Compensation kit. What you need to know. humanservices.gov.au

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1 Compensation kit What you need to know humanservices.gov.au

2 2 Compensation kit

3 Contents What you need to know...4 Compensation and social security law: an overview...5 What is compensation?...5 What Centrelink income support payments are affected by compensation?...5 What is not included as compensation?...6 What happens to customers who receive Centrelink income support payments and are later granted compensation?...6 Arrears of periodic compensation payments...6 Lump sum compensation payments...7 Compensation preclusion period...7 Advisory service...8 Compensation Recovery Teams...8 Privacy...8 What privacy means for customers and their solicitors...8 What privacy means for employers, insurers, compensation payers and their solicitors...8 Frequently asked questions...9 Rehabilitation and return to work...12 General information about Centrelink income support payments and concessions...13 Residence requirements Income and asset test Lodging a claim Supporting documents for a claim Additional payments Concession cards Special circumstances Review and appeal rights Help for carers...15 What help is available? Financial help Specialist services...16 Social workers Service Officers Financial Information Service Contact us...17 Find out more Disclaimer How does the compensation recipient obtain a rehabilitation provider? Help in other languages If you need an interpreter or documents translated for Centrelink business, we will arrange this for you free of charge. To speak with us in your language, call or visit a service centre and ask for an interpreter. For information in your language visit humanservices.gov.au/yourlanguage An Auslan Interpreter can be arranged if you need to attend an appointment with us. If you have a TTY phone, call Freecall to request an interpreter, or ask at a service centre before your appointment. What you need to know 3

4 What you need to know This booklet contains essential information for legal advisers and other professionals, compensation recipients and employers, community advice groups, unions and members of parliament. It provides information on how compensation affects Centrelink income support payments, choices for rehabilitation, review and appeal rights, and specialist services for a person claiming compensation. 4 Compensation kit

5 Compensation and social security law: an overview Social security law is comprised of the Social Security Act 1991, the Social Security (Administration) Act 1999 and the Social Security (International Agreements) Act The rules specific to compensation, intended to prevent people receiving both compensation and Centrelink income support payments for the same period, are contained in Section 17 and Part 3.14 of the Social Security Act 1991 (the Act). Part 3.14 of the Act requires the Australian Government Department of Human Services to take compensation payments into account when determining eligibility for most Centrelink income support payments. If you have access to the Internet, you can view the social security law and the detailed policy guide at the Department of Social Services website, dss.gov.au or for general information visit humanservices.gov.au and search for compensation. What is compensation? Compensation is defined in subsection 17(2) of the Act as a payment (whether it is made within or outside Australia) that is made wholly or partly in respect of lost earnings or lost capacity to earn resulting from personal injury. Compensation includes: a payment of damages a payment made under a scheme of insurance or compensation under a Commonwealth, state or territory law, including a payment under a contract entered into under such a scheme a payment (with or without admission of liability) in settlement of a claim for damages or a claim under such an insurance scheme any other compensation or damages payment, or a payment under a sickness or accident policy (except payments from policies purchased by a customer, that are not offset or reduced due to Centrelink income support payments). What Centrelink income support payments are affected by compensation? The list below is not exhaustive. Affected payments include: Advance Pharmaceutical Allowance Age Pension* Austudy Carer Payment Community Development Employment Project Supplement Disability Support Pension (DSP)* Education Entry Payment Fares Allowance Farm Household Allowance Newstart Allowance Parenting Payment (Partnered) Parenting Payment (Single) Partner Allowance Pensioner Education Supplement Rehabilitation Allowance (in place of DSP or Sickness Allowance) Sickness Allowance Special Benefit Telephone Allowance (other than a telephone allowance payable to the holder of a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card) Widow Allowance Youth Allowance. *Note: Age Pension and DSP customers who are blind are paid free of the income and assets tests but are affected by the compensation provisions of the Social Security Act Centrelink income support payments impacted by compensation are called compensation-affected payments and are defined in the Social Security Act What you need to know 5

