Below is a paragraph of legislation that probably rates right up there with Julia Gillard’s secret Commonwealth credit card PIN. Conveniently ignoring this tiny fragment of Statute Law could be worth up to $100,000,000 a year or more to Centrelink. If everyone knew about this piece of law, Centrelink would have a much harder time trying to recover money that, BY ACT OF PARLIAMENT, Centrelink is not allowed to collect.
The rule is fairly simple. If Centrelink totally, 100% stuffs up and overpays you, they have 6 weeks to fix the problem.
6 weeks and after that, they have no right to demand any repayment.
What a nice rule.
Please tell everyone about this rule.
1237A Waiver of debt arising from error. (© Crown)
(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
(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.