This is an HTML version of an attachment to the Freedom of Information request 'People with migraine on DSP'.

If not delivered return to PO Box 7820 Canberra BC ACT 2610 
31 October 2019 
Our reference:  LEX 48034 
Ms RK Crosby 
Right to Know  
By email: 
Dear Ms Crosby 
Decision on your Internal Review Request 
I refer to email correspondence dated and received by the Department of Human Services 
(the department) on 1 October 2019, in which you requested an internal review of the 
department’s decision delivered to you on 24 September 2019 (LEX 46629).  
Internal Review Decision 
I am authorised to make decisions under section 23(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 
(the FOI Act), including internal review decisions under section 54C of the FOI Act. 
Consistent with the requirements of section 54C(2) of the FOI Act, I have made a fresh 
decision in relation to LEX 46629.  
I have affirmed the original decision in LEX 46629 and decided to grant access to one 
I have also decided to refuse access to part of your request on the basis that documents 
cannot be located or do not exist under section 24A of the FOI Act.  
The reasons for my decision, including the relevant sections of the FOI Act, are set out in 
Attachment A.  
You can ask for a review of our decision 

If you still disagree with any part of the decision you can ask for an external review by the 
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner. You do not have to pay for reviews of 
decisions. See Attachment B for more information about how to arrange a further review.  
Further assistance 

If you have any questions please email 
Yours sincerely 
Authorised FOI Decision Maker 
Freedom of Information Team 
Employment Law and Freedom of Information Branch | Legal Services Division  
Department of Human Services 
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If not delivered return to PO Box 7820 Canberra BC ACT 2610 
Attachment A 
RIGHT TO KNOW – RK Crosby - LEX 48055 
Number of Disability Support 
Released in full 
Pensioners with Migraine provided as 
at least one of medical conditions that 
was accessed and the percentage of 
Disability Support Pensioners who 
have migraine listed as a medical 
PAGE 2 OF 7 

If not delivered return to PO Box 7820 Canberra BC ACT 2610 
Original Decision 
On 10 August 2019, the department received your original request for the following documents: 
'I would like to know how many people disabled by migraine are currently in receipt of 
Disability Support Pension. 
Please provide any document or documents that detail the number of people with 
Migraine listed as their disability or illness, currently in receipt any Centrelink benefit, 
broken down by type of benefit. If the document can indicate the percentage of DSP or 
Centrelink clients affected by migraine, or if additional documents (such as the entire 
number of clients) can be provided in order that we can calculate percentages, that would 
also be very useful. 
If such a document does not exist, please provide any document you have (if any) that 
indicates the prevalence of migraine among Centrelink clients. 
Note I am only looking for numbers (in order to try and calculate fiscal impact of new 
migraine prevention drugs currently being blocked by PBAC), not the personal details 
of any Centrelink client.’ 
On 24 September 2019, the department provided you with one document addressing part of 
your original request in relation to “how many people disabled by migraine are currently in 
receipt of Disability Support Pension”. In addition, the department refused part of your request 
relating to “any Centrelink benefit” under section 24A of the FOI Act. This was on the basis that 
all reasonable steps were taken to locate documents and they did not exist or could not be 
On 1 October 2019 you requested an internal review of the original decision in the following 
‘Thank you for the information about people with migraine on DSP, this is useful 
information. I appreciate that was the title of the request, but the wording of the request 
asked for any Centrelink benefit. We have a significant belief that people with migraine who 
would otherwise be entitled to DSP are on Newstart long term or other benefits, providing 
repeated medical certificates for years to obtain exemptions from participation 
requirements, because of the social stigma that migraine is 'just a headache'.  
If you are unable to gather medical condition information for other benefits, that's fine, just 
let me know. (However, we are requesting a parliamentary inquiry into the burden of 
migraine, so you may need to deliver this information to the Minister or relevant Committee 
in the near future anyway.)’ 
What I took into account 
In reaching my decision I took into account: 
•  your original request dated 10 August 2019, and your request for internal review dated 
1 October 2019;  
•  the original decision dated 24 September 2019; 
•  the document that falls within the scope of your request; 
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•  consultations with departmental officers about: 
o  the nature of the information requested; and 
o  the department's operating environment and functions; 
•  guidelines issued by the Australian Information Commissioner under section 93A of the 
FOI Act (the Guidelines); and 
•  the FOI Act.  
Reasons for my decision 
I am authorised to make decisions under section 23(1) of the FOI Act, including internal review 
decisions under section 54C of the FOI Act. 
I have decided to: 
•  affirm the original decision to provide access to one document which was created 
under section 17 of the FOI Act and addresses part of your request; and  
•  refuse the remainder of your request under section 24A of the FOI Act on the 
basis that all reasonable steps have been taken to locate documents and the 
documents cannot be found or do not exist. 
My findings of fact and reasons for deciding that the exemption applies to those documents are 
discussed below.  
Searches conducted  
I note that the department created a document as part of the original decision to satisfy part of 
your original request relating to “how many people disabled by migraine are currently in receipt 
of Disability Support Pension”.  
I am satisfied that all reasonable searches have been conducted in this matter to find 
documents within the scope of the remainder of your request (discussed below).  
Section 24A of the FOI Act  
Section 24A of the FOI Act provides that: 
(1)  An agency or Minister may refuse a request for access to a document if:  
(a)  all reasonable steps have been taken to find the document; and  
(b)  the agency or Minister is satisfied that the document:  
(i) is in the agency's or Minister's possession but cannot be found; or  
(ii) does not exist.  
The Multicultural and Rural Programmes Branch and the Social Economic Participation Division 
(the Division) conducted fresh searches of the department's online records and did not identify 
any documents matching the portion of your request in which you referred to: 
•  ‘any document or documents that detail the number of people with Migraine listed as 
their disability or illness, currently in receipt any Centrelink benefit, broken down by 
type of benefit.’  
PAGE 4 OF 7 
Department of Human Services 

