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					What you need to know

Compensation kit

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2                                                            Compensation kit
What you need to know   3
4   Compensation kit
What you need to know                                 6    Help for carers                 20
Compensation and Social Security Law:                      Who is a carer?                 20
an overview                                           7    What help is available?         20
What is compensation?                                  7   Financial help                  20
What Centrelink payments are affected by                   Specialist services             21
compensation?                                          7
                                                           Social Workers                  20
What is not included as compensation?                 8
                                                           Customer Service Officers       20
What happens to customers who receive Centrelink
payments and are later granted compensation?           8   Financial Information Service   21
Arrears of periodic compensation payments              9   How to contact us               22
Advisory service                                      11   How to find out more            22
Compensation Recovery Teams                           11
What this means for customers and their solicitors    12
What this means for employers, insurers,
compensation payers and their solicitors              12
Frequently asked questions                            13
Rehabilitation and return to work                     16
Who can benefit from rehabilitation?                  16
Where can the injured person obtain rehabilitation?   16
Rehabilitation providers                              16
How does the injured person obtain a rehabilitation
provider?                                             16
General information about Centrelink
payments and concessions                              18
Residence                                             18
Income and asset tests                                18
The person must lodge a claim                         18
Documentation that will be required                   18
Additional payments                                   18
Concession cards                                      18
Review and appeal rights                              19

What you need to know                                                                           5
    What you need to know
    This booklet contains essential information for legal
    advisers and other professionals, employees and
    employers, community advice groups, unions or
    Members of Parliament.
    It provides information on how compensation
    affects Centrelink payment entitlements, choices for
    rehabilitation, review and appeal rights, and specialist
    services for a person claiming compensation.

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

What you need to know                                                                                                   7
    What is not included as compensation?
    Compensation payments, from income replacement,            What happens to customers who
    sporting injury and personal sickness or accident
    insurance policies, are not treated as compensation if     receive Centrelink payments and
    the recipient has contributed to the premium and the       are later granted compensation?
    insurer has not reduced the policy payments by any         The compensation provisions of the Social Security
    Centrelink payments that the person has received (or       Law are intended to prevent customers from being
    may be entitled to receive).                               doubly compensated for the same period. Therefore
    Statutory criminal injury compensation payments,           the income support paid by us, while they wait for their
    payments to dependants for the death of a person,          compensation, may need to be repaid. A customer
    unlawful dismissal payments, anti-discrimination           may also not be able to receive Centrelink payments
    payments, and payments for natural disasters are also      for a period of time or the Centrelink payments may
    not treated as compensation.                               be reduced because of the compensation. Information
    Other exemptions include:                                  follows on what may occur when a person, who is
                                                               receiving or qualified to receive a payment from us,
    •	Special Rate Disability Pension Safety Net payment       receives a payment of compensation.
      under the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation
      Act 2004                                                 Periodic compensation payments
    •	personal care payments made by the Tasmanian             Continuing periodic payments of compensation made
      Motor Accident Insurance Board Future Care Payment       for lost earnings or lost capacity to earn, such as weekly
      Scheme and by the Victorian Transport Accident           workers’ compensation, reduce the amount of the
      Commission Attendant Care Service and Post Acute         compensation recipient’s Centrelink payment by a dollar
      Support schemes, and                                     for every dollar of compensation received.
    •	regular payments (other than compensation in respect
                                                               If the compensation recipient’s partner receives
      of full-time service) made for loss of Defence Force
      Reserve wages because of injuries caused by activities   a Centrelink payment, their payment may also be
      in the Defence Force Reserves.                           affected. The partner’s payment is only affected if the
                                                               compensation recipient’s Centrelink payment has been
    Some of these payments are counted under the normal        reduced to nil and the periodic compensation exceeds
    income and assets test while others are not. If a person   the maximum rate of the Centrelink payment that the
    is receiving one of these payments, they should contact    compensation recipient would otherwise receive. Any
    the department to check how their Centrelink payments      excess compensation after this calculation is treated
    will be affected.                                          as the ordinary income of the compensation recipient’s
                                                               partner, just like any other unearned income.
                                                               A concession exists for a person who receives
                                                               periodic payments of compensation for an injury or
                                                               illness sustained while that person was receiving a
                                                               compensation-affected Centrelink 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 payments made to a compensation
                                                               recipient’s partner under the relevant income test.

