Australia: Centrelink plans 1.6m robo-debt reviews - - PressFrom - Australia

Australia Centrelink plans 1.6m robo-debt reviews

08:10  27 september  2019
08:10  27 september  2019 Source:

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I have fallen victim to Centrelink ’s robo - debt program. Well, technically not me , but my wife was sent a letter recently saying that she owes Centrelink

Centrelink debt recovery. The Senate submission says the department has now conducted 955,000 income reviews , of which 81% led to a debt being raised, but that it would need to carry out 1 . 6 million over On current trends, the 1 . 6 million projected income reviews would result in about 1.3 million

Centrelink signage.© AAP Image/Mick Tsikas Centrelink signage. Centrelink expects to run another 1.6 million robo-debt reviews over the next three years despite calls to scrap the controversial welfare compliance program.

The Department of Human Services also insists reviews of the automatic debt program are working well, despite admitting 60 per cent of people they target either refuse to talk to Centrelink or drop out part way through.

In a submission made to a Senate inquiry into the robo-debt system, the department revealed it projects to perform 500,000 reviews in the 2019/20 financial year, and 550,000 in each of the two years after that.

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Debt recovery controversy (aka ' robo - debt '). In 2016, Centrelink began reconciling welfare recipients' records against data from the In some cases, the debts being pursued dated back further than the Australian Taxation Office requests that Australians retain their documentation.[4] The onus

It’s simply not good enough when a member of the community might get a debt notice out of the blue for , , , ,000 with no explanation, only a few

The system has been criticised for unfairly landing people with debts they don't owe, a complex review process that doesn't work, and taking people's tax returns without warning.

"The latest iteration of the online compliance system, which customers use to complete their reviews, is modern, easy to use, and transparent," the department said in its submission.

"A review process does not commence without the person undertaking some action.

"Customers do not need to take legal action for an independent review of a decision to be undertaken."

Two people who have taken legal action so far have had their debts wiped, while the Labor opposition is supporting a class action against the program.

The department said it uses registered post and read receipt emails to find out about 30 per cent of people do not engage with the review process at all, and another 30 per cent of people who start the process do not finish it.

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READ MORE Centrelink 's Robo - Debt Clusterfuck Burnt To Cinders By Ombudsman Report. UPDATE: Department of Human Services spokesperson Michael Keenan denied any link between robo - debts and customer deaths in a statement issued to PEDESTRIAN.TV late this afternoon.

The tax returns of Australians appealing robo - debts from Centrelink have been seized by the Department of Human Services, according to new reports. The Department of Human Services’ policy guide states debt recipients who have lodged reviews are exempt from the garnishing process

"Where a person does not request a review of a debt decision, or engage with the department to provide more information, we have an obligation to pursue recovery of the debt and protect the integrity of the welfare system," it said.

The main reasons Centrelink chases down robo-debts are people reporting their net income instead of their gross income, or they correctly report the accurate amount to their job network provider, who then doesn't pass it on to Centrelink.

The department also denied staff were required to hit a certain number of reviews each week, despite media reports suggesting staff were required to do just that.

"Staff are coached regularly and will set aspirational targets for review finalisations in line with their individual learning and development needs," the department said.

"Staff are not required to meet targets for debt raising."

The robo-debt program is expected to cost more than $500 million over the next three years, for a benefit of $2 billion to the federal budget.

Centrelink accused of 'disability bullying' after man with intellectual disability receives $15,000 robodebt .
The mother of an intellectually disabled man who initially received a $15,000 "robodebt" describes the Department of Human Services' conduct in seeking to recover the money as a form of "disability bullying", in a case that raises further concerns about how the automated debts are applied against vulnerable Australians.In July 2018, Christopher Pascoe, a 53-year-old man with epilepsy and an intellectual disability, received a debt of $15,537.62 from Centrelink.

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This is interesting!