5.1.1.10 Power to Obtain Information

Introduction

An authorised officer (1.1.O.10) may request a person (1.1.P.80) to provide information or documents, which may be required to:

  • establish whether an individual (1.1.I.90) is eligible to be paid FA (1.1.F.02), or
  • calculate the rate (percentage for CCS) to be paid, or
  • establish whether an individual or any other person to whom FA was paid was entitled (1.1.E.30) to the payment.

Example: Information required may include:

  • name and DOB,
  • address,
  • income details,
  • evidence of child's enrolment in, or completion of, courses of study,
  • evidence relating to the child's capacity for study, or
  • evidence of the child's educational qualifications.

Additional information for CCS may include:

  • pay slip,
  • letter from organisation where the individual volunteers.

Act reference: FA(Admin)Act section 7 How to claim, section 154 General power to obtain information

Written notice to request information

A request for information must be by a written notice, which may be given:

  • personally,
  • by post,
  • electronically, or
  • in any other approved manner.

The written notice must specify the following:

  • how the person is to give the information, or produce the document or records to which the request relates,
  • the period within which the person is required to provide the document or records,
  • the contact officer, to whom the information is to be given (if applicable), and
  • that the notice is given under FA(Admin)Act section 158.

The date for providing information must not be less than 14 days after the notice is given (unless a shorter period is specified in the notice).

If the notice requires the person to give information by appearing before a specified officer, the notice must specify the time and place at which the person is to appear, which must be at least 14 days after the notice is given.

Explanation: Providing a written notice to the individual enables Centrelink and the individual to retain and keep records. It also enables Centrelink to make allowances for individuals who reside in remote areas and those whose employment may take them away from their normal address for extended periods such as truck drivers, oil rig workers or carnival employees.

Act reference: FA(Admin)Act section 154 General power to obtain information, section 158(3) Written notice of requirement

Obtaining information from third parties

An authorised officer may require third parties to give information to Centrelink about individuals receiving FA payments. This is to detect cases in which FA was paid to people who were not entitled to the payment and/or to verify the eligibility of people who have made claims for FA.

Explanation: The Commonwealth has an obligation to prevent people who are not eligible or entitled for payment from receiving FA payments. To help with this process Centrelink may require information from other sources such as the ATO and other Australian and overseas government departments, banks and financial institutions in order to determine an individual's entitlement to a payment. Centrelink is limited in the type of information they may request to verify and validate claims.

Act reference: FA(Admin)Act section 157 Obtaining information to verify claims etc., section 157A Obtaining records supporting certificate under section 85CB, section 76 Data-matching Program (Assistance & Tax) Act debts

Last reviewed: 2 July 2018