8                                                                                                          Compensation kit
                                                         Arrears of periodic compensation
   Bill and Lisa’s story
   Bill receives fortnightly compensation payments       payments
   of $600. Neither Bill nor his partner Lisa has any    If a person receives a lump sum payment, representing
   other income or assets. The maximum partnered         arrears of periodic compensation payments owed for a
   rate of Newstart Allowance and Parenting              past period, and the person has also received Centrelink
   Payment is $442 each per fortnight. Each dollar       payments for some or all of the same period, the person
   of Bill’s compensation reduces his Newstart           will have to pay money back to the department.
   Allowance by one dollar until it cuts out. The        The amount to be paid back is the difference between
   amount of Bill’s periodic compensation in excess      the total amount of Centrelink payment paid to the
   of the maximum partnered rate of Newstart             person, and where applicable the person’s partner, and
   Allowance is $158 per fortnight. This excess          the total amount that would have been paid to the
   compensation reduces Lisa’s Parenting Payment         person (and their partner) had the periodic compensation
   just like it was her own ordinary income.             payments been made throughout that time.
   This means that Lisa gets $394 of Parenting           The recovery provisions of the Act affect both
   Payment each fortnight (Lisa also receives a Family   members of a couple where periodic compensation
   Tax Benefit payment on top of Parenting Payment).     has been paid. Recovery will usually be made from the
   Bill is not eligible for any Newstart Allowance.      insurance company or compensation payer. However,
   Lisa will also get a Health Care Card for herself     where this is not possible we will seek recovery direct
   and her children as she receives the maximum rate     from the compensation recipient and where relevant,
   of Family Tax Benefit Part A.                         their partner.
   Note: rates of Centrelink payments and the
   income and assets tests used in this example were       Doug’s story
   current at 20 March 2012.                               Doug received $1,250 in payments from us while
                                                           he was waiting for his regular compensation
   Please contact your nearest Service Centre to find
                                                           payments to begin. When Doug’s regular
   out the current rates of payment and the income
                                                           compensation payments started he was also
   and assets test levels that apply.
                                                           owed a compensation arrears payment of $2,000
                                                           for the same period as when he received the
                                                           Centrelink payments. Doug’s insurer had to repay
                                                           $1,250 of the compensation to us because of the
                                                           dollar-for-dollar rate reduction and Doug got to
                                                           keep the remaining $750.

What you need to know                                                                                               9
     Lump sum compensation payments                              Compensation preclusion period
     Lump sum compensation is often not paid for a specific      During a compensation preclusion period a
     period. When such a lump sum compensation payment           compensation recipient is not able to receive income
     relates to either lost earnings or lost capacity to earn.   support from the department. We will recover any
     Social Security Law provides for the calculation of a       income support payments previously paid to the person
     period of self-support or preclusion period. Recipients     in the preclusion period and they will not be eligible
     are expected to live on the lump sum payment during         to receive income support from us until the preclusion
     this period and are precluded from receiving Centrelink     period has ended.
     payments. In addition, any past payments made by us         To ensure a customer fully understands the implications
     may be recovered from the lump sum payment.                 of their preclusion period, we ask that customers
     If a person receives more than one lump sum payment         telephone our Compensation Recovery Team to discuss
     for the same event that caused an injury and any has        the impact of their lump sum compensation payment.
     an economic loss component, they are treated as if one      See phone numbers on page 22.
     lump sum was paid, and it is this lump sum that is used     The number of weeks in a preclusion period is calculated
     to calculate the preclusion period.                         by dividing the compensation part of the lump sum
     If a person converts part or all of their compensation      payment (in most cases this will be 50 per cent of
     settlement into assets (for example, the purchase of        the lump sum) by the cut-off limit for a single rate
     or paying off a house or car) the person may be             pension under the income test applying at the date of
     expected to sell the asset to use for income support        settlement.
     throughout the preclusion period. In most cases, a
     Centrelink payment will not be paid to a person who           Example
     is serving a preclusion period due to a lump sum
                                                                   Lump sum settlement = $100,000
     compensation settlement.
                                                                   50% = $50,000 (compensation part)
     Compensation part of a lump sum used by                       Divided by $830.50 (income cut-off limit) = 60
     the department                                                preclusion period in weeks (based on the formula as
     When a lump sum compensation payment is obtained by           at 20 March 2012).
     consent in 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 that 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, the department will
     use the court’s categorisation of the lost earnings/lost
     capacity to earn to determine the compensation part of
     the lump sum.

