What you need to know
Help in other languages
If you need an interpreter or translation of documents
for Centrelink business, we will arrange this for you
free of charge.
To speak with us in languages other than English,
call 131 202 or visit a Service Centre and ask for an
interpreter. For information in languages other than
English visit humanservices.gov.au and select ‘We
speak your language’.
An Auslan Interpreter can be arranged if you need
to attend an appointment with us. If you have
a TTY phone, call Freecall™ 1800 810 586 to
request an interpreter, or ask at a Service Centre
before your appointment.
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
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
General information about Centrelink
payments and concessions 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 fahcsia.gov.au • Parenting Payment (Partnered)
For general information visit humanservices.gov.au
• 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
• 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
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
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.
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
humanservices.gov.au/estimators 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
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
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
At the same time, we are required by privacy and
confidentiality provisions to respect the privacy of
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
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 humanservices.gov.au/estimators
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
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
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
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
of qualification or the first day after the end of an • single principal carers on Newstart and Youth
Allowance (job seeker)
• 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 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
Please be aware that these hearings may take
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.
20 Compensation kit
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
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
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
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
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.
Go to our website at humanservices.gov.au
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 fahcsia.gov.au (for access to Social Security Law
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 humanservices.gov.au