Departmental Instruction

DATE OF ISSUE: 2 September 1991



1.1The purpose of this instruction is to:

.advise of the implementation of Phase II of the TFN Collection System;

.outline the additional procedures required for new grants and interstate transfers; and

.provide additional information about suspensions and cancellations that will result from the data collection.

1.2Phase II allows for the following processes:

.Add, change and delete a TFN;

.Add, change and delete an exemption; and

.case withdrawal (for use by the TFN collection team only).


2.1Add TFN (TN.AN)

The ADD TFN screen will primarily be used for new grants of DP or SP (where no current payment record exists) and interstate transfers in.  Also for the period of the data collection exercise the TFN Team will use ADD TFN when TFNs are volunteered.

Each time a TFN is added the TFN Network will perform a validation routine to determine whether it is a valid TFN.  If a TFN is invalid the examiner will be given two options, to either amend the number as required or to enter the invalid number (if that is the number provided by the pensioner).  The latter will only be available for the period of data collection.  Examiners processing new grants are not to use this option as the SUBMISSION screen will edit when an invalid number is recorded.

Invalid TFNs are being accepted for current pension recipients because they will be picked up as a discrepant case when data matching is conducted.  However, the department will not commence paying a new grant of pension to a veteran, spouse and/or dependant when they have provided an invalid TFN.

2.2Change TFN (TN.CN)

This screen will be used to change TFNs and like the ADD TFN screen it will also perform the validation routine.  The screen will not allow a TFN to be changed to an invalid number.

The correct password must be entered for the change to be accepted.

2.3Delete TFN (TN.DN)

A TFN will be deleted when a case has had all payments terminated including:

.death cases;

.interstate transfers out;


When the DELETE TFN screen is accessed the TFN will be displayed (see interstate transfers).

The correct password must be entered for the deletion to be accepted and a message will be displayed confirming that the TFN has been deleted.

There is always the possibility that a TFN will be incorrectly deleted.  If a TFN is accidently deleted, a request for a report that provides the deleted TFN must be made to Systems in Central Office (you will be advised of the formal procedures when they are available).


The following is a list of the exemption categories that will be displayed when accessing the exemption screens:

.Over 80s;

.Disadvantaged pensioner;

.Awaiting TFN from ATO;


.Compensation only, spouse non payees; and

.Not covered by legislation.

Awaiting TFN from ATO' has been classed as an exemption for the purpose of recording it as a case that does not require a TFN (for new grants).

The Secretary's power to request a TFN (Sub-section 128A(2&3) of the VEA) has been delegated to the Deputy Commissioners, who therefore also have the power to exempt those requested from the requirement to provide a TFN in line with the guideleines.

At this stage the exemptions and subsequent guidelines have yet to be finalised and approved by the Secretary.  Further details will be provided on the exemption categories as soon as possible.

2.5Add an Exemption (TN.AE)

Adding an exemption negates the need for a TFN to be recorded for payment of pension to continue or commence.  When the ADD EXEMPTION screen is accessed the above exemption list will be displayed and the examiner is to select the relevant exemption category.

2.6Change Exemption (TN.CE)

This screen will be used to change an exemption category and the correct password must be entered for the change to be accepted.

2.7Delete Exemption (TN.DE)

An exemption will be deleted when a pensioner is no longer exempt or when payment is terminated (see Delete TFN).

If an exemption is deleted a TFN should be recorded, if not a warning message will be displayed (TFN not recorded).  Once the TFN data collection exercise is complete the system will edit if an exemption is deleted and a TFN is not recorded.

The correct password must be entered for the deletion to be accepted and a message will be displayed confirming that the exemption has been deleted.

2.8Withdrawal (TN.CW)

This screen will only be used by the TFN Data Collection Team to withdraw TFN collection cases.

