Independent Social Security Handbook
ONLINE EDITION now available “free”*
The ONLINE EDITION of the Independent Social Security Handbook is now available “free”* for all non-government and government human services workers across Tasmania. Through a partnership with the Welfare Rights Centre (WRC Sydney) and, the Department of Health and Human Services has agreed to provide access for all Government and Community workers to this important resource.
What is the Independent Social Security Handbook?
In Tasmania, over 150,000 people receive a pension or benefits through Centrelink, and a further 80,000 families receive Family Tax Benefit (FTB) through Centrelink. The Independent Social Security Handbook is produced primarily for community workers so that they can help their clients with their Social Security and Centrelink problems. The Handbook contains 47 chapters and provides information on all of the major Social Security payments as well as information about issues such as people’s legal rights and
appeal rights (see below for a list of chapters).
The ONLINE EDITION of the Handbook is fully updated every three months to take into account all the latest changes to Social Security law and policy and their administration by Centrelink. u How can my organisation access the ONLINE EDITION of the Handbook?
Simply go to the Welfare Rights website, click on Independent Social Security Handbook on the home page and follow the registration process. If there are other people in your workplace who will also use the ONLINE EDITION they should follow the same process.
You will have to supply a username and password of your choice to gain access to the “Independent
Social Security Handbook”, so choose and record carefully as you will need these whenever you access the Handbook.
u Why use the ONLINE EDITION of the Handbook?
If you are a community worker your job will probably require you to know a bit about Social Security and its administration. You will probably have clients who have had adverse decisions made about their Social Security payment by Centrelink.
To help them you will need some information about Social Security provisions and Centrelink procedures. All the information you need is included in the ONLINE EDITION of the Handbook. If you need to know about the appeals system, or how to get information under Freedom of Information (FOI) provisions, or if your client has had their Social Security payment reduced or cancelled because of a breach, then the ONLINE EDITION contains all the information and relevant appeal forms for you to help them. And of course, if you can’t fix the problem or require further advice, don’t hesitate to contact the Welfare Rights worker at the Hobart Community Legal Centre (Ph: 6223 2500) or at the Launceston Community Legal Centre (Ph: 6334 1577).
*Funded by the Tasmania Government Department of Health and Human Services and provided free for all Government and community workers in Tasmania.
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The Independent Social Security Handbook
Part I: An introduction to handling Social Security problems ; Chapter 1 How to use this Handbook 1
; Chapter 2 Centrelink and the departments (DFaCS, DEST and DEWR) - who does what 7
; Chapter 3 Helping clients, talking to Centrelink and starting appeals 21 ; Chapter 4 Claiming, receiving and losing payments 37 ; Chapter 5 Getting files and information from Centrelink 51 ; Chapter 6 Giving information to Centrelink 67
Part II: Claiming and getting paid
; Chapter 7 Proof of Identity 81
; Chapter 8 Waiting periods: why can’t I get paid now? 89
; Chapter 9 Payments by Centrelink - to bank accounts, by cheque or EBT 103 ; Chapter 10 Urgent and advance payments 109
Part III: ABSTUDY
; Chapter 11 ABSTUDY 123
Part IV: Unemployment
; Chapter 12 Payments for people seeking work: Newstart Allowance & Youth Allowance 147
; Chapter 13 The “activity test” 179
; Chapter 14 The “Job Network” and its services 223
; Chapter 15 Breaches and penalties 245
Part V: Couples & separation, children and youth ; Chapter 16 Payments to young people 267
; Chapter 17 Who is a “member of a couple” or “Youth Allowance couple”? 293
; Chapter 18 Parenting Payment for single and partnered parents 313 ; Chapter 19 Family payments 331
; Chapter 20 Maintenance and child support 359
; Chapter 21 Widow Allowance 377
Part VI: Illness, injury and compensation
; Chapter 22 Payments for people who are ill, injured or have a disability 381 ; Chapter 23 Sickness payments 389
; Chapter 24 Disability Support Pension 401
; Chapter 25 Payments for carers 417
; Chapter 26 Compensation and Social Security payments 431 Part VII: Special Benefit
; Chapter 27 Special Benefit 453
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Part VIII: Payments for those over 55
; Chapter 28 Age Pension 479
; Chapter 29 Abolished payments for older unemployed people 487
Part IX: Other payments
; Chapter 30 Concession cards, loans and extra allowances 493
; Chapter 31 Other payments 503
Part X: Income and assets test
; Chapter 32 Income tests: what is income? 523
; Chapter 33 Income tests: changes to income 545
; Chapter 34 Assets tests 563
Part XI: Debts and prosecutions
; Chapter 35 Debts 585
; Chapter 36 Prosecutions 615
Part XII: Residence, migrants and overseas payments
; Chapter 37 Residential qualification 627
; Chapter 38 Newly arrived residents and Assurances of Support 637
; Chapter 39 Australian payments overseas 649
; Chapter 40 Payments by other countries 665
; Chapter 41 Social Security Agreements with other countries 671
Part XIII: Challenging decisions
; Chapter 42 Claims for payment from Centrelink not covered by appeals 679
; Chapter 43 Internal review: Authorised Review Officers 685
; Chapter 44 External appeals: the Social Security Appeals Tribunal 695
; Chapter 45 External appeals: the Administrative Appeals Tribunal 715
; Chapter 46 External appeals: the Federal and High Courts 731
; Chapter 47 Complaining to the Commonwealth Ombudsman 735
Please note: This factsheet contains general information available at the time of printing. It does not constitute legal advice. If you seek legal advice about your Social Security entitlement, please contact your local Welfare Rights Centre service.
Welfare Rights Centres are community legal centres, which specialise in Social Security law, administration and policy. They are entirely independent of Centrelink. All assistance is free. November 2004.
Disclaimer: Access to this website is being provided by the Department of Health and Human Services for the purpose of disseminating social security information free of charge for the benefit of clients of Tasmanian Government agencies and community organisations. This website is not a substitute for independent professional advice. The Department of Health and Human Services does not accept any liability for any loss or damage incurred by use of or reliance on the information provided on this site.
Before relying on the information on this site, users should carefully evaluate its accuracy, currency, completeness and relevance for their purposes, and should obtain any appropriate professional advice relevant to their particular circumstances.
The Department of Health and Human Services cannot guarantee and assumes no legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, currency or completeness of the information on this site. - 3 -