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8.5.1 Overview

8.5.1.1DVA may request Centrelink to recover a DVA debt via deductions from a customer's Centrelink payment.

8.5.1.2A written request to recover a debt should be faxed to the relevant Centrelink Area Recovery Team Contact. This request titled DEBT – Centrelink – first debt notification – DVA Overpayment, may be obtained from the Y: Drive at Y:\97 Templates\IS ROOLS Letter Templates (Non MetaFrame users), or Y:\Application (MetaFrame users).

8.5.1.3A list of the relevant Centrelink Area Recovery Team contacts in your local area may be obtained through the National Office Income Support intranet site.    

8.5.1.4When requesting that an overpayment be recovered, Centrelink should be provided with the following details:

  • debtor's full name, address (home and postal) and date of birth
  • both Centrelink and DVA reference numbers
  • DVA payment type; and
  • total overpayment amount.

8.5.1.5Centrelink then manually raise the debt on their Debt Management Information System (DMIS) and decide on the withholding rate and respond to any queries regarding the rate. As DVA hold information regarding the overpayment it is DVA's responsibility to respond to any queries regarding the account.

8.5.1.6Centrelink will then return the acknowledgment section of the request form providing confirmation to DVA of the deduction rate and the day on which the deductions will commence. This allows DVA to adjust its records to show the anticipated date of recovery. Centrelink should also advise the debtor of the date on which deductions will commence.

8.5.1.7At this stage in the process, the debt should be identified in DMRS as one being recovered by deductions from Centrelink benefits. These details can be recorded in the Other Department Details sub-folder which can be found under the Debt Details folder. Where Centrelink is recovering a debt on DVA's behalf the field: Is DVA the collecting Agency, should be set to 'No'. Other relevant information such as the Agency Client Rego UIN, Agency Name, Reference Number etc. should be recorded.

8.5.1.8A debtor's financial circumstances should only be reviewed annually, (unless the debtor initiates a review in that period), taking into account any CPI increases during that year and the level of withholdings adjusted accordingly by Centrelink.

8.5.1.9Centrelink should advise DVA of the status of each debt quarterly. When DVA advise the relevant Centrelink Recovery Team Contact of amounts they have recovered on Centrelink's behalf, DVA must also send a form with details of any debts Centrelink are recovering on behalf of DVA. Centrelink are to check these debts and document all withholding deductions and return the form to DVA. These reports should be carefully monitored to ensure that the correct amount of withholdings are being applied and to verify the date of full recovery.

8.5.1.10Centrelink should advise DVA when the full amount of the debt has been recovered and payments will increase to the level of full entitlement. DVA should then advise the debtor that deductions from Centrelink payments have ceased and the date that full payment will be restored.

8.5.1.11It is not necessary to remit funds between departments, as all money recovered is part of consolidated revenue. The records of both departments are simply updated to show that recovery action has been finalised.

8.5.1.12If at any time the Centrelink pension or benefits cease while deductions are in force, a broken agency arrangement is created. Centrelink are to reduce the debt amount by the total withholdings received to date and send a manual Report of Recovery (Q557) letter to DVA so that renegotiation can commence with the debtor.