6 What is not included as compensation? Compensation payments from income replacement, sporting injury, personal sickness or accident insurance policies are not treated as compensation: if the recipient has contributed to the premium, and the insurer has not reduced the policy payments by any Centrelink income support payments that the person has received (or may be entitled to receive). Statutory criminal injury compensation payments, payments to dependants for the death of a person, unlawful dismissal payments, anti-discrimination payments and payments for natural disasters are also not treated as compensation. Other exemptions include: Special Rate Disability Pension Safety Net payment under the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 personal care payments made by the Tasmanian Motor Accidents Insurance Board Future Care Payment Scheme and by the Victorian Transport Accident Commission Attendant Care Service and Post Acute Support schemes, and regular payments (other than compensation for fulltime service) made for loss of Defence Force Reserve wages because of injuries caused by activities in the Defence Force Reserves. Some of these payments are counted under the normal income and assets test while others are not. If a person is receiving one of these payments, they should contact the department to check how their Centrelink income support payments will be affected. What happens to customers who receive Centrelink income support payments and are later granted compensation? The compensation provisions of the Social Security Act 1991 are intended to prevent customers from being doubly compensated for the same period. Therefore, the income support paid by us, while the compensation recipient waits for their compensation, may need to be repaid. A compensation recipient may also not be able to receive Centrelink income support payments for a period of time or their Centrelink income support payments may be reduced because of the compensation. The following information explains what may occur when a person, who is receiving or qualified to receive a payment from us, receives a compensation payment. Periodic compensation payments Continuing periodic compensation payments made for lost earnings or lost capacity to earn, such as weekly workers compensation, will reduce a recipient s Centrelink income support payment by a dollar for every dollar of compensation received. If the compensation recipients partner receives a Centrelink income support payment, their payment may also be affected. The partners payment is only affected if the compensation recipient s Centrelink income support payment has been reduced to nil and the periodic compensation exceeds the maximum rate of the Centrelink payment that the compensation recipient would otherwise receive. Any excess compensation after this calculation is treated as the ordinary income of the compensation recipient s partner. There is a concession available for a compensation recipient who receives periodic payments of compensation for an injury or illness sustained while they were receiving a compensation-affected Centrelink income support payment. In these cases, periodic payments are treated as ordinary unearned income for the compensation recipient instead of a dollar-for-dollar rate reduction and are subject to the relevant income test. The compensation may reduce any Centrelink income support payment made to a compensation recipient s partner under the relevant income test. Arrears of periodic compensation payments If a compensation recipient receives a lump sum payment, representing arrears of periodic compensation payments owed for a past period, and the compensation recipient has also received Centrelink income support payments for some or all of the same period, the compensation recipient will have to pay money back to the department. The amount to be paid back is the difference between: the total amount of the Centrelink income support payment paid to the compensation recipient and, where applicable, the person s partner, and the total amount that would have been paid to the compensation recipient (and their partner) had the periodic compensation payments been made throughout that period. The recovery provisions of the Act affect both members of a couple where periodic compensation has been paid. Recovery will usually be made from the compensation payer. However, where this is not possible, we will seek recovery direct from the compensation recipient and where relevant, their partner. 6 Compensation kit