The following are valid reasons for a CMS case withdrawal:

.Cancelled - client refused;

.Cancelled - whereabouts unknown;

.Cancelled - no response;

.Cancelled - interstate transfer;

.Client deceased;

.Not in payment;


It is necessary to have the above withdrawal categories to provide accurate reports and in the future the Department may wish to investigate certain pensioners who did not provide a TFN.



3.1The VEA and the SWP&A Act requires that a TFN must be supplied for payment to commence.  Therefore in line with previous advice, from 12/8/91 (implementation of Phase II) all applications for a service, disability or war widows pension, where the applicant does not currently receive a payment of any sort, must provide a TFN for payment to commence.  A TFN Information sheet (Attachment A) and a TFN registration form (Attachment B) must now be included with application forms.  Stocks of these forms can be obtained from the TFN Contact Officer in each Branch Office.

3.2Obviously, procedures for supplying and receiving application forms must be changed to accommodate the above requirement.  Branch Office staff may consider asking applicants whether they currently receive a pension from the department (of any type) and if not advise them of the requirement to provide a TFN.

3.3Phase II includes a change to the SUBMISSION screen that will only affect new grants.  In order for a new grant of service, disability or war widows pensions to be accepted a TFN or exemption must be entered.

3.4To facilitate a smooth transition to Phase II there is a five week period of grace that will allow new grants to be processed without a TFN or exemption, however TFNs or exemptions can still be added.  From 16/9/91 all new grants will require a TFN or exemption to be added in order to be finalised.

3.5Awaiting TFN from ATO

If an applicant does not know their TFN they can complete the Application/Enquiry form authorising the Department to obtain their TFN from ATO.  These forms will be available on request and will be referred to in the Information sheet enclosed with the application form.

Examiners must ensure that both questions 1 and 15 are signed and that at least questions 2-7 are completed.  They are then to complete and sign the 'DVA use only' box at the bottom of the first page before sending the form to ATO.  If these directions are not followed ATO will not process the form.  The ADD EXEMPTION screen (TN.AE) is to be accessed and 'Awaiting TFN from ATO' is to be selected.

As we expect Branch Offices to handle few completed Application/Enquiry forms, we suggest that these be sent to the central TFN Data Collection team for forwarding to the relevant ATO Regional Office.

It is expected that the vast majority of new claimants will know their TFN and that the Application/Enquiry form will not have a high usage.  Therefore Application/Enquiry forms are not to be sent to applicants unless requested (the Information sheet outlines what should be done if the applicant does not know their TFN).  Stocks of the Application/ Enquiry form have been sent to each Branch Office.

Prior to the first mailout of TFN request letters, Question and Answer sheets were sent to all Branch Offices.  These will be of some use to service pension new claims examiners and disability pension examiners when receiving enquiries about TFNs.


The following procedures must now be followed in all cases .

4.1Branch Office

Transfers Out

An 'Interstate Transfer Out - Check-list' (Attachment C) must be completed when conducting a transfer out.  The purpose of this check-list is to help examiners to ensure that they record all relevant TFN information before it is deleted (once a TFN is deleted there is not a 'quick fix' available).

The answers to the questions asked by the check-list are provided by the PERSONAL DETAILS screen (IQ.PD).  An example of this screen is at Attachment D.

The IQ.PD screen will provide the following information:

.TFN collected;

.TFN requested;

.Exempt (the exemption category will be displayed);

If the TFN status is blank a TFN has not been requested.

Has a TFN been requested?

If IQ.PD indicates that the TFN has been requested it means that the data collection process has not been finalised.  The transfer out State must then contact the TFN Data Collection team, located in the NSW Branch Office, by facsimile and provide the following details:


.file number (include the State prefix);

.new address;

.new Branch Office; and

.the date of effect of the transfer.

Has a TFN been recorded?

If a TFN has been recorded, access the DELETE TFN screen (TN.DN), print the screen and then delete the TFN.  The TN.DN screen displays the TFN of the pensioner, therefore printing the screen will provide a temporary hard copy of the TFN for the transfer in State.  The print-out is to be placed in an envelope which is then stapled to the inside cover of the pension file.  Under no circumstances is the printout or a record of the TFN to be placed on file.