I undertook further consultations with these areas and was informed that, after review of file 
notes, scanned documents and emails the following further information applies.  
The Department does not hold information in relation to ‘all Centrelink Payments’ and 
Whilst a recipient on Newstart Allowance or Youth Allowance may receive a temporary 
incapacity exemption from their Mutual Obligation Requirements due to a migraine 
(subject to all requirements being met), the Department does not have data to this level. 
This information could only be gained via: 
manual investigation of customer records, which would involve an unfeasible level 
of resource commitment; or  
the development of a new data file which would come at some cost.  The accuracy 
of that data would be questionable as Service Officers may only record the primary 
condition when granting temporary incapacity exemptions.  
I note also that the original decision-maker, in refusing the part of your request in relation to 
“documents that detail the number of people with Migraine listed as their disability or illness, 
currently in receipt any Centrelink benefit, broken down by type of benefit”, addressed the 
portion of your request by stating as follows: 
It is possible that a person on a payment other than the Disability Support Pension 
(DSP) may have provided migraine as a condition, and this may be recorded on their 
customer record. One example of this is having migraine included as a condition 
recorded in a medical certificate provided as part of the Mutual Obligation 
Requirements for people receiving Newstart Allowance or Youth Allowance, and 
some people receiving Parenting Payment and Special Benefit. This information is 
not recorded in a form that would allow for the data to be extracted and for a 
document to be readily created in a discrete form (i.e. like the data for DSP provided 
in the document for release). I am satisfied that it is not practical for the department to 
create a document that would list the number of people with a specific medical illness 
divided by Centrelink payment type. There is also no existing document that contains 
that information. 
On the basis of the searches conducted and the reasons provided above, I am satisfied that in 
accordance with section 24A of the FOI Act:  
1.  all reasonable steps have been taken to find the documents; and 
2.  the documents do not exist or cannot be located.  
In summary, I am satisfied that the document created under section 17 of the FOI Act satisfies 
part of your request relating to how many people disabled by migraine are currently in receipt 
of Disability Support Pension. 
I have also refused part of your request for access, to the extent that it relates to “documents 
that detail the number of people with Migraine listed as their disability or illness, currently in 
receipt any Centrelink benefit, broken down by type of benefit” under section 24A of the FOI. I 
am satisfied that all reasonable steps have been taken to locate the requested documents and 
they cannot be found or do not exist.  

PAGE 5 OF 7 
Department of Human Services 

Attachment B 
Asking for a full explanation of a freedom of information (FOI) decision 

Before you ask for a formal review of a FOI decision, you can contact us to discuss your 
request. We will explain the decision to you. This gives you a chance to correct 
Applying for external review by the Australian Information Commissioner 
If you do not agree with the internal review decision, you can ask the Australian Information 
Commissioner to review the decision.  
You will have 60 days to apply in writing for a review by the Australian Information 
You can lodge your application
Australian Information Commissioner 
GPO Box 5218 
Note 3: The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner generally prefers FOI applicants 
to seek internal review before applying for external review by the Australian Information 
•  If you are applying online, the application form the 'Merits Review Form' is available at  
•  If you have one, you should include with your application a copy of the Department of 
Human Services' decision on your FOI request  
•  Include your contact details 
•  Set out your reasons for objecting to the department's decision. 
Complaints to the Australian Information Commissioner and Commonwealth 

Australian Information Commissioner 
You may complain to the Australian Information Commissioner concerning action taken by an 
agency in the exercise of powers or the performance of functions under the FOI Act, There is no 
fee for making a complaint. A complaint to the Australian Information Commissioner must be 
made in writing. The Australian Information Commissioner's contact details are: 
Telephone:      1300 363 992 
PAGE 6 OF 7 
Department of Human Services 

Commonwealth Ombudsman 
You may also complain to the Commonwealth Ombudsman concerning action taken by an 
agency in the exercise of powers or the performance of functions under the FOI Act. There is no 
fee for making a complaint. A complaint to the Commonwealth Ombudsman may be made in 
person, by telephone or in writing. The Commonwealth Ombudsman's contact details are: 
Phone:             1300 362 072 
The Commonwealth Ombudsman generally prefers applicants to seek review before 
complaining about a decision. 
PAGE 7 OF 7 
Department of Human Services 

Document Outline