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B30/1992 DISCLOSURE OF PERSONAL INFORMATION BY THE DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SECURITY TO THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS' AFFAIRS
DATE OF ISSUE: 30 JUNE 1992
DISCLOSURE OF PERSONAL INFORMATION BY THE DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SECURITY TO THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS' AFFAIRS
The purpose of this Instruction is to advise of personal information that the Department of Social Security will disclose to the Department of Veterans' Affairs.
2.On 16 April 1992, the Department of Social Security issued an instrument under paragraph 1314(1)(b) of the Social Security Act. This instrument replaces the previous instrument which was issued on 5 December 1990 and referred to at paragraphs 45-46 of DI B23/91.
3.The new instrument has expanded the scope of information which the Department of Social Security can now disclose to the Department of Veterans' Affairs.
4. The range of information now available is:
(i)information which may assist in the recovery of a debt from Social Security payments (in this regard the information which can be disclosed is:
.confirmation that a debtor is a Social Security client; and, if so, the rate and period of withholdings and amounts recovered; if withholdings cannot be made, the reasons for this);
(ii)treating doctor's reports and Commonwealth Medical Officer/Senior Medical Officer (CMO/SMO) reports concerning a person's eligibility for Disability Support Pension to enable DVA to determine a claim under the VEA if the disclosure would substantially assist the person;
(iii)information to enable the checking of discrepant cases detected by data-matching undertaken under the provisions of the Data-matching Program (Assistance and Tax) Act 1990;
(iv)information to enable the calculation of a payment by DVA where a person is transferring to or from a payment under the Social Security Act, to or from a payment by DVA (in this regard information that can be disclosed is:
period of payment;
(v)information to enable the determination of a payment by DVA where the person has or had a spouse, and the spouse has or had a payment under the Social Security Act, or where the spouse has or had a payment from DVA (in this regard information about the spouse that can be disclosed is:
period of payment;
rate components); and
(vi)information to detect or prevent dual payments (in this regard information that can be disclosed is:
period of payment;
(NB: information identified through data-matching must comply with paragraph 4(iii) exclusively)
5. DVA officers should recognise that DSS officers cannot disclose any client information unless they are satisfied that the following criteria have been met:
(a)that the information being sought about a person was obtained in the administration of the Social Security Act;
(b)that the information is to be disclosed by the DSS Secretary to the Secretary of the Department of Veterans' Affairs; and
(c)at least one of the following five categories has also been met:
(i)that the person about whom information is being sought, is reasonably likely to have been aware, or made aware, that information of that kind is usually passed to the Department of Veterans' Affairs; or
(ii)that the person concerned has consented to the disclosure; or
(iii)that the Department of Social Security believes on reasonable grounds that the disclosure is necessary to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to the life or health of the person concerned or of another person; or
(iv)that the disclosure of information sought is required or authorised by law; or
(v)that the disclosure of information sought is reasonably necessary for the enforcement of law imposing pecuniary penalties, or for the protection of public monies.
Authorised DSS Officers to Disclose Information
6. The paragraph 1314(1)(b) instrument identifies DSS officers who are authorised to disclose the specified information to DVA. The classifications and locations of these officers are in respect of each type of information outlined in sub-paragraphs (i) to (vi) at paragraph 4 of this instruction. Accordingly, personal information in regard to:
(a)sub-paragraph 4(i) can only be disclosed by Control, Review & Recovery (CR&R) staff in Area Offices or ASO 3 and above in Regional Offices;
(b)sub-paragraph 4(ii) can only be disclosed by ASO 3 and above in Regional Offices;
(c)sub-paragraph 4(iii) can only be disclosed by those officers who are involved in implementing the Data-matching Program through the examination of discrepant cases;
(d)sub-paragraph 4(iv) can only be disclosed by ASO 3 and above in Pensions and Newstart Sections in Regional Offices;
(e)sub-paragraph 4(v) can only be disclosed by ASO 3 and above in Regional Offices; and
(f)sub-paragraph 4(vi) can only be disclosed by ASO 3 and above in Regional Offices and CR&R staff in Area Offices.
Section 128 VEA or s.30 SWP&AA Notices
7. As already stressed in DI B23/91 "Guidelines for Obtaining Information from Individuals and Organisations including other Departments or Agencies" all requests to DSS for personal information should take the form of a s.128 VEA or s.30 SWP&AA notice, whichever is relevant. It should be noted that these notices must be signed by an officer with the relevant delegation.
8. This Instruction should be read in conjunction with DI B23/91. Guidelines specified in that instruction apply to the entire range of personal information which has been outlined in this Instruction and which may be sought from DSS.
9. If there are any enquiries about this Instruction, please contact Warwick Moloney on (06) 2896355 or Mushtaq Butt on (06) 2896739.
Planning and Management Branch