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12.4.2 Exchange of Information with Centrelink/Department of Human Services
Certificate of Disclosure
Under the provisions of section 208(1)(b) of the Social Security (Administration) Act 1999, the Secretary of the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs may disclose information to the Secretary of another Department of the Commonwealth or the head of an authority of the Commonwealth. The specific information authorised for disclosure to each Commonwealth Department and Authority is prescribed in a document called a Certificate of Disclosure.
Information contained in Certificate
The Certificate of Disclosure specifies:
- purposes for which information can be released to DVA;
- individual items of information able to be disclosed by Centrelink to DVA for each purpose; and
- the classification level of Centrelink staff authorised to disclose that information.
Only specified information can be released
The Certificate of Disclosure is very specific. Only the information specified in the Certificate of Disclosure may be disclosed. There is no discretion to release information not specified.
DVA requests for information
When requesting the supply of information, a section 128 VEA notice signed by a DVA officer with the relevant delegation must be forwarded to Centrelink. The request must state:
- what information is required;
- the purpose for which the information is required; and
- which clause of the Certificate of Disclosure allows the release of the information.
Situations where information can be released to DVA
Under the terms of paragraph 11 of the current Certificate of Disclosure (dated 8 August 1999), information can be disclosed to DVA to:
- enable DVA to calculate or determine a payment:
- where a person and/or their partner is transferring between a Social Security payment and a payment made by DVA; or
- where a DVA client's partner receives a Social Security payment;
- enable DVA to determine a claim or undertake a review under the VEA;
- enable the checking of discrepant cases detected by data-matching undertaken under the provisions of the Data-matching Programme (Assistance and Tax) Act 1990;
- detect or prevent dual payments;
- facilitate adjustments under section 205AA VEA;
- assist in an investigation, prosecution or possible investigation or prosecution under the VEA or the Crimes Act 1914; and
- assist in the recovery of a debt within the following specific circumstances:
- to determine the most suitable method of recovery of a DVA pension or allowance and to calculate the formula rate of deductions from a Centrelink payment;
- to assist in the recovery of an overpayment of DVA pension or allowance by deductions from a Social Security payment as authorised in the Social Security Act 1991;
- when deductions under the Social Security Act 1991 cease and there is an outstanding balance of the debt and Centrelink information may assist in locating and contacting the debtor to negotiate continuing repayments;
- when deductions cannot commence because the customer is not in receipt of a Social Security payment but was previously in receipt of such payment, and Centrelink information may assist in locating and contacting the debtor to negotiate repayment of a DVA debt; or
- to assist in the recovery of an overpayment of a Centrelink payment by deductions from a payment made by DVA.
The Department of Veterans' Affairs.
Centrelink is a Government service delivery agency responsible for delivering a range of Commonwealth Government services (including social security pensions and allowances) to the Australian community through a network of more than 400 Centrelink offices.
Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986.