10                                                                                                          Compensation kit
                                                           Advisory service
Start date of preclusion period                            Compensation Recovery Teams
The preclusion period generally begins on the day after    We offer a compensation online estimator service.
the last day periodic compensation payments were           Solicitors, other professionals and injured people can use
paid or if no periodic compensation payments were          this service to get advice about the effect of a lump sum
received, the day the lost earnings or loss of earnings    compensation payment on Centrelink payments.
capacity began.
We cannot pay income support payments that are             Why use this service?
defined as compensation-affected payments and are          The compensation online estimator is there to help
listed on page 7.                                          solicitors and other professionals to meet their duty
Examples of our assistance available during a preclusion   of care to their clients. Many people who are awarded
period include Carer Allowance, Mobility Allowance,        compensation payments approach us to apply for
Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, Disaster Relief          payments after they have spent or invested their
Payment, Baby Bonus and Family Tax Benefit.                compensation monies. Professionals should ensure
A low-income Health Care Card may also be available.       their clients fully appreciate the implications in their
However, this is usually only available soon after an      settlement prior to settling.
initial 12-month period from when customers receive the    In some cases, Centrelink payments may not be paid
lump sum compensation payment.                             to an injured person for some time because of the
Customers should contact us to discuss what assistance     compensation preclusion provisions of the Act. A person
is available during the preclusion period.                 who is precluded from receiving Centrelink payments
                                                           due to a lump sum compensation settlement is expected
A compensation recipient’s partner is not precluded        to use the compensation money as income support.
and may receive Centrelink payments if they apply for      If a person converts part or all of their compensation
and qualify for a payment. A partner’s payments will be    settlement into assets, for example, purchasing or
worked out taking into account the assets and income       paying off a house or car, the person may be expected to
of the couple. Assets can include the lump sum payment     sell the asset to use as income support throughout the
unless it is invested in an exempt asset.                  preclusion period. In most cases, a Centrelink payment
Generally, the amount of payments to be repaid to          will not be paid to a person who is serving a preclusion
the department will be deducted from the lump sum          period due to a lump sum compensation settlement.
compensation payment by the insurance company or           Section 1184K of the Act enables the department the
compensation payer before the lump sum is paid to the      discretion to disregard all or part of a compensation
compensation recipient.                                    payment in special circumstances. A person who is
                                                           precluded and who requests a review under Section
                                                           1184K is expected to provide evidence of their special
                                                           circumstances. We will only use this discretion if a
                                                           persons overall situation is so unusual, uncommon or
                                                           exceptional as to make 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 payments. The remedy here is for action to
                                                           be taken against the legal representative concerned.
                                                           Therefore, it is important that compensation
                                                           recipients are fully aware of the effects of
                                                           compensation on Centrelink payments.

What you need to know                                                                                                   11
     Our online estimate service                               What this means for customers
     Our compensation estimator can provide an estimate
     of our charge or preclusion for an individual customer.
                                                               and their solicitors
     The estimator will provide instant estimates of           The Department of Human Services can only provide
     preclusion periods and compensation changes to            information to a customer’s solicitor with the customers
     provide the maximum impact of a proposed lump sum         written advice or written confirmation that the solicitor
     compensation payment amount based on your estimate        is acting for the claimant.
     of settlement figure.                                     Where possible the department will place the insurance
     We recommend solicitors log onto our website              company or compensation payer on notice before
     and obtain an estimate and provide a copy to              the compensation claim settles. We will not release
     their clients when advising them about the                protected information about our customers’ payment
     implications of a settlement on their Centrelink          types, rates or current status of payments.
     payments. To access this estimator, please go to                           What this means for employers,
     An actual recovery notice is not issued until the         insurers, compensation payers and
     department has received formal notification of the lump
     sum settlement and copies of the signed settlement
                                                               their solicitors
     documents.                                                The department can only provide the period the
                                                               compensation affects and the total amount recoverable
     Do not use this estimator for:                            in our recovery notice issued following settlement. We
     •	lump sums awarded by a court or tribunal after a        will not provide information about the period, type and
       contested hearing, or                                   amount of potentially recoverable Centrelink payments.
     •	a payment solely representing arrears of periodic       Compensation payers, insurers or their solicitors who
       compensation.                                           require any other information for their own purposes,
                                                               should obtain this from the compensation claimant’s
     Our privacy policy                                        legal representative. This can be done by seeking from
     We have a mutual interest with solicitors, insurers and   the claimant’s representatives a copy of the advice that
     compensation payers to ensure that compensation           contains the estimate of the recoverable amount, or
     claimants are advised of the compensation provisions      Centrelink payment details.
     of the Act and that arrangements for recovery of
     payments paid through the department and 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.