7 Doug s story Doug received $1250 in Centrelink income support payments while he was waiting for his regular compensation payments to begin. When Doug s regular compensation payments started he was also owed a compensation arrears payment of $2000 for the same period he received the Centrelink income support payments. Doug s insurer had to repay $1250 of the compensation to us because of the dollar-for-dollar rate reduction and Doug got to keep the remaining $750. Lump sum compensation payments Lump sum compensation is often not paid for a specific period. When such a lump sum compensation payment relates to either lost earnings or lost capacity to earn, social security law provides for the calculation of a period of self-support or a preclusion period. Recipients are expected to live on the lump sum payment during this period and are unable to receive Centrelink income support payments. In addition, any past payments made by us may be recovered from the lump sum payment. If a person receives more than one lump sum payment for the same compensable event and any of the lump sums have an economic loss component, they are treated as if one lump sum was paid. This combined total is used to calculate the preclusion period. When a lump sum compensation payment is obtained by consent as settlement of a claim that is related to lost earnings or lost capacity to earn, social security law deems 50 per cent of the gross lump sum payment to be the compensation part. This is used to calculate the preclusion period. The Federal Court has found this 50 per cent deeming rule is not open to rebuttal on the basis that the settlement may have contained a different amount for economic loss. When compensation is awarded by a court or tribunal after a full and contested hearing, we will use the court s categorisation of the lost earnings/lost capacity to earn to determine the compensation part of the lump sum. Compensation preclusion period During a compensation preclusion period, a compensation recipient is not able to receive income support from us. We will recover any income support payments previously paid to the compensation recipient in the preclusion period, and they will not be eligible to receive Centrelink income support payments till the preclusion period has ended. To ensure a compensation recipient fully understands the implications of their preclusion period, we ask that they call our Compensation Recovery Team to discuss the impact of their lump sum compensation payment. See how to contact us on page 17. The number of weeks in a preclusion period is calculated by dividing the compensation part of the lump sum payment (in most cases this will be 50 per cent of the lump sum) by the cut-off limit for a single rate pension under the income test that applies at the date of settlement. For more information refer to humanservices.gov.au/ customer/enablers/income-test-pensions Start date of preclusion period The preclusion period generally begins on the day after the last day periodic compensation payments were paid, or if no periodic compensation payments were received, the day the lost earnings or loss of earnings capacity began. We cannot pay income support payments that are defined as compensation-affected payments, see page 5 for the Centrelink income support payments affected by compensation. Examples of the assistance we provide during a preclusion period include Carer Allowance, Mobility Allowance, Health Care Card, Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, Disaster Relief Payment and Family Tax Benefit. A Low Income Health Care Card may also be available. However, this is usually only available soon after an initial 12 month period from when the compensation recipient received the lump sum compensation payment. Compensation recipients should contact us to discuss what assistance may be available during their preclusion period. A compensation recipient s partner is not precluded and may receive Centrelink income support payments if they apply for and qualify for a payment. A partner s payments will be worked out taking into account the assets and income of the couple. Assets can include the lump sum payment unless it is invested in an exempt asset. Generally, the amount of payments to be repaid to the department will be deducted from the lump sum compensation payment by the compensation payer before the lump sum is paid to the compensation recipient. What you need to know 7

8 Advisory service Compensation Recovery Teams We offer online compensation estimator service. Solicitors, other professionals and injured people can use this service to get advice about the effect a lump sum compensation payment may have on Centrelink income support payments. Our online estimator service Our online compensation estimator can provide an estimate of the charge (debt) or preclusion for an individual customer. The estimator will provide instant estimates of preclusion periods and compensation charges to show the maximum impact of a proposed lump sum compensation payment based on your estimate of the settlement figure. We recommend solicitors log onto our website and obtain an estimate and provide a copy to their clients when advising them about the implications of a settlement on their Centrelink income support payments. To access the estimator, please go to humanservices.gov.au and search for compensation estimator. A recovery notice is not issued until the department has received formal notification of the lump sum settlement and copies of the signed settlement documents. Do not use the estimator for: lump sums awarded by a court or tribunal after a contested hearing, or a payment solely representing arrears of periodic compensation. Why you should use the online compensation estimator It is important compensation recipients are fully aware of the effects that compensation has on Centrelink income support payments. The online compensation estimator is there to help solicitors and other professionals to meet their duty of care to their clients. Many people who are awarded compensation payments approach us to apply for payments after they have spent or invested their compensation monies. Professionals should ensure their clients fully understand the implications of their settlement prior to settling. In some cases, Centrelink income support payments may not be paid to an injured person for some time because of the compensation preclusion provisions of the Act. A person who is precluded from receiving Centrelink income support payments due to a lump sum compensation settlement is expected to use the compensation money as income support. Privacy We have a mutual interest with solicitors and compensation payers to ensure that compensation recipients are advised of the compensation provisions of the Act and that arrangements for recovery of payments paid through the department do not unduly delay release of compensation payments to successful claimants. At the same time, we are required by privacy and confidentiality provisions to respect the privacy of our customers. Protected information may not be disclosed except where necessary for the performance of duties and functions under the Act. You can get more information about how we manage your personal information, including our privacy policy at humanservices.gov.au/privacy or by requesting a copy from us. What privacy means for compensation recipients and their solicitors We can only provide information to a compensation recipient s solicitor with the customers written advice or written confirmation that the solicitor is acting for the claimant. Where possible, the department will notify the compensation payer before the compensation claim settles. We will not release protected information about our customers payment types, rates or current status of payments What privacy means for insurers, compensation payers and their solicitors We can only provide information that relates to the period the compensation affects and the total amount recoverable in our recovery notice issued following settlement. We will not provide information about the period, type and amount of potentially recoverable Centrelink income support payments. Compensation payers or their solicitors, who require any other information for their own purposes, should obtain this from the compensation recipients legal representative. 8 Compensation kit

