The Guides to Social Policy Law is a collection of publications designed to assist decision makers administering social policy law. The information contained in this publication is intended only as a guide to relevant legislation/policy. The information is accurate as at the date listed at the bottom of the page, but may be subject to change. To discuss individual circumstances please contact Services Australia. Correspondence nominees

Mail directed to a third person

A 'correspondence nominee' is appointed by the Secretary to receive mail from Centrelink on behalf of the individual and is nominated to assist the individual in their dealings with Centrelink, including fulfilling reporting obligations.

Full consideration should be given to the individual circumstances of the individual to ensure that a nominee arrangement is the correct arrangement for the individual.

To appoint a nominee the relevant form for appointing a nominee should be completed. The nominee is required to indicate their acceptance of appointment and their obligations under social security law via written consent. Letters of the appointment are to be sent to both the individual and the nominee.

Act reference: FA(Admin)Act section 219TD Provisions relating to appointments

Policy reference: FA Guide Responsibilities of nominees

Individual's capability to consent

Whenever there is any question of the individual's capability to consent to the appointment of a nominee or any concerns as to an existing arrangement, the delegate must investigate the situation further. Where the individual is deemed incapable of providing consent the delegate must obtain documentary evidence to support any decision to appoint a nominee.

There may be times where an individual is not capable, for example due to an intellectual/physical constraint, of consenting to the appointment of a nominee. In these cases, a delegate may appoint a nominee on behalf of the individual with attention to supporting evidence and where the delegate is fully satisfied that the nominee is required and will act in the individual's best interests. The decision made by the delegate to appoint a nominee in these circumstances must be fully documented.

Where an individual has a psychiatric disability, a nominee can be appointed in these instances where there is a court-appointed arrangement such as a Guardianship Order provided by the Mental Health Tribunal.

Evidence of individual's incapability

To decide whether an individual is incapable of consenting to the appointment of a nominee, a delegate must have sufficient evidence.

Examples of what may contribute to evidence may be:

  • reliable medical evidence on file, or
  • recent certification by a medical practitioner, or
  • reliable documentation or order officially appointing a guardian or administrator, such as a Public Trustee or Guardianship Board, or
  • some other authoritative source, such as a social work report.

Other arrangements

There are some instances where the appointment of a nominee may not be the most appropriate option to meet the best interests of the individual.

When responding to a third party requesting information regarding the individual's payments, it may be more appropriate to consider the release of information under implied consent arrangements rather than by appointing a nominee.

Example: A person has a short-term incapability and someone needs to make contact to obtain information on their behalf, such as a hospital social worker rings up the local Centrelink social worker on behalf of a comatose individual to find out the individual's payment details.

Act reference: FA(Admin)Act section 168(1) Disclosure of information by Secretary

Privacy Act 1988 section 14 Australian Privacy Principles, Schedule 1 clause 6 Australian Privacy Principle 6-use or disclosure of personal information

Policy reference: Australian Privacy Principles guidelines

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