You are here

No. 8 MRCA Clearances with Centrelink and Repatriation Commission and Deducting Debt's from MRCA Arrears


Subject: MRCA Clearances with Centrelink and Repatriation Commission and Deducting Debt's from MRCA Arrears


The purpose of this revised instruction is to provide delegates of the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission (MRCC) with policy advice regarding clearances with Centrelink and the Repatriation Commission.


A Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA) claimant may have eligibility for both MRCA compensation payments and social security payments under the Social Security Act 1991 (SSA) or income support payments under the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA). It is therefore possible for a MRCA client to receive a social security payment or an income support payment for the same period as they are entitled to a MRCA payment.  An overpayment of the social security or income support payment will result if the MRCA payment received is required to be held in the assessment of the social security or income support payment, or if it is not possible to receive the MRCA payment for the same period as a social security payment or income support payment.

If it is likely that a MRCA client has been receiving a Centrelink payment, it is desirable to take action to ensure that the claimant does not incur a debt as a result of receiving the MRCA compensation payment. The same applies if Centrelink requests information about such payments.  However, the Privacy Act 1988 (the Privacy Act) prohibits the exchange of information about private individuals between Government departments, unless another piece of legislation authorises the transfer of information or an exception to the Privacy Act applies.

Clearances under the VEA

Currently, DVA manually exchanges data with Centrelink concerning VEA clients when they are granted VEA pensions or when the amount of those pensions varies.  Similarly, VEA Compensation advises Income Support when war widow pensions are granted.  As a result, overpayments of social security or income support payments are avoided.

Subsection 130(2) of the VEA gives DVA the power to provide information to Centrelink concerning those receiving VEA pensions. MRCA does not contain an equivalent provision to that contained in ss 130(2) of the VEA which enables the disclosure of information obtained in the course of administering that Act.

Clearances under the MRCA

The nearest equivalent to ss 130(2) of the VEA in the MRCA is s 409 which allows the disclosure of information by the MRCC to certain persons or organisations for certain purposes as per the table set out in ss 409(2). Previously, section 409 did not allow the MRCC to disclose information about MRCA claimants to Centrelink or to DVA Income Support.  However, a regulation commencing on 16 December 2006 now authorises the MRCC to disclose information about a MRCA claimant to Centrelink where that information is required for the purposes of administering the social security law.

Attached is a list of MCRA payments indicating which MRCA payments may affect a MRCA client's Centrelink payment and where relevant, the specific circumstances in which those payments are relevant to Centrelink payments .  Where the list indicates that information relating to a particular payment is not required for the purpose of the social security law, that information must not be disclosed. Disclosure of such information without the client's permission would be a breach of the Privacy Act.

A link to the regulation follows:$file/MilitaryRehabComp2004.doc

Procedure for clearances – VEA Income Support

The new regulation does not address the issue of providing MRCA information to DVA Income Support.  However, given that the payment of compensation under the MRCA might lead to a person incurring a debt to the Commonwealth under the VEA, the provision of that information to DVA Income Support falls within the exception created in Information Privacy Principle (IPP) 11(1)(e).  This principle relates to disclosure which is reasonably necessary to protect the public revenue.

IPP 11(2) requires that, where information is disclosed on the basis of protecting the public revenue, a note of that disclosure must be made on the relevant person's file.

This means that, in any instance where MRCA payment information is passed on to DVA Income Support, a note to that effect needs to be placed on the relevant person's file.


The following words are suggested for a disclosure note pursuant to IPP 11(2):

Note for file

On [state the date], the following documents containing Mr/Ms [claimant's] personal information were disclosed by [name of officer who authorised disclosure] to [name of agency or person to whom disclosure was made] under IPP11.1(e) of the Privacy Act 1988 for the purpose of [state the specific purpose of disclosure]:

[list the documents that were disclosed]

Signed:  [name of officer]                 Date:

Procedure for clearances - Centrelink

Now that there is a regulation authorising disclosure of MRCA information to Centrelink, it is no longer necessary  to attach an IPP 11(2) disclosure note to a clients file. However, a record should still be made, on the client's file, of any information provided to Centrelink.

Deducting other debts from MRCA compensation

There is no provision in the MRCA which allows the MRCC to reduce the amount of compensation arrears owing to a claimant under the MRCA by the amount of any debt to the Commonwealth which the claimant might owe under the Social Security Act (SSA) or the VEA.  The only exception to this is s 425 of the MRCA in relation to notices received pursuant to the recovery provisions of the SSA.

Therefore, it is not open to a delegate to deduct the amount of any social security or income support debt from compensation arrears owing to a MRCA claimant unless the appropriate recovery provisions in the social security legislation have been invoked in relation to that claimant.

Example of this is where a compensation recovery notice under s 1184 of the SSA or a Garnishee notice under s 1233 of the SSA is given to DVA by Centrelink stating that they intend to recover an amount specified in the notice.

If delegates receive recovery notices other than these under another piece of legislation they should refer the matter to the Military Compensation Section.

Note that s 425 of the MRCA does not include amounts payable under the VEA.  Therefore, a debt under the VEA cannot be set- off against a MRCA compensation payment.

Deducting other debts from MRCA compensation (continued)

Nothing in s 425 prevents a Centrelink or DVA Income Support debt from being set-off against the claimant's MRCA compensation payment if the claimant provides clear authority for the MRCC to do so.  Therefore, if delegates are aware that the claimant will incur a debt from Centrelink or DVA Income Support as a result of receiving a MRCA compensation payment, they should seek express and written permission for this debt to be set-off against the claimant's MRCA compensation payment.  Once clear authority has been obtained, the delegate can proceed to advise Centrelink or DVA Income Support that the debt has been recovered on their behalf, by deducting the amount from the MRCA compensation payable on CADET.


Any queries concerning this instruction should be addressed to Brenda Franklin on extension 16426.

Authorised by

Mark Johnson

National Manager

Compensation Policy

January 2007


Provision of information re MCRA payments for purpose of Social Security Law

MRCA Payment

MRCA Act Ref

Required for social security law


Permanent Impairment

S68 and 71


Permanent Impairment Commutation


Interim Compensation Commutation




Interim Compensation



Special Rate Disability Pension (SRDP)



Incapacity payments

S85, 86, 87


Incapacity payment redemption



Wholly Dependant Partner (WDP)



Wholly Dependant Partner Additional Death Benefit



Eligible Young Person Lump Sum

S 251

Yes, where lump sum paid to EYP, but not where paid to an adult on behalf of EYP

Eligible Young Person (EYP)



Other Dependant Compensation



Pharmaceutical Allowance



Telephone Allowance





Motor Vehicle Assistance



Education Scheme



Bereavement Payments - EYPs


Yes, but only where paid to EYP, not where paid to adult on behalf of EYP

Household Services


Yes, but only where the client is being reimbursed

Attendant Care Services



PI Additional Payment for Eligible Young Persons




Chapter 6

Yes, but only where the client is being reimbursed.

Alteration of aids and appliances relating to rehabilitation

Ch 3 Pt 3