12                                                                                                         Compensation kit
Frequently asked questions
This information is intended to be a general guide only.    3. How are Centrelink payments affected by
Queries about individual cases should always be directed       periodic payments of compensation?
to our Compensation Recovery Teams.                         Periodic payments of compensation made for lost
                                                            earnings or lost capacity to earn income, for example
1. Does compensation affect all payments                    weekly workers’ compensation, reduce the amount of the
   made by the department?                                  Centrelink payment paid to the compensation recipient
Compensation, whether received by the claimant or their     by a dollar for every dollar of compensation received.
partner, affects most Centrelink payments either under      Partners may also be affected under the ordinary income
the compensation preclusion and recovery provisions,        test but only if the periodic compensation exceeds the
as a direct deduction or as income. It will not affect      standard Centrelink payment rate. Periodic payments of
payments such as Carer Allowance, Mobility Allowance        compensation that are paid solely for non-economic loss
or the Australian Government Disaster Relief Payment.       will affect Centrelink payments as ordinary income.
It may affect Wife Age Pension, Bereavement Allowance       However, if you were receiving a Centrelink payment at
and certain saved payments under the ordinary income        the time of your accident, your regular compensation
test. It may also affect access to the full range of        payments will be treated as income.
employment assistance services offered by us. However,
the precluded person may be able to get a Health
                                                            4. Can an injured person claim Centrelink
Care Card or the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card
                                                               payments if their compensation payments
during a preclusion period. Lump sum compensation
                                                               are delayed?
affects access to Health Care Cards issued under the
                                                            Yes, but they must tell us about the compensation claim.
low income earners test for 12 months after receipt
                                                            Some or all of the Centrelink payments they receive will
of the compensation payment. The partner of a lump
                                                            need to be repaid once any arrears of compensation is
sum compensation recipient will be able to receive a
                                                            paid to them.
Centrelink payment provided they are eligible and the
combined assets and income of the couple are below the      Our compensation recovery teams will serve notice on
applicable limits.                                          the insurance company or compensation payer that it is
                                                            required to advise us of any compensation payments it
Definition of a partner                                     proposes to pay the injured person prior to it releasing
For our purposes, a person is considered to be your         any funds. We will then tell the insurance company how
partner if you and that person are living together, or      much needs to be repaid and it can then pay the injured
usually live together, and are married or in a registered   person after deducting and paying the recovery amount
relationship (opposite-sex or same-sex), or in a de facto   back to us. The injured person may have to make the
relationship (opposite-sex or same-sex).                    repayment if we do not recover it directly from the
                                                            insurance company or compensation payer.
2. Are Family Tax Benefit, Child Care
   Payments and the Baby Bonus affected by                  5. Should people claim compensation even if
   the compensation rules?                                     they think it will not be very much?
No. The compensation rules do not affect Family Tax         Yes. People who already receive Centrelink payments or
Benefit, Child Care Payments or the Baby Bonus.             who want to be paid by us but have not made a claim for
However taxable compensation payments may affect            compensation are required by law to claim compensation
customers who receive these payments on the basis           before they can receive Centrelink payments.
of their family’s combined adjusted taxable income.         Those who are not getting a Centrelink payment and
Taxable compensation is income in the year of receipt       who do not claim compensation will not be granted
and customers may need to adjust their income estimate      Centrelink payments unless they first take reasonable
received from us once compensation is received. For         action to claim the compensation.
information on the effect of compensation payments
on your entitlement to Family Tax Benefit or Child Care
Benefit, please contact us on 136 150.

What you need to know                                                                                                  13
     6. How is the lump sum preclusion period                     8. When does the lump sum preclusion
        worked out?                                                  period start?
     The Social Security Act 1991 sets out how the lump sum       For those who were receiving periodic compensation
     preclusion period is worked out. If a matter is settled by   payments prior to receiving a lump sum settlement, the
     consent, half the gross settlement amount is deemed to       preclusion period begins on the day after any periodic
     be the compensation part (the 50 per cent rule).             compensation payments ceased.
     If a full court or tribunal hearing decided the matter,      If no periodic payments were received, then the
     we will only use the compensation part awarded by the        preclusion period starts on the day which the loss of
     court or tribunal for loss of earnings/lost capacity to      earnings/loss of earnings capacity began, which in most
     earn, including interest and loss of superannuation, and     cases is the day of the accident.
     loss of earnings capacity.
     The compensation part is divided by the income cut-out       9. How is the department repaid?
     amount for a single rate pension amount applying             Generally, any repayments are taken out of the lump
     at the time of settlement. This gives a number equal         sum settlement or arrears payment by the insurance
     to the number of weeks in the preclusion period. We          company or compensation payer. This amount is
     will not make any income support payments to the             then sent to the department before the remainder is
     compensation recipient during a preclusion period. See       forwarded to the claimant or solicitor.
     the answer to question one in this section for details of    Solicitors should ensure they have checked any
     payments that are not affected.                              Centrelink liability prior to settling a matter by utilising
                                                                  the free estimate service. Our online estimator is
     7. What if more than one lump sum                            available at
        compensation payment is received?
                                                                  We may also request partners of people who receive
     If more than one lump sum payment is received for            periodic compensation to repay us if we have not paid
     the same event that caused an injury and any have an         the compensation claimant for the same period.
     economic loss component, they are treated as if one
     lump sum was paid, and it is this lump sum that is used
     to calculate the preclusion period.

