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10.4 Lump sum arrears of incapacity payments and recovery of VEA/Centrelink/internal debt

Last amended 
18 February 2019

Some arrears of incapacity payments will involve recoveries in respect of pensions paid by Centrelink under the Social Security Act 1991 (SSA) or under the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA) or an internal debt recovery. Taxation should be withheld from the payment before processing any recoveries.

10.4.1 VEA recoveries

For arrears payments involving recovery of a VEA pension, taxation is applied before the amount of VEA pension is deducted.  However, where the incapacity payment is tax exempt then no taxation is applied to the gross amount.  Delegates should note that this is based on new advice from the ATO and should be applied to incapacity payments made after 1 July 2010.

10.4.2 Centrelink recoveries

For arrears payments involving recovery of a Centrelink payment, taxation is applied before the amount of pension is deducted.

If there is insufficient funds after taxation is withheld, the amount of VEA recovery should be processed first.  The remainder should be allocated to the Centrelink recovery, with any outstanding debt, being a debt to Centrelink for Centrelink to recover.

10.4.3 Internal debts

An internal debt may be a debt to the Department of previously overpaid compensation. Taxation should be withheld before any debt is recovered. 

Example 1 – Recovery from lump sum arrears

A person is entitled to arrears of incapacity of $85,000.  However that person has already received $20,000 from Centrelink and $15,000 under the VEA.

The whole amount of $85,000 is subject to PAYG Withholding.  The arrears relates to entitlements over three financial years.  The amount of taxation calculated is $16,000.  The payment is processed as follows:

Gross Amount = $85,000

Less Tax to be withheld = $16,000

Less VEA recovery = $15,000

Less Centrelink recovery = $20,000

Net arrears payment = $34,000

10.4.4 CSC Recoveries

If a person has an overpayment as a result of receiving incapacity payments and having an entitlement to superannuation for the same period, the overpaid incapacity amount can be recovered from the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation (CSC). For further information on CSC recoveries see Incapacity Policy Manual Chapter 9.2 Reducing incapacity payments by superannuation and 2.2.10 Procedural Guidelines for Recovering Overpayment of compensation payments under the DRCA and MRCA.