a lot more concern for the rest of the population if, when they left Parliament, they had no lifetime perks and the only pension they could get was self-funded or through Centrelink. After all, no other employer gives such generous benefits to unqualified staff after they have gone.
    4b2
    16th Jan 2017
    12:33pm
    Well thank you Sussan Lee. The Government announced today they are reforming the debt recovery system.
    Rae
    18th Jan 2017
    9:00am
    Believe anything they say when it actually happens. In fact the event is usually the opposite of what they announce isn't it?
    Paulodapotter
    16th Jan 2017
    12:43pm
    What if you're underpaid? Terrific question. Let me assure you, it will be a lot harder to get more money out of the government than it will be for the government to demand money from you. Australian governemnts have been screwing the poor since the first convicts arrived and I don't think the culture will change any time soon.
    Paulodapotter
    16th Jan 2017
    12:45pm
    According to the well-off, the poor are poor because it's their own fault and the well-off control government.
    Old Geezer
    16th Jan 2017
    6:03pm
    The rich are people who take opportunities when they come along and the poor are people who just ignore them.
    TREBOR
    16th Jan 2017
    7:27pm
    Nonsense, OG - look at all these 'privatisation' opportunities - nothing but insider trading between elected representatives who will be legislating the changes, and their mates who are advised in advance that a sweet deal is coming up from which you can make millions.

    Blatant theft, and it started when Nick Greiner (then resident NSW 'premier') and Co bought out the sold-off F.4 Freeway and converted it into a tollway named the M.4 for profit, garnering them many millions. Nothing has changed in the 'privatisation' world since then, and with a few other government initiatives drawing billions of taxpayers funds, such as childcare, with Party wives buying into it big-time and generating millions.

    What would a Federal ICAC make of all that?
    TREBOR
    16th Jan 2017
    7:29pm
    NONE of these is an opportunity that just happened to wander past - they were set up that way. It's called corruption.

    Most poor people have enough to do to put enough food on their table - and not too many opportunities stroll past in a limited market. Just a small example - every corner coffee shop wants to earn millions - all they do is compete in a glutted market and then whine that staff costs are too high. If everyone 'took advantage of opportunities' - everything would function in a glutted market.

    As an accountant you know nothing of economics, so your accountancy must be at tech college level.
    Blossom
    16th Jan 2017
    1:37pm
    You can arrange an appointment to see a financial advisor at Centrelink. I received a letter on behalf of an elderly relative who had difficullty filling in forms. Her pension was incorrectly cut. The amount they were going to pay her was less than the medicine allowance. The guy I had a meeting with had no idea how Centrelink Headquarters had arrived at the figures. I got her pension increased by about $50.00 a fortnight.
    libsareliars
    16th Jan 2017
    1:52pm
    I think the Centrelink system stinks.
    fish head
    16th Jan 2017
    3:33pm
    I was granted a part pension in February 2016 (it took 3 months to process). My part pension was seriously reduced by the current changes. I contacted my Financial Advisor to ask why when we had consulted on the matter after the changes were flagged and I was assured that I was well under the limits proposed. On accessing my Centrelink account we have discovered 2 major mistakes in Centrelink's records.My case is now being reviewed. I have been told that Centrelink do NOT check their own records, it is up to the individual to contact Centrelink (good luck with that), identify the error and request that it be altered providing written proof of the aforesaid error. However not too many people have the skills to interpret Centrelink's jargon hence my use of the services of my Financial Advisor as intermediary. Expensive? Yes. Stress reducing - too bloody right.
    Old Geezer
    16th Jan 2017
    3:46pm
    Learn the rules before you play the game. A FIS officer actually told me that once. Their forms can be filled out in many ways and it is up to you to fill them out to get the best outcome for you.
    TREBOR
    16th Jan 2017
    7:30pm
    And yet if you falsely or erroneously declare they will hound you? Brilliant...
    Rae
    18th Jan 2017
    9:02am
    Yes OG and make sure you keep up with all the rule changes the government dream up as the game goes along. You simple cannot trust them any more.
    Linda
    16th Jan 2017
    3:52pm
    I think the entitlements and salaries for the elected folks and those receiving benefits due to hardship are linked. When we have a government trying to claw back money from the poorest people in the country while at the same time spending like there is no tomorrow on their travel allowances and such is a high form of double standard. If the budget bottom line is not as good as it once was, then I would like to see the government first cutting their own incomes and expense allowances. It is not just the cuts to income, it is the increases in certain medical costs, the loss of bulk billing, the changes to the way increases are calculated, while the very wealthiest are being rewarded with massive tax cuts and such. Then... our ABC National Radio is soon to be history as they switch to digital which means everyone in the bush will not have access to the news and weather.