Has an exemption been recorded?

If an exemption has been recorded the category will be displayed.  Examiners are to record the category on the check-list as required.

Once the three questions have been completed, sign and date the form and place it on the top of the pension file.  The check-list must still be completed if the TFN status is blank as the transfer in state must know the status of the case.

Transfers In

The Interstate Transfer Out - TFN Check-list will indicate what action is required by the transfer in State.

If all three questions have been answered 'no', no action is required.

Has the TFN been requested?

If yes, contact the TFN Data Collection team by facsimile and provide the following details:


.old file number (include state prefix);

.new file number (include state prefix).

Has the TFN been recorded?

If yes, remove envelope from file and record the TFN using the TN.AN screen and then destroy the printout of the TFN.  Under no circumstances is the printout to be placed on the file.

Has an exemption been recorded?

If yes, record the relevant exemption using the TN.AE screen.  If unsure of the exemption category a decision should be recorded on file.


When a Transfer In case is submitted using PIPs the following message will be displayed: "Has TFN action been completed?" The purpose of this message is to help examiners ensure that they have completed the required TFN action.

4.2The TFN Data Collection Team

When the TFN Data Collection Team is advised that a pensioner, who is being data collected, is transferring interstate they will withdraw the case using the TN.CW screen and select the Cancelled - interstate transfer attribute.  Once advised of the case's new file number by the transfer in state, the TFN team will request a 'Batch Update' from Central Office that will put the case into 'TFN requested' stage.  The TFN Team can then update the case as required.


5.1The Departmental Instruction B32/91 briefly referred to suspensions and cancellations that will result from the TFN Data Collection.  The following outlines the procedures that are to be followed.


After receiving a request letter, a pensioner may refuse to provide their TFN.  The TFN team will record on the TFN Collection Network that the pension is to be suspended and then forward the case to the relevant Branch Office (through the TFN Contact Officer), instructing the Branch to suspend pension.

On receipt of the case, the Branch must immediately suspend the pension and forward an advice letter (Attachment E) to the pensioner.  This letter has been cleared by Legal Branch.

The advice gives the pensioner a further 14 days to provide their TFN.  Once 14 days have elapsed cancellation action should commence.  When a pension is cancelled an advice letter must be sent and the TFN Team must be notified so the TFN action can be finalised.

5.3Whereabouts Unknown (returned to sender/unclaimed)

The TFN Team will also forward details of pensioners whose whereabouts are unknown.  For these cases, usual Branch Office investigation prior to suspension will apply.

When a pension is suspended the Branch Office must advise the TFN Team so they can put the case into 'Suspend' stage.  If no contact has been made after at least six weeks, cancellation action should commence.

5.4No Response

After receiving a request letter, the pensioner may not respond within the required 28 days.  In this situation the TFN Team will send a second request letter giving the pensioner a further 14 days in which to provide their TFN.  The second request letter explains that if they do not do so within that time, their pension will be suspended (Attachment F).

Pensioners who do not respond to the second request will have their cases sent to the Branch Offices, and the Branch Office should put these cases into "Suspend" stage.  As with whereabouts unknown cases, cancellation action should commence after 6 weeks and the TFN Team should be advised when it does.  Branch Offices should advise the pensioner at the last known address, of the suspended/cancelled payment (use Attachment E as a guide)


6.1Attributes are as follows:

330TFN Collection - any pension action that results from the data collection;

335TFN Data Matching - any pension action that results from data matching.

DIA Classification Type 870.

6.2These attributes must be used for reporting purposes.


7.1The required details should be sent by facsimile to:

TFN Team Leader

3rd Floor

NSW Branch Office

fax number (02) 281 2083

phone number (02) 213 37337

For further information please contact John Fely, on phone number (06) 289 6437.

Felicity Barr

A/g National Program Director