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.

8.1.8 Interviews

Reasons for interview

All claimants in certain categories MUST be given a full pre-grant interview, IF:

  • there is a risk of fraud
  • there are complex qualification issues involved
  • there are cultural or language difficulties
  • the claimant wishes to be interviewed, OR
  • the person is aged 15 to 24 and claiming YA as independent (unable to live at home).

All PP new claimants must be advised about the participation support framework for parents and given information about the benefits of economic and social participation and of planning for the future, unless they have received this information within the previous 12 months.

In other cases, it is only necessary to ensure that the claim form has been fully completed, that claimants are advised of their rights and responsibilities, and that all relevant verification has been provided.

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.11.8 Mutual obligation requirements for principal carer parents, Setting job search requirements

Requirements for claimants being interviewed

Claimants are required to bring relevant documents to the interview that will assist with:

  • establishing POI, and
  • verification procedures of their claim details.

Partnered people are normally interviewed together, unless either requests a separate interview, or there is some indication that separate interviews are required.

Requests by claimants that a relative or friend be present during the interview should be met wherever possible.

A home interview can be arranged if claimants:

  • are unable to attend a Services Australia service centre because of sickness or disability, OR
  • live in a rural area sufficiently far from the nearest service centre that they would be greatly inconvenienced.

If there is any risk of an interviewing officer contracting a contagious disease from the claimant, then the interview should be deferred. Relevant information about the claimant should be obtained by telephone or by contacting other responsible people who are aware of the person's condition. Information obtained by telephone should be confirmed as soon as possible in writing.

Interpreters should be used where the claimant and the Centrelink staff member do not have a common language.

Telephone interviews may be appropriate if the claimant is in a rural area and cannot easily attend an office.

Payments/benefits requiring interviews

JSP claimants should be interviewed before being granted JSP.

PA claimants and their partners (1.1.P.85) should be interviewed together by whichever section is dealing with the primary allowance claim.

Explanation: This will be either JSP or a pension section.

Exception: The exception to this is where:

  • the primary allowee has already been interviewed, OR
  • the primary allowee is already receiving a payment, OR
  • one partner requests a separate interview.

Pension PPS claimants should be interviewed before being granted PP and receive participation support information (3.11.8, face-to-face where appropriate.

Benefit PPP claimants should receive participation support information (3.11.8, face-to-face where possible.

YA job seekers should be interviewed and interviews should be arranged for existing YA recipients transferring from full-time study to job search or other activities.

SpB claimants should be interviewed before being granted SpB.

Non-attendance at interview

If a claimant fails to attend an interview the person should be contacted and advised to attend at the next possible opportunity and that failure to do so may result in rejection of their claim.

Act reference: SS(Admin)Act section 64 Effect of failing to comply with requirement to attend Department etc.

Interview documentation

When statements are taken at an interview, appropriate procedures should be followed to ensure that the evidentiary value of the statement is not in any way compromised.

Explanation: The statement must be acceptable as evidence in court.

Act reference: SS(Admin)Act section 63 Requirement to attend Department etc.

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.2.1 JSP - qualification & payability, 3.2.3 YA - qualification & payability, PP reviews

Last reviewed: