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.

1.1.D.40 Debt


This definition applies to all payments.


A person is said to have a debt to the Commonwealth if a person owes monies to the Commonwealth due to the application of:

  • SSAct Part 5.2 - Amounts recoverable under this Act
  • SSAct section 1135 - Effect of participation in pension loans scheme-creation of debt
  • SS(Admin)Act Part 3B Division 8 - Debt recovery etc. and Part 3D - Cashless welfare arrangements
  • overpayments under certain other Acts or schemes
  • debts incurred under other Acts for failing to repay part or all of overpayments referred to in the previous point
  • Data-matching Program (Assistance and Tax) Act 1990 subsection 11(6)
  • an international social security agreement (1.1.A.120)
  • AoS (1.1.A.310) provisions.

Not all debts are recoverable, nor is action always taken to ensure repayment of recoverable debts. SSAct Chapter 5 and SS Guide Part 6 should be consulted in all cases.

Act reference: SSAct Part 5.1 Effect of Chapter, Part 5.2 Amounts recoverable under this Act

Policy reference: SS Guide 6.3 Assessing overpayments, 6.7.1 Amounts recoverable under the SSAct

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