9 Frequently asked questions This information is intended to be a general guide only. Queries about individual cases should always be directed to our Compensation Recovery Teams (see page 17 for contact details). 1. Does compensation affect all payments made by the department? Compensation, whether received by the claimant or their partner, affects most Centrelink income support payments. Under the compensation preclusion and recovery provisions, compensation is regarded as a direct deduction or as income. It does not affect payments such as Carer Allowance, Mobility Allowance or the Australian Government Disaster Relief Payment. It may affect Wife Age Pension, Bereavement Allowance and certain saved payments under the ordinary income test. It may also affect access to the full range of employment assistance services offered by us. However, the precluded person may be able to get a Health Care Card or the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card during a preclusion period. Lump sum compensation affects access to Health Care Cards issued under the low income earners test for 12 months after receipt of the compensation payment. The partner of a lump sum compensation recipient will be able to receive a Centrelink income support payment, provided they are eligible and the combined assets and income of the couple are below the applicable limits. 2. Definition of a partner For our purposes, a person is considered to be a partner if the compensation recipient and that person are living together, or usually live together, and are married or in a registered relationship (opposite-sex or same-sex), or in a de facto relationship (opposite-sex or same-sex). 3. Are Family Tax Benefit or Child Care Payments affected by the compensation rules? No. The compensation rules do not affect Family Tax Benefit or child care payments. However, taxable compensation payments may affect customers who receive these payments on the basis of their family s combined adjusted taxable income. Taxable compensation is income in the year of receipt and customers may need to adjust their income estimate received from us once compensation is received. 4. How are Centrelink payments affected by periodic payments of compensation? Periodic payments of compensation made for lost earnings or lost capacity to earn income for example, weekly workers compensation reduce the amount of the Centrelink income support payment paid to the compensation recipient by a dollar for every dollar of compensation received. Partners may be affected under the ordinary income test but only if the periodic compensation exceeds the standard Centrelink income support payment rate. Periodic payments of compensation that are paid solely for non-economic loss will affect Centrelink income support payments as ordinary income. However, if the compensation recipient was receiving a Centrelink income support payment at the time of their accident, the regular compensation payments will be treated as income. 5. Can a compensation recipient claim Centrelink income support payments if their compensation payments are delayed? Yes, but compensation recipients who apply for income support payments from us must tell us about the compensation claim. Some or all of the Centrelink income support payments they receive will need to be repaid once any arrears of compensation is paid to them. Our Compensation Recovery Teams will place the compensation payer under notice. This requires they advise us, prior to the release of funds, of any compensation payments proposed to be paid to the injured person. We advise the compensation payer how much needs to be deducted and paid to us. 6. What should compensation recipients tell the department? Compensation recipients who have been paid compensation or who have claimed compensation, or may be able to claim compensation must inform us. Compensation recipients or their partner who already receive Centrelink income support payments should notify us within seven days of receipt of any compensation payment, or within 14 days of any change to any periodical compensation payments. If this is not done, you will need to repay any overpayments and penalties. For information on the effect of compensation payments on your entitlement to Family Tax Benefit or other family assistant payments, please contact us on What you need to know 9

10 7. Should people claim compensation even if they think it will not be very much? Yes. People who already receive Centrelink income support payments or who want to be paid by us, but have not made a claim for compensation, are required by law to claim compensation before they can receive Centrelink income support payments. Those who are not getting a Centrelink income support payment and who do not claim compensation will not be granted Centrelink income support payments unless they first take reasonable action to claim compensation. 8. How is the lump sum preclusion period worked out? The Social Security Act 1991 sets out how the lump sum preclusion period is determined. If a matter is settled by consent, half the gross settlement amount is deemed to be the compensation part (the 50 per cent rule). If a full court or tribunal hearing decided the matter, we only use the compensation part awarded by the court or tribunal for loss of earnings or lost capacity to earn, including interest and loss of superannuation, and loss of earnings capacity. affect all payments made by the department? on page 9 for details of payments not affected by a preclusion period. 9. What if more than one lump sum compensation payment is received? If more than one lump sum payment is received for the same compensable event and provided that at least one of the lump sums has an economic loss component, they are treated as if one lump sum was paid. This combined total is used to calculate the preclusion period. 10. When does the lump sum preclusion period start? For those who were receiving periodic compensation payments prior to receiving a lump sum settlement, the preclusion period begins on the day after any periodic compensation payments ceased. If no periodic payments were received, the preclusion period starts on the day the loss of earnings or loss of earnings capacity began, which, in most cases, is the day of the accident. The compensation part is divided by the income cut-out amount for a single rate pension applying at the time of settlement. This gives a number equal to the number of weeks in the preclusion period. We will not make any income support payments to the compensation recipient during a preclusion period. Refer to the question Does compensation 10 Compensation kit

