5.5.2.1The information gathering powers relating to a service pension or income support supplement recipient or a recipient of benefits under Division 12 VEA are contained in section 54 VEA through to section 54C VEA. Section 128 VEA provides the Department with the authority to obtain information from non-pensioner sources (such as 3rd parties, banks, employers, etc.) Prior to 1 July 1991, these powers were contained in section 127 VEA and section 128 VEA.

5.5.2.2When requesting information from either a third party or a pensioner it is important to be aware of the pensioner's right to privacy (refer to this manual's Section 10.3 Information Privacy Principles in Chapter 10 Freedom of Information and Privacy). It is also important to remember to keep questions relevant to the overpayment.

5.5.2.3It should also be noted that section 128 VEA should not be used to request information from a person who is suspected of fraud, as this information can not be used later in any criminal prosecution.

5.5.2.4Section 128 VEA may not be used to request information from an Australian Government agency specified under Schedule 3 of the Freedom of Information Act 1982, as the agency must comply with the secrecy provisions contained within their Act. Agencies include Centrelink and the ATO (refer to notes on table 7).