    The programming of the ABC television has taken cut after cut after cut, leaving us a much poorer nation in terms of entertainment. This impacts on millions of people who are not living in the big metro areas. I am most distressed with the incompetence and the shear meanness of this government. They are not good economic managers, and in terms of campaign donations and rich mates it seams they are only in it to enrich themselves or to be able to swan around with the super wealthy. There are only a couple of them that seem to actually put some effort in for their big salaries.
    Old Geezer
    16th Jan 2017
    5:48pm
    So we should give pollies back the expenses they didn't claim too? Sounds reasonable to me.
    TREBOR
    16th Jan 2017
    7:31pm
    If those expenses were on legitimate government business and not personal business disguised as government business. I doubt you'd be re-paying politicians any unpaid expenses... they wouldn't miss a trick in their wide-open expense account.
    Dancer
    16th Jan 2017
    4:53pm
    Yes, the government should certainly tighten up the rules for politicians to claim travel and etc. expenses. For too long the politicians have had the "snouts in the trough"... within the rules but arranged to suit their personal agenda.
    Regarding Centrelink benefits, again yes, Centrelink should be informing the public much more about benefits to which they are entitled... many people are not aware of some benefits or allowances they can claim and if no-one tells them they miss out. This is not fair to those people.
    Old Geezer
    16th Jan 2017
    5:47pm
    What about those pollies who don't claim all of their expenses? Should the government give it to them anyway?
    TREBOR
    16th Jan 2017
    7:35pm
    By your standard of saying that the claim is entirely the responsibility of the claimant - no - pollies would not be paid what they do not claim.

    What should be mandatory is that full disclosure of benefits and rights for Social Security by Centrelink be part of the application process - not this - "oh - so solly - you didn't apply.. not our fault you didn't know what was available, since we didn't inform you, and you have no other way of knowing unless it's pub talk."

    Would you enter into a contract with bank without full disclosure? What makes the government above the law of the land?

    What The Shaitan do they imagine their task is? It is to ensure the Welfare of the Australian Public by correctly providing Social Security.
    TREBOR
    17th Jan 2017
    8:11am
    That means Centrelink has a DUTY to ensure payment is correct BOTH ways - not just the way that suits some mythical government 'bottom line'. When you are dealing with 'budgets' they are nothing but guesstimates of what might happen if all the pigs fly right, and many have been hoodwinked into the delusion that one party or the other is 'better' at fiscal management because of the fantasy figures they bring up at 'budget' time.

    What this means - the issue of Social Security both ways - is that Centrelink is deliberately withholding from its staff the training and the authority to ensure correct payments across the board, and is instead pursuing some phantom of massive overpayments based on a false theory, clearly on government orders.
    Rae
    18th Jan 2017
    9:05am
    In a nutshell TREBOR. It is definitely not the truth anymore but some fantasy and pretend numbers deemed or allowed.

    Must be a nightmare working for the departments.

