6.3.9 Confirming employment income
As a part of a regular compliance program, Services Australia undertakes activities to identify incorrect payments, adjust payments or recover money owed where required.
As part of this process Services Australia matches data with the ATO and other government agencies.
Letters may be sent to a recipient (former or current) where a potential discrepancy is identified between the income details provided by the ATO and the details the recipient reported to Services Australia.
The recipient may be required to check, and confirm or update, the employment information. This may include employer details, dates worked and income for each fortnight.
The Services Australia website provides detailed information regarding confirming or updating employment details. A phone number is also provided for those who require help.
Employment income evidence
Any employment income that a recipient and/or their partner are paid may affect the rate of payment.
The recipient may be required to obtain and provide Services Australia with further documentation to confirm or update any employment details, such as:
- employer reports
- separation certificates
- group certificate or payment summary
- bank statements for the account or accounts the employer pays the income into - noting bank statements can be accessed through the financial institution for up to 7 years.
In circumstances where income is identified and it is considered not to be employment income, such as income protection payments or compensation, the recipient may be required to obtain and provide Services Australia with further documentation to confirm or update the details. This may include:
- a copy of compensation claim
- a statement from payer regarding income protection payments
- a statement from each superannuation policy.
Services Australia may consider requests from the recipient for additional time and/or the provision of alternative documentation, to provide the required income information.
Where a recipient advises Services Australia that they cannot obtain the required information due to exceptional circumstances, Services Australia should make an assessment as to whether to use the information gathering power under SS(Admin)Act section 192 to obtain the required information directly from third parties, such as banks, financial institutions and employers.
When assessing whether exceptional circumstances exist, Services Australia should review each case on its own merits, taking the following factors into consideration:
- Whether the recipient has made genuine and reasonable attempts to obtain the required information. For example, the recipient has been unable to obtain the required information because the third party no longer operates, has been uncontactable, or is being uncooperative.
- Whether the cost of obtaining the required information themselves would cause financial hardship to the recipient.
- The nature of the relationship between the recipient and the employer. For example, there was a conflict or breakdown in the employer-employee relationship.
- Whether it would be unreasonable to expect the recipient to obtain the information themselves given the nature of their particular vulnerabilities. Vulnerabilities to be considered include, but are not limited to
- disability or illness
- homelessness (or risk of)
- personal crisis, for example, bereavement, recent trauma, family or domestic violence or other issues causing severe emotional distress
- language and/or literacy issues
- geographically or socially isolated, for example remote Indigenous.
- Other special circumstances considered unusual or exceptional. For example, records were destroyed in a fire, or where the person says they did not work for that employer (e.g. mistaken identity).