Centrelink and the 6 week rule and why you may not have to repay a debt to Centrelink

Paragraph 1237A   Waiver of debt arising from Centrelink’s error.

The following text comes from Paragraph 1,237A of the Social Security Act. Buried in almost 3,000 pages of legislation contained in two seperate Acts of Parliament, even most lawyers do not know of its existance and have therefore given clients wrong advice. Not everyone qualifies for exemption – the mistake has to be 100% Centrelink’s fault. Centrelink DOES make mistakes – with 6.8 Million clients the avearage error of 3.5% sounds really small but in terms of numbers, it represents over 225,000 errors! It is no wonder that Centrelink management prefer to report the percentage error rate rather than the numerical error rate. In FY 2009-10, Centrelink “saved” $101.4 Million by demanding repayment of “debts” caused by over-payment. However, if most of this was due to Centrelink errors, then they are not entitled to this money. IF you were conned or intimidated in making repayments for a Centrelink error, can you get your money back? YES, you can, by filing an Administrative Appeal.

 1,237A Waiver of debt arising from error.

 (1) Subject to subsection (1A), the Secretary must waive the right to recover the proportion of a debt that is attributable solely to an administrative error made by the Commonwealth if the debtor received in good faith the payment or payments that gave rise to that proportion of the debt.

Note: Subsection (1) does not allow waiver of a part of a debt that was caused partly by administrative error and partly by one or more other factors (such as error by the debtor).

(1A) Subsection (1) only applies if:

(a) the debt is not raised within a period of 6 weeks from the first payment that caused the debt; or

(b) if the debt arose because a person has complied with a notification obligation, the debt is not raised within a period of 6 weeks from the end of the notification period;

whichever is the later.

Underestimating value of property

(2) If:

(a) a debt arose because the debtor or the debtor’s partner underestimated the value of particular property of the debtor or partner; and

(b) the estimate was made in good faith; and

(c) the value of the property was not able to be easily determined when the estimate was made;

the Secretary must waive the right to recover the proportion of the debt attributable to the underestimate.  (NOTE: The source text is not in red nor is the word “must” underlined.)

Proportion of a debt

(3) For the purposes of this section, a proportion of a debt may be 100% of the debt.

NOTE: (1) All bold and underling are done by me for emphasis. This formatting is not part of the original text.

(2) After weeks of waiting for ALP and Liberal politicians to supply this vital updated information, I asked Greens senator, Rachel Siewert, who promimised to have her staff (re)locate it for me. It was provided with 24 hours.

(3) That is not an endorsement of the Greens, merely a statement of fact. As a Christian, some of the Greens policies do not fit well with my beliefs but it is appropriate to give credit where credit is due and Senator Siewert and her staff were incredibly efficient and helpful.

Ron Medlicott (Christian welfare justice activist.)

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5 Responses to Centrelink and the 6 week rule and why you may not have to repay a debt to Centrelink

  1. great writing , can you tell me please, from where you collect this data, i would like to use this data to my university assignment. so i would like to ensure its authentic values
    regards

    • yadnarie48 says:

      Hi, my apologies for taking so long to get back to you.

      The 6 week rule comes from paragraph 1,237A of the Social Security Act. This legislation is more honoured in the breach than the observance and has been a conveient way for Centrelink to recover overpayments for several years, i.e. knowing that welfare recipients do not know about this rule, Centrelink does not apply it and forced welfare recipients to reay it.

      Is that fraud? Yes it is but it only one of many frauds perpetrated against welfare recipients over the last 30 years. Check out paragraph 75 of the constitution and you will find that breach of Contract between a commonwealthy agency and a 3rd party, i.e. a welfare recipient is actually a matter for the High Court, not Centrelink officials. The curent “Complainace Failure” penalties fit in the same category as “Compliance Failure” is merely another way of saying Breach of Contract.

