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.

7.3.2 Waiver of debts


This section contains information about the circumstances in which the recovery of debts (1.1.D.60) to the Commonwealth may be waived (1.1.W.10).

The recovery of a debt may be waived only under the specific circumstances that are covered in topics in this section.

Date of effect for waiving a debt

A debt waiver takes effect on the day:

  • specified in the decision, or
  • the day the decision is made if there is no date specified.

Act reference: FA(Admin)Act section 96 Power to waive Commonwealth's right to recover debt

Effect of waiver

When a decision has been made to waive a debt or part of a debt, no further recovery action on the waived amount can be taken.

Note: The decision to waive a debt is subject to review. If, upon review, the decision to waive the debt is set aside and substituted with a new decision, the (previously waived) debt may be recoverable.

If Centrelink's intention is to defer the recovery of a debt, the debt must be written-off instead.

Policy reference: FA Guide 7.3.1 Writing-off a debt

Last reviewed: