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					CHAPTER 16
                                                               HOW TO CLAIM A PAYMENT
                                                                                                                     16

Centrelink provides various options for people who want to claim a payment.
These include visiting a Centrelink Customer Service Centre or Centrelink Agent,
calling Centrelink, or visiting the Centrelink website at www.centrelink.gov.au for
claim information and to download and print forms. To ensure a customer is paid
from the earliest possible date, see “Intent to Claim” in this chapter.
The Family Assistance Office provides similar options for people who want
to claim family assistance. See “How to contact the Family Assistance Office”
in this chapter.



                                                                 getting documentation should tell Centrelink. Centrelink
Legal basis for payment                                          may be able to assist by obtaining residence information
                                                                 from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.
Centrelink delivers a variety of payments on behalf of its
                                                                 Lodging claims should not be delayed because documents
policy departments and other government entities. Most of
                                                                 are not available.
these payments are regulated by Commonwealth Acts of
Parliament. These Acts contain specific conditions about          Customers may also have to ensure that they continue to
qualifications for payment, the amount and calculation of         receive their payment by meeting requirements such as
payment, and conditions that govern continued payment.           remaining connected with an employment service provider if
                                                                 they are a working age customer. Any requirements will be
Sometimes a payment may be regulated in whole or in part
                                                                 fully explained to customers during the initial stages of their
by departmental guidelines or by legal documents other
                                                                 contact with Centrelink.
than Acts of Parliament. Copies of relevant parts of any
such guidelines or documents are available on request from
a Centrelink Customer Service Centre or Call Centre.             Intent to Claim
To determine whether people are eligible for a payment
                                                                 For most payments it is possible to notify an “Intent to Claim”.
or other assistance, Centrelink needs information about
their circumstances. In some cases, people may be able           Intent to Claim means the person, or someone else on their
to provide this information over the phone or when               behalf, tells Centrelink they want to apply for a payment.
they first visit a Centrelink Customer Service Centre.            People do not have to fill out any forms to register an Intent
Centrelink may verify the information provided by the            to Claim, but the person must be qualified for the payment
claimant and use information already provided to other           on the day they made contact if their payment is to be
government departments such as the Department of                 backdated to that date.
Immigration and Citizenship.
                                                                 After an Intent to Claim is made, the person must lodge
After a person contacts Centrelink they will be provided         their claim with Centrelink within 14 days so that, if they are
with a claim package or information that tells them              eligible, their payment may be backdated to the date they
everything they need to do to complete their claim. It also      registered their Intent to Claim.                                  16
tells them what they need to bring if they have an interview
                                                                 People can register their Intent to Claim with Centrelink and
with Centrelink.
                                                                 download forms and other information by visiting
People claiming payment (and their partners) should              www.centrelink.gov.au, by phone or in person at a
provide documents proving who they are, their age,               Centrelink Customer Service Centre or Centrelink Agent.
residence status and details of their income and assets.
                                                                 People should contact Centrelink immediately if they
Not providing these documents may mean payment cannot
                                                                 have any difficulty returning their claim within 14 days. In
be made or will result in delays. People having difficulty
                                                                 some circumstances the 14-day period may be extended.

                                                                 CENTRELINK INFORMATION—A GUIDE TO PAYMENTS AND SERVICES            151
         Centrelink will advise the person if they have a longer period     Apprentices must lodge their claim within 14 days of
         to lodge their claim.                                              registering an Intent to Claim as there are no backdating
                                                                            provisions for ABSTUDY Australian Apprentice claims.
         Important: Intent to Claim processes do not apply to Family
         Tax Benefit, Child Care Benefit, Baby Bonus, Maternity               A customer claiming as a full-time Australian Apprentice
         Immunisation Allowance, Fares Allowance, Climate Change            should contact Centrelink when they start their Australian
         Assistance, Double Orphan Pension, Irrigation Management           Apprenticeship (apprenticeship or traineeship).
         Grant, Exceptional Circumstances Exit Grant or the
                                                                            Different closing dates apply to ABSTUDY Pensioner
         Professional Advice and Planning Grant.
                                                                            Education Supplement customers. Contact Centrelink for
         If the customer, the customer’s partner, or a customer             more information.
         cared for by the person making the claim is suffering from
                                                                            To register an Intent to Claim, make a claim, or for
         a medical condition which has a significant adverse effect
                                                                            more information about ABSTUDY, customers can call
         on their ability to lodge the claim, it may be lodged within
                                                                            Centrelink or visit a Centrelink Customer Service Centre
         13 weeks after the contact, provided the medical condition
                                                                            or Centrelink Agent.
         was continuous. The 14-day period can also be extended for
         up to 13 weeks under other circumstances. For example,             For more information see Chapter 5 or visit
         a customer may have practical difficulties in meeting the           www.centrelink.gov.au
         14-day timeframe as a result of living in a remote area or
         outside Australia (if claiming under an International Social     • Age Pension—call Centrelink on 13 2300.
         Security Agreement), or if an emergency interferes with their
                                                                            A claim for Age Pension can be lodged up to 13 weeks
         plans to lodge within the 14-day period.
                                                                            before a person qualifies for payment. If a claim is
         Important: backdating to the registration date of an Intent        lodged in advance, then payment starts from the date of
         to Claim does not apply to Family Tax Benefit, Child Care           qualification.
         Benefit, Baby Bonus, Maternity Immunisation Allowance,
                                                                            Age Pension claimants (and their partners) may be
         Fares Allowance or the Exceptional Circumstances Relief
                                                                            interviewed to determine eligibility, and to gather “Proof
         Payment. Payments such as ABSTUDY, Assistance for
                                                                            of Identity”, age, residence, details of income and
         Isolated Children and Pensioner Education Supplement may
                                                                            assets, and any other information needed to decide
         be backdated to an earlier date of eligibility if an Intent to
                                                                            eligibility and calculate the rate of payment.
         Claim has been registered and the claim has been lodged,
         within specified periods.                                           Veterans receiving a disability pension from the
                                                                            Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) and their partners
                                                                            may also choose to have their Age or Wife Pensions paid
         How to contact Centrelink                                          through the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
         If a person wants to register an Intent to Claim, make a           For more information see Chapter 13 or visit
         claim or get further information about a payment, they can         www.centrelink.gov.au
         visit www.centrelink.gov.au or visit a Centrelink Customer
         Service Centre or Centrelink Agent, or call one of the           • Assistance for Isolated Children Scheme—call
         following numbers:                                                 Centrelink on 13 2318.
         • To speak to Centrelink in languages other than
                                                                            Customers must lodge a claim form, or register an
             English—call Centrelink on 13 1202.
                                                                            Intent to Claim, by 31 December of the year for which
                                                                            assistance is sought. Customers who have registered
         • ABSTUDY customers have the option of personally
                                                                            an Intent to Claim with Centrelink on or before
           completing and lodging a claim form, or speaking with
                                                                            31 December have 13 weeks from the date of
           a Customer Service Adviser who will assist them to
                                                                            registration or until 31 December (whichever is later) to
           complete the form over the phone—call Centrelink
                                                                            lodge a form.
           on 13 2317.
                                                                            For more information see Chapter 5 or visit
           Most ABSTUDY customers can lodge either a claim or
                                                                            www.centrelink.gov.au
           an Intent to Claim during the calendar year in which
           they undertake full-year study, or by the end of the
                                                                          • Austudy—call Centrelink on 13 2490.
           course when they are undertaking a short course, to
           receive assistance in that year. Customers who have              Customers claiming Austudy should contact Centrelink
           notified Centrelink of an Intent to Claim can also receive        to notify their Intent to Claim. This can be done by
           backdated payments if they lodge their claim within              phone or online.
           13 weeks of the date the Intent to Claim was notified.
                                                                            For more information about Austudy see Chapter 5 or
           ABSTUDY customers who are full-time Australian
                                                                            visit www.centrelink.gov.au
152   CHAPTER 16 HOW TO CLAIM A PAYMENT
• Bereavement Allowance—call Centrelink on 13 2300.             – have been imprisoned, including psychiatric
                                                                  confinement, for at least 14 days after having been
  If a claim is lodged within four weeks of the partner’s
                                                                  charged with an offence.
  death, payment can be made from the date of the death.
  Otherwise, payment will start from the date the claim is      To qualify for Crisis Payment the person must be in
  lodged. A claim made after 14 weeks from the date of          severe financial hardship and must be eligible to
  death will only be paid if a woman was pregnant when          receive a specified Centrelink payment at the time of
  her partner died.                                             claiming and, in most cases, must claim Crisis Payment
                                                                within seven days of the event that led to the need for
  For more information see Chapter 12 or visit
                                                                Crisis Payment.
  www.centrelink.gov.au
                                                                For more information see Chapter 8 or visit
• Carer Allowance/Carer Payment—call Centrelink                 www.centrelink.gov.au
  on 13 2717.
                                                              • Disability Support Pension—call Centrelink on 13 2717.
  A claim for Carer Allowance or Carer Payment (or both)
  can be made on one combined claim form. Medical               A person making a claim may be interviewed and will be
  evidence about the person being cared for will also be        asked to provide a report from their doctor. The person
  required.                                                     may also be referred for a Job Capacity Assessment.
                                                                If they are assessed as being able to work for at least
  Carer Allowance or Carer Payment (or both) can also be
                                                                15 hours a week in the next two years, they will not
  claimed when the care receiver is temporarily in hospital
                                                                qualify for Disability Support Pension but may be eligible
  and will be returning to their home on release from
                                                                for an alternative payment such as Newstart Allowance
  hospital, as long as the carer is providing some care
                                                                or Youth Allowance.
  during the hospital stay.
                                                                An authorised advocate or nominee can complete the
  For more information see Chapter 11 or visit
                                                                applicant’s form if the applicant is unable to do so.
  www.centrelink.gov.au
                                                                Important: to legally act on behalf of a person applying
• Climate Change Adjustment Program (including                  for or receiving an income support payment from
  Transitional Income Support)—call the Farmer                  Centrelink, an authority for a nominee form needs to be
  Assistance Line Freecall™ 1800 050 585. Claim forms           completed. The form can be obtained by calling 13 2717
  are available from, and can be lodged (with supporting        or by asking at a Centrelink Customer Service Centre or
  documentation) at, any Customer Service Centre,               Centrelink Agent.
  Drought Bus or Centrelink Agent.                              For more information see Chapter 10 or visit
  For more information see Chapter 6 or visit                   www.centrelink.gov.au
  www.centrelink.gov.au
                                                              • Disaster Recovery Payment—call Centrelink
• Commonwealth Seniors Health Card—call Centrelink              on 13 2850.
  on 13 2300.                                                   Claims should be made within 14 days of the disaster,
  Self-funded retirees may test their eligibility for a         on an Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment
  Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, once they have              claim form and lodged at the nearest Centrelink
  reached age pension age, by submitting a claim form.          Customer Service Centre or Centrelink Agent or
                                                                alternative site approved by Centrelink.
  For more information see Chapter 12 or visit
  www.centrelink.gov.au                                         Important: the Minister for Families, Housing,
                                                                Community Services and Indigenous Affairs can only
• Crisis Payment—call Centrelink on 13 2850.                    declare a major disaster for the purposes of the Social
                                                                Security Act 1991 when there has been a significant loss
  Crisis Payment assists people who:                            of life, severe illness or injury and widespread damage.
  – have been forced from their home by an extreme
                                                                                                                             16
     circumstance, such as fire or domestic violence, and        For more information see Chapter 8 or visit
     who have to establish a new home, or                       www.centrelink.gov.au
  – have been subjected to domestic or family violence
     and opt to remain in their home after the family
     member responsible has left or been removed, or
  – have recently arrived in Australia on a qualifying
     humanitarian visa, or


                                                                  CENTRELINK INFORMATION—A GUIDE TO PAYMENTS AND SERVICES    153
         • Exceptional Circumstances Relief Payment—call                  • Newstart Allowance/Youth Allowance (Job Seeker)
           the Australian Government Drought Assistance
                                                                            A person must be qualified for Newstart Allowance or
           Hotline 13 2316.
                                                                            Youth Allowance (Job Seeker) to be eligible to lodge
           Exceptional Circumstances Relief Payment forms are               a claim. Apart from age and residency requirements,
           available from, and can be lodged (with supporting               a person claiming Newstart Allowance must be
           documentation) at, any Customer Service Centre,                  unemployed on the day they contact Centrelink.
           Drought Bus or Centrelink Agent.                                 A person may work part-time and still be considered
                                                                            unemployed for the purposes of income support. For
           For more information see Chapter 6 or visit
                                                                            assistance call Centrelink on 13 2850 (if aged 21 years
           www.centrelink.gov.au
                                                                            or over) or 13 2490 for Youth Allowance (if under
                                                                            21 years and unemployed).
         • Exceptional Circumstances Exit Grant—all applicants
           are required to lodge a paper claim for the Exceptional          If the person worked in the previous 12 months and is
           Circumstances Exit Grant (including supporting                   claiming Newstart Allowance or Youth Allowance, they will
           documentation) and proof of identification in accordance          need to provide an Employment Separation Certificate
           with Centrelink “Proof of Identity” guidelines.                  (called an “SU001”) from their last employer.

           Forms can be lodged at any Centrelink Customer Service           The certificate shows the date last worked, the
           Centre, Drought Bus or Centrelink Agent.                         reasons for ceasing work, termination payments and
                                                                            any compensation payments. If the employer does not
           For more information see Chapter 6 or visit                      provide a certificate, the employee should ask for one.
           www.centrelink.gov.au or call the Australian Government          The employer is required by law to issue a certificate
           Drought Assistance Hotline on 13 2316.                           when asked. Some employers provide this information
                                                                            to Centrelink electronically. If a person cannot get a
         • Fares Allowance—call Centrelink on 13 2490                       certificate, they should tell Centrelink.
           (Youth Allowance, Austudy and Pensioner Education
           Supplement) or 13 2317 (ABSTUDY) for a claim form.               For more information see Chapter 2 or visit
                                                                            www.centrelink.gov.au
           Customers claiming reimbursement need to lodge their
           form before 1 April in the year following the year of study.   • Parenting Payment—call Centrelink on 13 6150.
           Customers claiming for pre-booked Fares Allowance need
           to lodge their form far enough in advance to allow for           This is a payment for parents or guardians to help with
           booking for travel.                                              the cost of raising children. To qualify for Parenting
                                                                            Payment, from 1 July 2006 a person must have a
           For more information see Chapter 5 or visit                      dependent child under six years of age (if partnered)
           www.centrelink.gov.au                                            or under eight years of age (if single). If a person’s
                                                                            youngest child is over these ages they may be eligible
         • Mobility Allowance—call Centrelink on 13 2717.                   for Newstart Allowance or Youth Allowance. People
           A person making a claim may be asked to provide                  receiving Parenting Payment on 30 June 2006 may
           medical evidence.                                                have different provisions.

           For more information see Chapter 10 or visit                     For more information see Chapter 3 or visit
           www.centrelink.gov.au                                            www.centrelink.gov.au


         • Murray-Darling Basin Irrigation Management Grant               • Pensioner Education Supplement—call Centrelink
                                                                            on 13 2490.
           All applicants are required to lodge a paper claim for
           the Irrigation Management Grant (including supporting            Pensioner Education Supplement is an addition to the
           documentation) and proof of identification in accordance          primary “qualifying” payment. Claims should be lodged
           with Centrelink “Proof of Identity” guidelines.                  with the required supporting documentation by particular
                                                                            dates depending on the course and other circumstances.
           Forms can be lodged at any Centrelink Customer Service
           Centre, Drought Bus or Centrelink Agent.                         For more information see Chapter 5 or visit
                                                                            www.centrelink.gov.au
           For more information see Chapter 6 or call the
           Murray-Darling Basin Assistance and Referral Line on
           Freecall™ 1800 050 015 or visit www.centrelink.gov.au




154   CHAPTER 16 HOW TO CLAIM A PAYMENT
• Pharmaceutical Allowance                                     • Sickness Allowance—call Centrelink on 13 2717.
  A separate claim is not required, as eligibility               A person claiming Sickness Allowance is required to
  is automatically assessed as part of a claim or                provide a medical certificate from their doctor and
  reassessment for a pension or an allowance.                    confirm that they still have a job or study to return to.
  For more information see Chapter 15 or visit                   For more information see Chapter 10 or visit
   www.centrelink.gov.au                                         www.centrelink.gov.au

• Professional Advice and Planning Grant—call the              • Special Benefit—call Centrelink on 13 2850.
  Australian Government Drought Assistance Hotline
                                                                 Special Benefit assists those who are in severe hardship
  on 13 2316.
                                                                 due to circumstances outside their control. Special
  All applicants are required to lodge a paper claim for         Benefit is a discretionary payment and is only paid in
  a Professional Advice and Planning Grant (including            certain circumstances.
  supporting documentation) and proof of identification in
                                                                 For more information see Chapter 8 or visit
  accordance with Centrelink “Proof of Identity” guidelines.
                                                                 www.centrelink.gov.au
  Forms can be lodged at any Centrelink Customer Service
  Centre, Drought Bus or Centrelink Agent.                     • Telephone Allowance
  For more information see Chapter 6 or visit                    A separate claim is not required as payment is made
  www.centrelink.gov.au                                          automatically to eligible customers who have a phone
                                                                 and/or internet service connected in Australia in their
• Remote Area Allowance                                          (or their partner’s) name.
  A separate claim for Remote Area Allowance is not              For more information see Chapter 15 or visit
  required as eligibility is automatically assessed when         www.centrelink.gov.au
  a person is granted a payment and resides within a
  nominated tax zone, or when a person receiving a             • Widow Allowance—call Centrelink on 13 2850.
  payment moves permanently to a nominated tax zone.
                                                                 People claiming Widow Allowance have an interview to
  The remote areas are Tax Zone A, Special Zone A and            ensure they receive appropriate support and are made
  Special Zone B. These include the Torres Strait Islands,       aware of the additional services and payments for which
  Lord Howe Island, the Cocos (Keeling) Islands and              they may be eligible.
  Christmas Island. Residents of ordinary Tax Zone B and
  some regions within Tax Zone A, such as Norfolk Island,        For more information see Chapter 12 or visit
  are not entitled to the allowance.                             www.centrelink.gov.au

  For more information see Chapter 15 or visit                 • Youth Allowance (students) and Australian Apprentices
  www.centrelink.gov.au
                                                                 People claiming Youth Allowance as a student or as an
• Rent Assistance                                                Australian Apprentice should contact Centrelink to make
                                                                 an Intent to Claim. This can be done over the phone
  Rent Assistance is assessed when a person is claiming a        (students 13 2490 and Australian Apprentices 13 3633)
  Centrelink income support payment or there is a change in      or online. People will be advised of when to lodge the
  their accommodation circumstances (excluding Exceptional       claim to ensure full entitlement and of documentation
  Circumstances Relief Payment and interim income support        that will be required when lodging.
  payments paid on behalf of the Department of Agriculture,
  Fisheries and Forestry). To receive Rent Assistance            Customers about to turn 16 years of age may lodge
  customers must verify their liability to pay rent.             a Youth Allowance claim up to 13 weeks before their
                                                                 birthday. If no claim is lodged in that time, they must
  For more information see Chapter 15 or visit                   contact Centrelink on their 16th birthday to ensure         16
  www.centrelink.gov.au                                          payment may be made from that date.
                                                                 For more information see Chapter 5 or visit
                                                                 www.centrelink.gov.au




                                                                   CENTRELINK INFORMATION—A GUIDE TO PAYMENTS AND SERVICES   155
                                                                           Benefit by instalments or through the tax system. Proof
         How to contact the Family                                         of the child being an orphan, and “Proof of Identity” and
         Assistance Office                                                 residence of the guardian and child are needed.

         Family Assistance Offices have been set up in all                  For more information see Chapter 3 or visit
         Medicare offices, Centrelink Customer Service Centres and          www.familyassist.gov.au
         Australian Taxation Offices to deliver Australian Government
                                                                        • Family Tax Benefit—call the Family Assistance Office
         payments for families. The Family Assistance Office website
                                                                          on 13 6150.
         is www.familyassist.gov.au
                                                                          Claim forms for newborn children are also available
         • Child Care Benefit—approved care—call the Family                from hospitals.
           Assistance Office on 13 6150.
                                                                          Claims are available at www.centrelink.gov.au and can
           People receiving Family Tax Benefit can apply for Child         be lodged from outside Australia by contacting Centrelink
           Care Benefit online at www.familyassist.gov.au or by            International Services (see the back cover of this book
           calling the Family Assistance Office on 13 6150. If the         for the relevant phone numbers).
           person is not receiving Family Tax Benefit, they need to
                                                                          For more information see Chapter 3 or visit
           complete a form and return it to the Family Assistance
                                                                          www.familyassist.gov.au
           Office. Alternatively, people can choose to pay full child
           care fees during the year and then lodge a claim for Child   • Baby Bonus—call the Family Assistance Office
           Care Benefit as a lump sum following the end of the             on 13 6150.
           financial year. Time limits apply for lodging claims.
                                                                          Claim forms for Baby Bonus for newborn children are
           For more information see Chapter 3 or visit                    available from hospitals. The claim for adopted children
           www.familyassist.gov.au                                        and children with carers (other than the parents) are
                                                                          available from the Family Assistance Office. Claim forms
         • Child Care Tax Rebate                                          for stillbirths and babies who die shortly after birth are
           – From 1 July 2006, the rebate is paid through the Family      also available from hospitals.
             Assistance Office to families who received Child Care
                                                                          For more information see Chapter 3 or visit
             Benefit. There is no requirement to make a separate
                                                                          www.familyassist.gov.au
             claim. Call the Family Assistance Office on 13 6150.
           – For child care costs in the 2004–05 and 2005–06
                                                                        • Maternity Immunisation Allowance—call the Family
             financial years, the rebate is claimed through the tax
                                                                          Assistance Office on 13 6150.
             system. Call 13 2861 or visit www.ato.gov.au for
             more information.                                            A claim for Maternity Immunisation Allowance may be
                                                                          lodged when applying for Baby Bonus. The claim will be
         • Child Care Benefit—registered care—call the Family              paid on confirmation of immunisation after the child is
           Assistance Office on 13 6150.                                   18 months of age. If a customer is not getting Family
                                                                          Tax Benefit when the child turns 18 months, a separate
           To become a registered care provider, contact the
                                                                          claim may need to be lodged. A claim for Maternity
           Family Assistance Office for a registered care form and
                                                                          Immunisation Allowance must be lodged before the
           information on the requirements for registered carers in
                                                                          child’s second birthday.
           the relevant state or territory.
                                                                          For more information about Maternity Immunisation
           Claim forms are available by calling the Family
                                                                          Allowance, see Chapter 3 or visit the Family Assistance
           Assistance Office or visiting a shopfront. Claims must be
                                                                          Office website at www.familyassist.gov.au
           lodged with paid receipts for child care within 52 weeks
           of the care being provided.
           For more information see Chapter 3 or visit
           www.familyassist.gov.au

         • Double Orphan Pension—call the Family Assistance
           Office on 13 6150.
            A person claiming Double Orphan Pension who has not
            claimed Family Tax Benefit for the child must have their
            potential entitlement to Family Tax Benefit assessed. This
            is regardless of whether they choose to get Family Tax


156   CHAPTER 16 HOW TO CLAIM A PAYMENT