      Below is the 6 week rule:

      Paragraph 1237A:of the Act – Waiver of debt arising from error

      Administrative error

      (1) Subject to subsection (1A), the Secretary must waive the right to recover the proportion of a debt that is attributable solely to an administrative error made by the Commonwealth if the debtor received in good faith the payment or payments that gave rise to that proportion of the debt.

      Note: Subsection (1) does not allow waiver of a part of a debt that was caused partly by administrative error and partly by one or more other factors (such as error by the debtor).
      (1A) Subsection (1) only applies if:
      (a) the debt is not raised within a period of 6 weeks from the first payment that caused the debt; or
      (b) if the debt arose because a person has complied with a notification obligation, the debt is not raised within a period of 6 weeks from the end of the notification period;
      whichever is the later.
      Underestimating value of property
      (2) If:
      (a) a debt arose because the debtor or the debtor’s partner underestimated the value of particular property of the debtor or partner; and
      (b) the estimate was made in good faith; and
      (c) the value of the property was not able to be easily determined when the estimate was made;
      the Secretary must waive the right to recover the proportion of the debt attributable to the underestimate.
      Proportion of a debt
      (3) For the purposes of this section, a proportion of a debt may be 100% of the debt.

      NOTE: “must waive” – Centrelink “must waive” the debt but that is not occurring so Centrelink is deliberately defrauding welfare recipients. How do you stop it happenming to you? If Centrelink refuses to waive a debt caused by their error, lodge a fraud complaint with both the Commonwealth Ombudsman and on Centrelink’s own fraud reporting hotline. TIP: When you give Centrelink documents, ask them to photocopy and date stamp the copies. Alternately, take 2 copies to Centrelink and get them to copy your original documents and date stamp your photocopies. NEVER, NEVER get rid of these. Centrelink can and will hit you for mistakes made years ago and if you refuse to repay, that will file fraud charges against you even though it is Centrelink who is commiting the fraud. (Few lawyers know about the 6 week rule and they sometimnes tell wlfare recipients to plead guilty!!!)

      Check out the following YouTube videos:
      Centrelink Prosecutions: Bunging a spanner in the works.

      NEW: Are Centrelink penalties unconstitutional?

      NEW: Centrelink and the 6 week Rule.

      Murder by Legislation: The Canberra Killers Club.

      Centrelink’s Secret Breaching Triggered death Toll.

      Billabong Ghosts (How almost 4 million Aussie Battlers were thrown in the Billabong.)

      BLOGS:
      https://yadnarie48.wordpress.com/2011/04/14/is-tony-abbott-a-closet-sociopath-who-has-declared-war-on-the-impoverished-that-is-the-whistle-blowers-big-blog-question-of-the-month/
      https://yadnarie48.wordpress.com/2011/10/18/no-laws-against-welfare-bashing-by-the-national-media/
      https://yadnarie48.wordpress.com/2010/03/14/breaching-it-is-all-about-sinking-the-life-boats/

      If you have a Facebook account or your own blog, PLEASE, put a link to the 6 week rule and/or some of theYouTube videos on your home apage. The only way to expose Centrelink’s dirty secrets is to spread the word so that victims and potential victims know the truth.

      My home email address is: ronald48@optusnet.com.au If you send an email to me at that address, I will get back to within a week. (I get lots of emails) I can then forward to copies of actual documents that proviode object proof of the concealment of breaching fatalities, etc.

  2. Bubba says:

    Open a website , then Post it on Whirlpool Broadband forums heaps people would join it.. Screw CL

  3. Nat says:

    Hi, I am wondering if the six week rule applies to partners of discretionary trust beneficiaries. When my partner and I separated I ended up with a 8000 family tax debt because the trust disbursed paper income to my ex but the tax period was not completed until well after we split up. I never received the benefit of the paper income and I had to repay the debt which I am now contesting but the review officer has gone against me because they say that is the legislation whether it is fair or not…

    • yadnarie48 says:

      This is a tough question that only an expert in tax laws could answer unfortunately as it is mega-difficult for an ordinary person to work out who made what mistake.

      Ron M.

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