14                                                                                                               Compensation kit
10. Are Centrelink payments affected                         12. Are compensation payments taxable?
    by compensation from a private                           Periodic compensation and lump sum arrears may be
    insurance policy?                                        taxable. Undifferentiated lump sums are usually not
Many people pay for a private insurance policy to cover      taxable. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) can advise
them for lost earnings. Money paid out under policies        whether a particular compensation payment is taxable.
where the recipient has contributed to the premium and       The ATO can be contacted on 132 861 for the cost of
there is no offset clause are not taken into account as      a local call from anywhere within Australia. Calls from
compensation, but may still affect Centrelink payments       public and mobile telephones may be charged at a
under the income and assets tests.                           higher rate.
Some private policies contain an offset clause which
means the insurance company is able to reduce its            13. What should claimants tell the department?
payments if the person is entitled to, or has received,      People who apply for payments through us and who
Centrelink payments. Payments under these policies           have been paid compensation or who have claimed or
will be treated as compensation only if the insurer has      may be able to claim compensation must inform us.
actually used the offset clause. If you are not sure about   People or their partner who already receive Centrelink
your policy, check with your nearest Compensation            payments should notify us within seven days of receipt
Recovery Team for a ruling and provide them with a           of any compensation payment, or within 14 days of
copy of the policy.                                          any change to any periodical compensation payments.
                                                             Repayment will be required and penalties may apply if
11. What information should be requested                     this is not done.
    from the department prior to formalising a
    lump sum settlement for my client?
Solicitors should access the online estimator prior to
meeting with the insurance company or compensation
payer to settle the claim. The online estimator provides
advice on 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 online 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
We offer a free Financial Information Service that can
provide information and assistance to people who
have received or may receive compensation. It offers
free information about investments and payments
made through us. For contact details, see page 22 of
this booklet.

What you need to know                                                                                                   15
     Rehabilitation and return to work

     Who can benefit from                                         Rehabilitation providers
     rehabilitation?                                              The Department of Human Services is the largest
                                                                  provider of vocational rehabilitation services in Australia.
     Most people who have been injured recover and
                                                                  The department helps workers each year who have an
     resume their normal lifestyle after receiving treatment.
                                                                  injury, disability or health problem to get back to work
     However, if the injured person is having trouble getting
                                                                  and keep their jobs.
     back to work or school; is unable to complete everyday
     tasks they did before their injury; or they are suffering
     from chronic pain; they may need rehabilitation to help      Private rehabilitation providers
     them recover.                                                Private rehabilitation providers are listed in the Yellow
                                                                  Pages telephone directory under Rehabilitation Services.
     If the person starts rehabilitation as soon as
                                                                  Doctors, employers, the insurer or compensation
     possible after their injury then their recovery
                                                                  payers for the compensation claim may also be able to
     chances are improved.
                                                                  recommend a provider.
     The rehabilitation process attempts to return the
     person to the same emotional, mental and physical
     state before they were injured. This may mean the
                                                                  How does the injured person
     person returns to: living independently; work or study;      obtain a rehabilitation provider?
     social and leisure activities.
                                                                  Injured parties claiming workers’
     Where can the injured person                                 compensation
                                                                  If the person has been injured at work they should
     obtain rehabilitation?                                       consult their employer’s rehabilitation coordinator where
     If the person suffered a serious injury, they may have       possible. The injured person can also talk to their doctor
     received medical rehabilitation. It is possible this was     about whether a rehabilitation provider can help.
     provided in a hospital as part of their medical treatment.
                                                                  The rehabilitation coordinator will assist to decide what
     Rehabilitation providers have a range of rehabilitation      rehabilitation is needed and obtain approval from the
     services. For example, vocational rehabilitation aims to     Workers’ Compensation Authority or insurer to start
     get the injured person back to work safely and quickly.      the rehabilitation. In most cases, the injured person will
     Rehabilitation providers will develop a personal             be able to choose the rehabilitation provider as long as
     rehabilitation program that best suits the injured           the Workers’ Compensation Authority or insurer agrees.
     person’s needs.                                              In some cases, the injured person may have to choose
                                                                  from a list of providers approved by the Workers’
                                                                  Compensation Authority or insurer.

