Compensation recovery errors caused by data-matching

Julie Middleton made this Freedom of Information request to Department of Human Services

The request was partially successful.

From: Julie Middleton

Delivered

Dear Department of Human Services,

Centrelink uses data-matching programs and when Centrelink changes its records, the client's ATO records are automatically changed. When Centrelink changes past financial year records, it will change the ATO records after a previous years Taxation return has been finalised. The client's myGov records are also adversely impacted.

The data-matching program may also change the records on the Department's Compensation Management System. This would result in lost revenue because incorrect figures are provided to law firms prior to claims being settled.

I am seeking copies of the following:

1) a document that states the name of Centrelink's data-matching program and explains the connecting relationship with other government Departments programs;

2) a User Guides (or similar instruction manual) that explains how to prevent errors from occurring;

3) all audit reports that have identified errors relating to the data-matching programs;

4) any documents the explain how to correct errors - when identified by a client. Electronic Accounts Payable files for the past payments would have the same data as shown on a client's bank statement; i.e. the actual payment. Depending on how many programs are adversely impacted, manually checking those Accounts Payable records may be the only option.

As an example of an error being created, a Disability Support Pension (DSP) claim can take some time to be approved. For those who are seeking income support while the DSP claim is being assessed, a claim for Newstart should be made at the same time as the DSP claim. The Newstart Allowance should run concurrently, until the DSP claim is assessed. Centrelink will only pay the DSP from the date of an approved application.

An error occurs when a client has been on Newstart - for a period that extends over a past financial year - and an adjustment back payment is made when the DSP is approved.

The legislation relevant is the Social Security Act 1991 (the Act), the Social Security (Administration) Act 1999 (the Administration Act), the Social Security (Tables for the Assessment of Work-related Impairment for Disability Support Pension) Determination 2011 and the Social Security (Active Participation for Disability Support Pension) Determination 2014 (the 2014 Determination).

A person's health is to be assessed at the time of claim. If a person is not qualified at the date of claim but is qualified within the following 13 weeks, then Centrelink's policy is to grant the claim pursuant to a benevolent interpretation of subclause 4(1) of Schecule 2, the Administration Act.

Where a claim has been accepted, payment will usually date from when the claim was made, which date is the usual "start day" for payment (section 41 and 42 of the Administration Act).

Section 13 of the Administration Act provides circumstances in which a claim can be deemed to have been made so that some backdating of payment is possible.

Yours faithfully,

Julie Middleton

Link to this

From: FOI.LEGAL.TEAM
Department of Human Services


Attachment LEX 50114 Registration Acknowledgement letter Final.pdf
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Dear Ms Middleton

 

Please find attached correspondence in relation to your request for
documents under the Freedom of Information Act 1982.

 

Due to the department's reduced activity period over December and January,
we are seeking your permission to extend the processing time by an extra
15 days to allow us to process your request under section 15AA of the FOI
Act. This means you can expect to receive a decision by 3 February 2020. 

 

We would be grateful if you could please advise by email to
[1][email address] by close of business Monday 23
December 2019 whether you agree to proposed extension of time.

Kind regards

 

Freedom of Information Team

Employment Law and Freedom of Information Branch | Legal Services Division

Department of Human Services

 

Email: [2][email address]

 

This email and any attachments may contain information subject to legal
professional privilege or information that is otherwise sensitive or
confidential. If you are not the intended recipient of this email, you are
prohibited from using or disseminating this communication. If you have
received this communication in error please notify the sender immediately
and permanently delete this email.

 

 

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2. mailto:[email address]

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From: Julie Middleton

Delivered

Dear FOI.LEGAL.TEAM,

In response to your letter of 20 December 2019, I am agreeable to the extended processing time of an extra 15 days with the new due date being 3 February 2020.

Please note that I do not agree to the Department providing my requested documents under administrative access arrangements and request that the Department proceed to process my request under the FOI Act.

Yours sincerely,

Julie Middleton

Link to this

From: FOI.LEGAL.TEAM
Department of Human Services


Attachment LEX 50114 Communication Charges Letter.pdf
151K Download View as HTML


Dear Ms Middleton

 

Please find attached correspondence in relation to your request under the
Freedom of Information Act 1982.

 

Kind regards

 

Freedom of Information Team

Employment Law and Freedom of Information Branch | Legal Services Division

Department of Human Services

 

Email: [1][email address]

 

This email and any attachments may contain information subject to legal
professional privilege or information that is otherwise sensitive or
confidential. If you are not the intended recipient of this email, you are
prohibited from using or disseminating this communication. If you have
received this communication in error please notify the sender immediately
and permanently delete this email.

 

 

 

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From: Julie Middleton

Delivered

Dear FOI.LEGAL.TEAM,

Thank you for your letter dated 22 January 2020.

I agree to pay the charge of $25.50 as detailed in your letter. Furthermore, I authorise the department to deduct the full amount of $25.50 from the $60 held in credit - your reference number LEX 50114.

Yours sincerely,

Julie Middleton

Link to this

From: FOI.LEGAL.TEAM


Attachment LEX 50114 Decision Decision letter Final Services Australia.pdf
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Attachment LEX 50114 Decision Document Binder Final.pdf
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Dear Ms Middleton

 

Please find attached the decision and documents relating to your Freedom
of Information request.

 

You lodged your FOI request with Department of Human Services
(department). Please note that from 1 February 2020 the department became
Services Australia.

 

Kind regards

 

Colette

Freedom of Information Team

Employment Law and Freedom of Information Branch | Legal Services Division

Services Australia

Email: [1][email address]

 

 

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From: Julie Middleton

Delivered

Dear Department of Human Services,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Department of Human Services's handling of my FOI request 'Compensation recovery errors caused by data-matching'.

I am seeking an internal review because I wish to obtain copies of all documents that were identified. Several pages of the 143 page PDF file are blank: 87-90 and 95-137; i.e 47 blank pages. Only 96 pages of content were provided.

All documents requested are in the public interest.

Access was refused to the following part of my request, on the basis that all reasonable steps have been taken to locate those documents and I you were satisfied they do not exist:

‘3) all audit reports that have identified errors relating to the data-matching programs’.

I do not accept that audit reports would be destroyed.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/c...

Yours faithfully,

Julie Middleton

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From: FOI.LEGAL.TEAM


Attachment LEX 51104 Registration Acknowledgement Letter.pdf
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Dear Ms Middleton

 

Please find attached correspondence in relation to your request, made
under the Freedom of Information Act 1982.

 

Kind regards

 

Freedom of Information Team

Employment Law and Freedom of Information Branch | Legal Services Division

Services Australia

Email: [1][email address]

 

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From: FOI.LEGAL.TEAM


Attachment LEX 51104 Decision Decision letter.pdf
274K Download View as HTML


Dear Ms Middleton

 

Please find attached our internal review decision on your freedom of
information request.

 

Kind regards

 

Kaitlin

Authorised FOI Decision Maker

Employment Law and Freedom of Information Branch | Legal Services Division

Department of Human Services

Email: [1][email address]

 

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