This video story provides legal information about dealing with Centrelink.
It is the part of a series of videos about the law for people who have recently arrived in Australia.
Centrelink Student Kit - 210KB PDF File (2 pages).
Centrelink Teacher Kit - 188KB PDF File (2 pages).
Transcript of Video
Win-Aung has recently married and moved in with his wife, Sanda. He has rung Centrelink to advise the change in his circumstances.
Win-Aung: Centrelink? Hi this is Win-Aung Kunoo. I just got married and I’m now living with my wife.
Centrelink worker: Thanks for telling us. Your Newstart payments may change. Please write down this receipt number and keep it in a safe place.
Next Centrelink payment day.
Win-Aung: Hey, we’re still getting the same money.
Sanda: Must be OK because you called them.
At Win-Aung's place of employment, a grocers.
Boss: Hey mate, can you work extra hours tomorrow?
Win-Aung: Sure. I have to put in my Centrelink form first - can you tell me how many hours I wilI work? I have to tell them how much money I get each fortnight.
Boss: Not sure - probably around four hours.
Win-Aung: OK, see you tomorrow.
Win-Aung goes home and completes his Centrelink forms showing he is to work for 4 hours the following day.
At the end of the next day Win-Aung returns home from work.
Sanda: That was a long day!
Win-Aung: Yeah, they needed me for nine hours - not four! I’m tired.
Six months later.
Win-Aung at work: I really like this job, and we get cheap fruit and veggies.
Some time later Win-Aung receives a letter from Centrelink.
Win-Aung: They say I owe them $2,000.
Sanda: That’s not right.
Win-Aung: I don’t understand this letter.
Win-Aung telephones Centrelink.
Centrelink worker: You owe Centrelink money. Centrelink checked with the Tax Office and you earned more money than you declared on your forms. Also, you didn’t tell us you were married so you have been overpaid on Newstart.
Win-Aung: But I did tell Centrelink I was married. It’s your mistake... and each week my hours change, so I never know how much I’ll be paid.
Centrelink worker: It’s your responsibility to give us the correct information Mr Kunoo.
Win-Aung talks with his wife, Sanda.
Sanda: Maybe you should call legal aid? I know they help with legal problems.
Win-Aung telephones Legal Aid for advice.
Win-Aung: Can you help me with a Centrelink problem?
Legal Aid worker: I’ll give you the number of a free legal service that helps with Centrelink problems.
Win-Aung goes to see a lawyer.
Lawyer: You have been overpaid because you did not tell Centrelink about all your income from work.
Win-Aung: But I never know how much I will be paid!
Lawyer: We can ask Centrelink to change your pay date so that you put your forms in after you get paid.
Win-Aung: And they said I didn’t tell them I was married. I did tell them.
Lawyer: Do you have a receipt number for the phone call?
Win-Aung: Yes, here it is. Lucky I kept it.
Lawyer: What did you tell them? Did you know you were being overpaid?
Win-Aung: I told them I got married and moved in with my wife. I thought they must be paying me the right amount.
Lawyer: I will talk to Centrelink about whether they can cancel part of the debt.
Win-Aung: Thanks for your help.
Lawyer: No worries. It’s my job to help people with Centrelink problems.
A few weeks later.
Lawyer telephones Win-Aung: I’ve got good news. Centrelink has agreed to reduce the debt to $600. Can you afford to pay $20 a week?
Win-Aung: That’s fantastic! Thank you.