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Centrelink debt collectors target innocent people

6 December 2016

This seems to be a common problem for people who've done contract, casual or intermittent work in years they have received Newstart or Youth Allowance.
The government is crowing about its new automated system tracking down money incorrectly paid to welfare recipients, but Crikey is aware of multiple cases of people who have been unfairly and incorrectly targeted under the system.

Government pin hopes on automated debt recovery system to claw back $4 billion

5 December 2016
A Current Affair

The government are hoping a new automated system matching welfare recipient's details with information from the Australian Tax Office will aid in the recovery of $4 billion in Centrelink overpayments.
Every day, $4.5 million in Centrelink debt is being identified.
It has led to debt notices worth almost $650 million being issued to customers in the past four months.

New technology helps raise $4.5 million in welfare debts a day

5 December 2016
Australian Government Department of Human Services

A new online system is helping to raise $4.5 million in debt owed to the Commonwealth every day, a huge leap from the $295,000 per day in the past.
The new online compliance system, which became fully operational in July, is now initiating 20,000 compliance interventions a week – a jump from 20,000 a year previously.
Over 3 years it is expected to carry out 1.7 million compliance interventions.

New online payment tool recovers $2.5 million in welfare debts

8 November 2016
Australian Government Department of Human Services

A new online tool allowing people to repay Centrelink debts in a couple of clicks has recouped almost $2.5 million in welfare debt in less than 2 months.
The Money You Owe tool allows people to view their debt balances, set up repayment arrangements via Direct Debit and make repayments via a credit or debit card using their Centrelink online account.

$76m welfare ‘overpayment’ will not be pursued, Department of Human Services says

20 October 2016

The government has written off $76 million in welfare overpayments, declaring it would cost more to chase the debt than to waive it.
The Department of Human Services overpaid 1.5 million people a total of $1.5 billion, an average of $1000 each, during 2015-16. It clawed back $920 million by deducting money owed from ongoing social security payments or tax refunds.

Ensuring welfare integrity

2 March 2016
The Hon Christian Porter MP, Minister for Social Services, Liberal Member for Pearce

The Government is taking steps to ensure people pay back their welfare debts if they have received payments they are not entitled to.
Two Bills are being introduced to Parliament today to strengthen the integrity of Australia’s welfare system.

Match making Using data - matching to find people missing out on government assistance

1 April 2014
The Australia Institute

The Australia Institute is an independent public policy think tank based in Canberra. It is funded by donations from philanthropic trusts and individuals, memberships and commissioned research. Since its launch in 1994, the Institute has carried out highly influential research on a broad range of economic, social and environmental issues.

* date released April 2012