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3.6 Centrelink benefits

3.6.1 Agent obligations when a Centrelink preliminary notice is received | 3.6.2 When a Centrelink Clearance is received | 3.6.3 When a Centrelink Recovery Notice is received | 3.6.4 When a Preliminary Notice has not been received | 3.6.5 When Centrelink forwards a refund payment | 3.6.6 Garnishee notices | 3.6.7 Guidelines for recovery of Centrelink payments

Centrelink is an agency of the Department of Human Services (Federal Department) that delivers social security payments on behalf of Australian Government Departments.

To recover money from a worker who is or may become indebted to the Commonwealth, Centrelink may issue a Recovery or GarnisheeThe holding back of a part of compensation from a worker who is indebted to the Commonwealth. Notice. These notices advise the amount of money to be remitted to Centrelink by deductions to weekly payments or lump sums including pecuniary loss.

Agents must comply with notices issued by Centrelink.

Types of Centrelink notices

Preliminary noticeA preliminary notice is issued by Centrelink indicating that they have an interest in the worker referred to in the notice and may wish to recover an amount equal to all or part of the amount payable. This notice places an obligation on WorkSafe/Agent to notify Centrelink prior to releasing any weekly payments to the worker. WorkSafe/Agent is to advise Centrelink within seven calendar days of accepting liability for weekly compensation or receiving the notice if liability has been already been accepted, whichever is the later.

A preliminary notice is served by Centrelink to advise that the worker may be indebted to Centrelink. Receipt of this notice prevents compensation payments being payable to the worker until any debt owed to Centrelink has been paid in full.

Recovery noticeA Recovery Notice is issued by Centrelink to WorkSafe/Agent once Centrelink have determined the amount recoverable. The recovery notice specifies the amount that Centrelink is seeking to recover and the period that the recoverable amount relates to. A recovery notice legally prohibits WorkSafe/Agent from making any payments to the worker unless they have paid to the Commonwealth the amount specified in the notice.

A recovery notice advises the amount that must be reimbursed to Centrelink before weekly or lump sum payments are paid to the worker. These notices are usually issued after Centrelink has been informed by the Agent that the worker has become entitled to retrospective weekly payments or a lump sum payment including pecuniary loss component.

Garnishee noticeA Garnishee Notice is issued to the WorkSafe/Agent where a worker has a debt to the Commonwealth (other than a debt arising directly from the worker’s compensation payments) and advises the amount of money to be remitted to Centrelink on behalf of a worker.

A garnishee notice advises a debt owed by the worker and details an amount to be withheld from a worker’s payments. Although usually only affecting weekly payments a Garnishee Notice can also be deducted from a lump sum, regardless of whether it has a pecuniary loss component. A Recovery and Garnishee Notice can be issued at the same time.

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