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1.5.3 Why we recover overpayments

1.5.3.1It is the responsibility of Australian Government agencies to ensure that recipients of pensions or benefits receive only the payments to which they are entitled. Overpayments occur when an amount of pension or benefit is paid that is greater than the legal entitlement.

1.5.3.2The Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 requires DVA to deal with Commonwealth revenue in an efficient, effective and ethical manner. The Repatriation Commission is not subject to this act and its powers to recover overpayments come expressly from the VEA. However, the principles in the FMA Act are relevant to the manner in which overpayment recovery should be pursued. The VEA requires the Commission to pursue all relevant debts owed to the Commonwealth unless the debts are not legally recoverable or the Commission considers that it would not be economical to pursue recovery of them.    

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Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997

http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Series/C2004A05251

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1.5.3.3Where an amount of VEA pension, allowance or benefit is paid to a person and the person was not legally entitled to receive it, the amount is a debt due to the Commonwealth, and is legally recoverable by the Commission under section 205 VEA.

1.5.3.4Recovery of overpayments occur to ensure that welfare recipients receive the correct rate of payment, and to ensure that misdirected funds are redirected to those persons who are genuinely entitled to receive those funds under the legislation.