16                                                                                                             Compensation kit
Injured parties claiming motor vehicle                      Approval from the insurer or Workers’ Compensation
accident compensation                                       Authority must be secured before rehabilitation
If the person has been injured in a motor vehicle           begins. The insurer or Workers’ Compensation
accident they should talk to their doctor or the            Authority may ask the rehabilitation provider to
Compulsory Third Party insurer if they think that they      demonstrate that the injured person needs the
need rehabilitation.                                        services and the services are reasonable.
The insurer may have a rehabilitation adviser who can       The injured person must not assume the insurer
tell the injured person how to obtain a rehabilitation      will pay all the costs. The insurer or Workers’
provider. Before the injured person begins rehabilitation   Compensation Authority may have a table of costs
they must have the insurer’s approval.                      they consider reasonable for particular treatments.
                                                            Some rehabilitation providers may charge more than
Victims of crime compensation                               this amount. The injured person should ask about the
                                                            cost of treatment as there may be a gap between the
If the person is a victim of a crime they should contact
                                                            charge and what the insurer or Workers’ Compensation
the Victims of Crime service in their state or territory.
                                                            Authority is willing to pay.
This service provides counselling and support.

Who pays for your rehabilitation?
The insurer or Workers’ Compensation Authority pay
for rehabilitation on acceptance of the injured person’s
claim and provided that:
•	costs are reasonable and necessary
•	costs are as a result of the person’s injuries
•	evidence of the cost is provided.

What you need to know                                                                                              17
     General information about Centrelink payments and concessions

     Residence                                                     Additional payments
     For most payments and concessions, applicants need to         Some of the payments outlined in this section may have
     be an Australian resident and have lived in Australia for a   extra amounts added to help cover the cost of private
     particular time before they are eligible.                     rent, prescription medicines, telephone bills and living
                                                                   in remote areas. The claim form asks questions that
     Income and asset tests                                        help us work out if the person is eligible. Additional
                                                                   verification will be required for some payments, such as
     In most cases, the Centrelink payment amount depends
                                                                   Rent Assistance.
     on the amount of the applicant’s income and assets. If
     the applicant has a partner, the partner’s income and
     assets will usually be counted as well. For our purposes        For additional information about Centrelink
     a person is considered to be your partner if you and the        payments visit your local Service Centre or phone
     person are living together or usually live together, and        us on 132 850.
     are married, or in a registered relationship (opposite-sex
     or same-sex), or in a de facto relationship (opposite-sex
     or same-sex).                                                 Concession cards
                                                                   The following concession cards are available:
     The person must lodge a claim                                 •	Pensioner Concession Card
     Before we can decide if the person is eligible                •	Low Income Health Care Card
     for a payment, they need to lodge a claim form.               •	Health Care Card, and
     Please contact your nearest Service Centre or visit
                                                                   •	Commonwealth Seniors Health Card.
                                                                   All three cards entitle the cardholder to Commonwealth
     Applicants can call us directly to register if they want
                                                                   health concessions such as low cost pharmaceuticals
     to claim a Centrelink payment. Applicants still have to
                                                                   under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. These
     fill out and return a claim form. A standard Intent to
                                                                   concessions are available to the cardholder and their
     Claim process will apply to all Centrelink payments and
                                                                   dependants, except in the case of Commonwealth
     concession cards, that is, the Commonwealth Seniors
                                                                   Seniors Health Card holders and Health Care Card
     Health Card and the low-income Health Care Card,
                                                                   holders in receipt of Mobility Allowance, where
     allowing for a 14 day period (13 weeks in case of an
                                                                   concessions are available to the cardholder only.
     incapacitating medical condition) between notification
     of intent and lodgement of claim form. Generally, the         The Pensioner Concession Card is issued annually to:
     claim will be granted from the date that the claim
     was made or taken to be made. This may be the date
                                                                   •	pensioners
     of qualification or the first day after the end of an         •	single principal carers on Newstart and Youth
                                                                     Allowance (job seeker)
     exclusion period.
                                                                   •	people receiving Carer Payment
     Documentation that will                                       •	Newstart and Youth Allowance (job seeker) recipients
                                                                     assessed as having a partial capacity to work, and
     be required                                                   •	people over 60 years of age who have been
     The department will tell applicants what documentation          continuously in receipt of one (or a combination) of the
     is needed to process their application. Documents may           following payments for more than nine months:
     be required to prove identity, as well as give income,          –   Newstart Allowance
     assets and tax file number details.                             –   Sickness Allowance
     If the person has a partner, the partner will also be           –   Widow Allowance
     asked to provide documentation.                                 –   Parenting Payment
                                                                     –   Special Benefit.