11 11. How is the department repaid? Generally, any repayments to the department are taken out of the lump sum settlement or arrears payment by the compensation payer. This amount is sent to the department before the remainder is forwarded to the compensation recipient or their solicitor. Prior to settling a matter, solicitors should check whether there is a Centrelink liability. We have a compensation estimator available at humanservices.gov.au (search for compensation estimator ). We may also ask the partners of compensation recipients, who receive periodic compensation, to repay us if we have not paid the compensation claimant for the same period. 12. Are Centrelink income support payments affected by compensation from a private insurance policy? Many people pay for a private insurance policy to cover them for lost earnings. Monies paid out under policies where the recipient has contributed to the premium, and there is no offset clause, are not taken into account as compensation, but may still affect Centrelink income support payments under the income and assets test. Some private policies contain an offset clause which means the insurance company is able to reduce its payments if the person is entitled to, or has received, Centrelink income support payments. Payments under these policies will be treated as compensation only if the insurer has actually used the offset clause. If you are not sure about your policy, check with your nearest Compensation Recovery Team for a ruling and provide them with a copy of the policy. See page 17 for contact details. 13. What information should a solicitor provide the department with prior to formalising a lump sum settlement? Solicitors should access the compensation estimator online prior to meeting with the compensation payer to settle the claim. The compensation estimator online provides a guide to how a lump sum might affect payments already being paid by the department to your client or payments which may be sought in the future. This information should be sought before instructing your client to accept a settlement offer and before your client makes any decisions about spending or investing the lump sum. The estimator is designed for proposed settlements and should not be used for: lump sums awarded by a court or tribunal after a contested hearing, or a payment solely representing arrears of periodic compensation. 14. Are compensation payments taxable? Periodic compensation and lump sum arrears may be taxable. Lump sums where you are unable to differentiate between amounts for loss of earnings, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering and reimbursement for medical costs are usually not taxable. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) can advise whether a particular compensation payment is taxable. The ATO can be contacted on for the cost of a local call from anywhere within Australia. Calls from public and mobile telephones may be charged at a higher rate. What you need to know 11

12 Rehabilitation and return to work Most people who have been injured recover and resume their normal lifestyle after receiving treatment. However, if the injured person is having trouble getting back to work or school, is unable to complete the everyday tasks they did before their injury, or is suffering from chronic pain, rehabilitation may help them to recover. A person s chances for recovery improve if they start rehabilitation as soon as possible after the accident. The rehabilitation process attempts to return the person to the same emotional, mental and physical state as before the incident. This may mean the person returns to living independently, working or studying, and participating in social and leisure activities. How does the compensation recipient obtain a rehabilitation provider? Injured parties claiming workers compensation If the person has been injured at work they should consult their employers rehabilitation coordinator where possible. The injured person can also talk to their doctor about whether a rehabilitation provider can help. The rehabilitation coordinator will assist with deciding what rehabilitation is needed and obtain approval from the Workers Compensation Authority or compensation payer to start the rehabilitation. In most cases, the injured person will be able to choose the rehabilitation provider as long as the Workers Compensation Authority or compensation payer agrees. In some cases, the injured person may have to choose from a list of providers approved by the Workers Compensation Authority or compensation payer. Victims of crime compensation If the person is a victim of a crime, they should contact the Victims of Crime service in their state or territory. This service provides counselling and support. Who pays for the rehabilitation? The compensation payer or Workers Compensation Authority pays for rehabilitation on acceptance of the injured persons claim provided that: costs are reasonable and necessary costs are as a result of the persons injuries evidence of the cost is provided Approval from the compensation payer or Workers Compensation Authority must be secured before rehabilitation begins. They may ask the rehabilitation provider to demonstrate that the injured person needs the services and the services are reasonable. The compensation recipient must not assume the insurer will pay all the costs. The compensation payer or Workers Compensation Authority may have a table of costs they consider reasonable for particular treatments. Some rehabilitation providers may charge more than this amount. The compensation recipient should ask about the cost of treatment, as there may be a gap between the charge and what the compensation payer or Workers Compensation Authority is willing to pay. Compensation recipients claiming motor vehicle accident compensation If the person has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, they should talk to their doctor or the Compulsory Third Party insurer if they think that they need rehabilitation. The insurer may have a rehabilitation adviser who can tell the injured person how to obtain a rehabilitation provider. Before the injured person begins rehabilitation, they must have the insurer s approval. 12 Compensation kit

