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. Debts arising from false identity


The social security legislation prohibits false statements and makes provision for offences and penalties, see SS(Admin)Act Part 6, Divisions 2 and 3 (sections 212 to 219). SSAct section 1223 specifies that a debt to the Commonwealth is incurred when a payment 'was made as a result of a contravention of the social security law, a false statement or a misrepresentation'.

However, there may be cases where a person's entitlement to a payment is not affected by provision of a false statement of identity. It is necessary to consider whether the payment was made as a result of a false statement or a misrepresentation, that is whether the person was entitled to the social security payment regardless of the provision of such a false statement (see also

The general rule is that where a person has provided false information that has no effect on their qualification for the payment, or payability, their entitlement to the payment is not affected.

Act reference: SSAct section 1223 Debts arising from lack of qualification, overpayment etc.

SS(Admin)Act Part 6 Division 2 Offences, Part 6 Division 3 Penalties

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