    16th Jan 2017
    4:56pm
    Gee, talk about a rock and a hard place! What we have is an overpayment of entitlements and, to me, it matters little who caused the overpayment. It could have been the recipients giving the wrong information or it could have been Centrelink stuffing up but why it happened has become an irrelevancy. People who have received too much money should have to pay it back. What the problem appears to be is how those people can be identified. What the government has done is one way of doing it and all of the people who object to that system have not come up with an alternative method. The only alternative offered is to stop asking people to pay back money to which they are not entitled. Sure, there will be errors and those errors will be amended when the proof is offered. The figures being bandied about range from 1.6% dissatisfied to 80% dissatisfied and I'm sure that the answer lies in between. Can we have some proof as to actual figures and take it from there? If the figure is about 1.6%, keep the pressure on; if the figure is about 80%, do a rethink.
    Old Geezer
    16th Jan 2017
    5:46pm
    You are right Old Man it is nothing more than an audit with a simple letter asking you to verify the information you have given Centrelink. ATO do this all the time and Centrelink has been doing it for years too. Just like the ATO if you don't supply the information they want then they will bill you using the information they have. So get off your posterior and give them the information they want in the time allowed or just respond in the time allowed for an extension of time. They are being fair if anything more than fair.
    floss
    16th Jan 2017
    4:56pm
    Please go away OG as I like to read real post from real Aussies not your made up fibs.
    Anonymous
    16th Jan 2017
    5:24pm
    as usual give a reasonable comment and you get a loony answer.
    Old Geezer
    16th Jan 2017
    5:41pm
    Looney that comment does nothing more than show your limited mindset. I hate to say it but there is a big wide world out there where things happen that most have no idea about.
    TREBOR
    16th Jan 2017
    7:37pm
    That's three such comments for the price of one --- it's like that Monty Python sketch with the police inspectors arriving one after another and serving a fair cop..

    "Ey! Wait a minute! It's a fair cop!" (another hand falls on shoulder)....
    Rae
    17th Jan 2017
    8:41am
    Lesson from this is that if you are going to claim any sort of benefits from the government you need to have a proper paper trail to work from.

    I've had to keep everything for years now for the ATO.

    Just get one of those 20 page plastic folders and file everything each financial year.

    Then check your records with the governments or get someone to do it. I use a good accounting firm.

    Now if you don't get a pay slip or other notifications from your employer then that is an entirely different matter and complaints to the relevant authorities are needed.

    Forget about fear of losing the job. We have just found out what a pain it is to try to get paperwork from disorganised employers. Remembering that a great percentage of businesses fail usually from overspending on toys or lack of management skills.

    Luckily it wasn't anything to do with the government but a family member has worked three years with no documentation but a cheque deposit every two, three weeks depending on when they could get it and their own hour records.

    I learned that contemporaneous notes also count a great deal. Especially in a court of law. If you keep a daily written blog of events ad costs the judges will acknowledge it.

    Like my son a lot of the problems stem from laziness. One of the worst curses of our modern world and one that can be easily overcome with a bit of will power and organisation.

    It is not the governments job to track down people it owes money to. Take control of your own life and surprising things happen.
    Rodent
    17th Jan 2017
    1:08pm
    This make interesting reading -Centrelink Debt issue

    http://operational.humanservices.gov.au/public/Pages/debts/107-02040020-01.html#bp01010000_Assessing_verified_e
    Rodent
    17th Jan 2017
    4:28pm
    Now they are going to extend the "Debt Recovery System" to target Age and Disability support Pensioners, says media reports!!
    Rodent
    17th Jan 2017
    4:34pm
    Given the CL Rules specify that CL must be notified every time a Pensioners Assets values changes by $2000 or more, either UP or DOWN,I wonder how their automated process will cope with this.

    The search for easy dollars continues in the blind belief that there is $billions out there to be Recovered, that was Overpaid at some stage to Someone
    LiveItUp
    17th Jan 2017
    6:41pm
    I'm glad I don't have tell Centrelink even time my assets change by $2000. Some days it would be every few minutes and then I wouldn't get right as by the time I had told it would have changed another $ 2000.
    Teddyboy.
    19th Jan 2017
    1:29pm
    If only they would show as much interest in cracking down on the other end of the financial scale. They won't and hopefully people are beginning to realise where the LNP are coming from. Keep up the good work and we will see the back of you at the next election.


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