13 General information about Centrelink income support payments and concessions The following provides an overview of Centrelink income support payments and concessions. For more information visit humanservices.gov.au Residence requirements For most payments and concessions, applicants need to be an Australian resident and have lived in Australia for a particular time before they are eligible. Income and asset test In most cases, the Centrelink income support payment amount depends on the amount of the applicant s income and assets. If the applicant has a partner, the partners income and assets will usually be counted as well. For our purposes, a person is considered to be your partner if you and the person are living together or usually live together, and are married, or in a registered relationship (opposite-sex or same-sex), or in a de facto relationship (opposite-sex or same-sex). Lodging a claim Before we can decide if the person is eligible for a payment, they need to lodge a claim form. Please contact your nearest service centre or visit humanservices.gov.au for more information. Supporting documents for a claim We will tell applicants what documentation is needed to process their application. Documents may be required to prove identity, income, assets and tax file number details. Additional payments Some of the payments outlined in this section may have extra amounts added to help cover the cost of private rent, prescription medicines, telephone bills and living in remote areas. The claim form asks questions that help us work out if the person is eligible. Additional verification will be required for some payments, such as Rent Assistance. For additional information about Centrelink income support payments visit your local service centre or phone us on Concession cards Concession cards entitle the cardholder to Commonwealth health concessions such as lowcost pharmaceuticals under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. Concessions are available to the cardholder and their dependents, except in the case of Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holders and Health Care Card holders in receipt of Mobility Allowance, where concessions are available to the cardholder only. The following concession cards are available: Pensioner Concession Card Low Income Health Care Card Health Care Card, and Commonwealth Seniors Health Card. The Pensioner Concession Card is issued annually to: pensioners single principal carers on Newstart and Youth Allowance (job seeker) people receiving Carer Payment Newstart and Youth Allowance (job seeker) recipients assessed as having a partial capacity to work, and people over 60 years of age who have been continuously in receipt of one (or a combination) of the following payments for more than nine months: Newstart Allowance Sickness Allowance Widow Allowance Parenting Payment Special Benefit. What you need to know 13

14 The Health Care Card is issued regularly to people in receipt of most other Centrelink income support payments. The card is automatically issued to people who receive: Newstart Allowance Exceptional Circumstances Relief Payment Special Benefit Sickness Allowance Partner Allowance Widow Allowance Youth Allowance (full-time students will need to apply as a low income earner) Parenting Payment (Partnered) maximum rate of Family Tax Benefit Part A Mobility Allowance (who do not qualify for a Pensioner Concession Card), and Carer Allowance (the card is issued to parents of a child who is under 16 years of age and has disability. The card is for the direct benefit of the child only). The Health Care Card is also available to: low income earners (with an average weekly income below certain limits over the eight weeks prior to claim) foster children, and ex Carer Allowance (child) Health Care Card recipients who are full-time students 16 to 25 years of age. Special circumstances It is important compensation recipients are fully aware of the effects compensation has on Centrelink income support payments. If there is a change in circumstances, the compensation recipient may be able to have their Centrelink entitlement reassessed. Section 1184K of the Act gives the department the discretion to disregard all or part of a compensation payment in special circumstances. A person who is precluded and requests a special circumstances assessment under Section 1184K is expected to provide evidence of their special circumstances. We will only use this discretion if a person s overall situation is so unusual, uncommon or exceptional it makes the usual application of the statutory preclusion period unduly harsh or unfair. We will not apply this provision simply because a person has received incorrect or insufficient advice from a legal representative on the effect of compensation on Centrelink income support payments. Review and appeal rights If the compensation recipient does not agree with a decision we have made about their payments, they have the right to ask for a review of the decision. For more information about review and appeal rights, visit humanservices.gov.au/reviewsandappeals The Commonwealth Seniors Health Card is issued to people of age pension age who do not qualify for the pension, and is subject to an income test. Before we can decide if the person is eligible for a payment, they need to lodge a claim form. 14 Compensation kit