18                                                                                                             Compensation kit
The Health Care Card is issued regularly to people in        They will:
receipt of most other Centrelink payments. The card is
automatically issued to people who receive:                  •	explain the reasons for the decision
                                                             •	clear up any issues the customer does not understand
•	Newstart Allowance                                         •	listen to any new information the customer may
•	Exceptional Circumstances Relief Payment                     provide.
•	Special Benefit                                            If we think the first decision is not correct we can apply
•	Sickness Allowance                                         changes to the customer’s application immediately. If
•	Partner Allowance                                          they are not satisfied with this then the customer can
•	Widow Allowance                                            take further steps to have the decision looked at.
•	Youth Allowance (full-time students will need to apply     The customer can ask for the decision to be reviewed by
  as a low income earner)                                    an Authorised Review Officer (ARO). Authorised Review
•	Parenting Payment (Partnered)                              Officers are experienced staff who have not had any
•	maximum rate of Family Tax Benefit Part A                  involvement in making the decision of the customers
•	Mobility Allowance (who do not qualify for a Pensioner     application. They can change the decision if they think
  Concession Card), and                                      it is wrong. The Authorised Review Officer will talk to
•	Carer Allowance (the card is issued to parents of the      the customer (usually by phone) before they make their
  child who is under 16 years of age and has a disability.   decision. They will take a fresh and independent look at
  The card is for the direct benefit of the child only).     the case including any new information the customer
                                                             has provided. The Authorised Review Officer will advise
The Health Care Card is also available to:                   the customer by letter of their decision.
•	low income earners (with an average weekly                 The request for a review of a decision should be made
  income below certain limits over the eight weeks           within three months from the date of receiving the
  prior to claim)                                            initial decision in writing. The customer needs to ask for
•	foster children                                            the review within three months to get back payment if
•	ex Carer Allowance (child) Health Care Card recipients     the decision is changed in their favour. Otherwise, the
                                                             customer can only get back payment from the date they
  who are full-time students aged 16 to 25, and
•	Community Development Employment Projects                  asked for the review.
  program participants eligible for a Centrelink payment.    The customer can appeal to the Social Security
                                                             Appeals Tribunal if their case has been reviewed by an
The Commonwealth Seniors Health Card is issued to            Authorised Review Officer and they still disagree. The
people of age pension age who do not qualify for the         Social Security Appeals Tribunal can look at a decision
pension and is subject to an income test.                    only if it has first been reviewed by an Authorised
                                                             Review Officer.
Review and appeal rights                                     The customer can appeal to the Administrative Appeals
If the customer thinks that our decision is wrong, they      Tribunal if they disagree with the decision of the Social
have the right to ask us to review the decision again.       Security Appeals Tribunal. If the customer is not happy
This review is free and easy to do and will not cost the     with the Authorised Review Officer’s decision they
customer anything.                                           can go to the Social Security Appeals Tribunal and the
There are a number of steps to take to have our decision     Administrative Appeals Tribunal. The Social Security
looked at again. The quickest and easiest way to do this     Appeals Tribunal can look at a decision only if it has first
is to talk with our Customer Service Officer who made        been reviewed by an Authorised Review Officer.
the decision.                                                If the customer disagrees with the decision of the
                                                             Social Security Appeals Tribunal they can appeal to the
                                                             Administrative Appeals.
                                                             Please be aware that these hearings may take
                                                             some time.

What you need to know                                                                                                       19
     Help for carers

     Who is a carer?                                                Financial help
     A carer looks after someone who has a chronic illness or
     disability, or who is frail because of his or her age. It is   Carer Payment
     likely that the carer is a friend or relative of the person    Carer Payment is an income and asset tested pension
     for whom they care.                                            payment. It may be available for persons who care
                                                                    for either an adult or child with a disability in their
     What help is available?                                        own home, and where caring prevents the person
                                                                    from working full-time. The carer does not have to be
     The department provides carers with financial
                                                                    living in the same home as the person being cared for
     support in the form of Carer Payment and Carer
                                                                    to be eligible.
     Allowance as well as access to specialist services.
     These services provide expert advice and assistance
     to carers through the department and other                     Carer Allowance
     government and private organisations.                          Carer Allowance is another payment for people who
                                                                    care for someone who has a disability, severe medical
     Commonwealth Carer Resource Centres                            condition or is frail aged.
     The Commonwealth Carer Resource Centre in each                 There is no income or asset test for Carer Allowance and
     capital city provides a single point of contact for carers     it is not taxable. Carer Allowance is available to carers
     who need information and advice. They can tell carers          even if they already get Carer Payment or any other
     about help available in their area and local support           Centrelink payment.
     groups. The centre can tell carers how to contact these
     services and send them written information.
     To contact the nearest Commonwealth Carer Resource
     Centre, call Freecall™ 1800 242 636.

     Commonwealth Carer Respite Centres
     The type 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™ 1800 059 059.

     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™ 1800 052 222 for assistance.

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Specialist services

Social Workers                                              Financial Information Service
The department have Social Workers available at our         The Financial Information Service (FIS) is an
Service Centres and Smart Centres throughout Australia.     independent, free and confidential service. It offers
Social Workers can help with counselling about financial,   expert information to help people improve or maintain
personal or family problems. If necessary, they can make    their standard of living and enjoy a better lifestyle by
referrals to community support services for further help.   making the best of their own resources. Anyone can use
                                                            the service.
Customer Service Officers                                   FIS can help by providing compensation recipients with
We have Customer Service Officers who provide services      information at seminars or interviews about:
to people with disability and their carers.
                                                            •	the short and long-term consequences of the choices
These Customer Service Officers can:                          claimants have made or will make
•	explain and advise customers about their                  •	different approaches to investing lump sums
  medical eligibility for disability and carer related      •	the advantages and disadvantages of different types
  payments, and                                               of investment
•	refer customers to Job Network or specialist disability   •	taxation issues relating to lump sums
  employment services to help them find work.               •	how compensation lump sums and investments affect
                                                              the rate of Centrelink payments, and
Customers can speak to a Customer Service Officer at
their nearest Service Centre or by calling 132 717.         •	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 payment.

                                                              To contact the Financial Information Service
                                                              call 132 300
                                                              To make a booking to attend a compensation
                                                              seminar call 136 357.
                                                              To speak with us in languages other than English
                                                              call 131 202.

“Before we can
 decide if the
 person is eligible
 for a payment, they
 need to lodge a
 claim form.”

What you need to know                                                                                                  21
     How to contact us
     For queries from compensation claimants about future compensation, decisions about recovery in particular cases,
     and queries from solicitors and insurance companies about individual customer cases, please call or fax your nearest
     Compensation Recovery Team.

      State                    Area                                              Phone                                 Fax
      NSW and ACT              All Areas                               (02) 9208 2001                    (02) 9208 2096
      VIC and TAS              All Areas                                (03) 9201 9119                   (03) 9201 9398
      QLD                      All Areas                                (07) 3871 6111                   (07) 3871 6098
                               Or outside Brisbane             Freecall™ 1800 777 653                    (07) 3871 6098
      SA and NT                All Areas                               (08) 8402 8088                    (08) 8402 8099
                               Or outside Adelaide             Freecall™ 1800 633 002           Freecall™ 1800 018 310
      WA                       All Areas                               (08) 9464 2632                    (08) 9464 2654

     How to find out more                                         Disclaimer
     Employment Services                             132 850      The information contained in this publication is intended
     Older Australians                               132 300      only as a guide.

     Disability and Carers                           132 717
                                                                  What are your responsibilities?
     Families and Parents                            136 150      Please note that information in this booklet is accurate
     To speak with us in languages                                as at March 2012 but may of course change. If you
     other than English                              131 202      use this publication after that date, please visit your
                                                                  nearest Service Centre to confirm that the information
     Customer Relations            Freecall™ 1800 050 004
                                                                  is up-to-date
     Suggestions, complaints or compliments
     Australian Government Services                               What is the position if you deal with a
     Fraud Tip-off Line                              131 524      third party?
     TTY* enquiries                Freecall™ 1800 810 586         Your situation may involve you dealing with a third party
                                                                  who is not a member of our staff. If you do so, please
     *TTY is only for people who are deaf or have a hearing       remember that we have not authorised any third parties
     or speech impairment. A TTY phone is required to use         to provide information or advice to you about payments.
     this service.
     Go to our website at
     Check the ‘we speak your language’ link on our website
     for information in languages other than English.
     Go to the Department of Families, Housing,
     Community Services and Indigenous Affairs website
     at (for access to 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.

22                                                                                                            Compensation kit
What you need to know   23
On 1 July 2011, the Australian Government Department of Human Services began delivering the services and
payments provided previously by Medicare Australia, Centrelink and the Family Assistance Office. The Department
of Human Services now provides Medicare, Centrelink, Child Support and CRS Australia payments and services,

including family assistance. Learn more at