15 Help for carers A carer looks after someone who has a chronic illness or disability, or who is frail because of their age. It is likely that the carer is a friend or relative of the person for whom they care. What help is available? We provide carers with financial support in the form of Carer Payment and Carer Allowance, as well as access to specialist services. These services provide expert advice and assistance to carers through the department and other government and private organisations. Commonwealth Carer Resource Centres The Commonwealth Carer Resource Centre in each capital city provides a single point of contact for carers who need information and advice. They can tell carers about help available in their area and local support groups. The centre can tell carers how to contact these services and send them written information. Financial help Carer Payment Carer Payment is an income and asset tested pension payment. It may be available for persons who care for either an adult or child with disability in their own home, and where caring prevents the person from working full-time. The carer does not have to be living in the same home as the person being cared for to be eligible. Carer Allowance Carer Allowance is another payment for people who care for someone who has disability, severe medical condition or is frail aged. There is no income or asset test for Carer Allowance and it is not taxable. Carer Allowance is available to carers even if they already get Carer Payment or any other Centrelink income support payment. To contact the nearest Commonwealth Carer Resource Centre, call Freecall Commonwealth Carer Respite Centres Thetype of respite care services available to carers depends on where they live. Commonwealth Carer Respite Centres around Australia act as a central contact point for carer services. They can give carers information about respite services that are available in their local area. To contact the Commonwealth Carer Respite Centre nearest you, call Freecall Commonwealth Carelink Centres Commonwealth Carelink Centres assist older Australians and their families, people with special care needs and carers with information about community, residential and other aged care services. Anyone can visit one of the centres across Australia or phone Freecall for assistance. What you need to know 15

16 Specialist services The department provides specialist services including social workers, Service Officers and the Financial Information Service. Social workers Our social workers are available at our service centres and Smart Centres throughout Australia. Social workers can help with counselling about financial, personal or family problems. If necessary, they can make referrals to community support services for further help. Service Officers Our Service Officers can provide services to people with disability and their carers. These services include: explaining and advising customers about their medical eligibility for disability and carer related payments, and referring customers to Employment Services Providers or specialist disability employment services to help them find work. Customers can speak to a Service Officer at their nearest service centre or by calling Financial Information Service The Financial Information Service (FIS) is an independent, free and confidential service. It offers expert information to help people improve or maintain their standard of living and enjoy a better lifestyle by making the best of their own resources. Anyone can use this service. The service can help compensation recipients receive information at FIS seminars or interviews about: the short and long-term consequences of the choices claimants have made or will make different approaches to investing lump sums the advantages and disadvantages of different types of investment taxation issues relating to lump sums how compensation lump sums and investments affect the rate of Centrelink income support payments, and finding other experts to help. The service is not able to: recommend any particular types of investments tell people how to invest their lump sum payments (the decision is up to them), or decide on the amount of the compensation recipient s Centrelink income support payment. To contact the Financial Information Service call To make a booking to attend a compensation seminar call To speak with us in your language call Compensation kit

17 Contact us If you are a compensation claimant, solicitor or insurance company and you have questions about future compensation, recovery decisions and individual customer cases, please call the Compensation Recovery Team on or send a fax to Find out more Go to our website at humanservices.gov.au Employment Services Older Australians Disability, Sickness and Carers Disclaimer The information contained in this publication is intended only as a guide. Please note that information in this booklet is accurate as at July 2015 but may change. If you use this publication after that date, please visit your nearest service centre to confirm that the information is up-to-date or go to humanservices.gov.au Your situation may involve you dealing with a third party who is not a member of our staff. If you do so, please remember that we have not authorised any third parties to provide information or advice to you about Centrelink income support payments. Families and Parents For help in your language Feedback and complaints Freecall Australian Government Services Fraud Tip-off Line TTY* enquiries Freecall *TTY is only for people who are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment. A TTY phone is required to use this service. Click the we speak your language link on humanservices.gov.au for information in your language. Visit the Department of Social Services website at dss.gov.au to access social security law and policy. Note: calls from your home phone to our 13 numbers from anywhere in Australia are charged at a fixed rate. That rate may vary from the price of a local call and may also vary between telephone service providers. Calls to 1800 numbers from your home phone are free. Calls from public and mobile phones may be timed and charged at a higher rate. What you need to know 17

18 humanservices.gov.au CO

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