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Rent Assistance Legislation

It may come as a surprise to you to know that there are ways that the average Centrelink client can easily and legally change their living/renting arrangements so they are assessed as a non-sharer instead of as a sharer. It must be stressed at this point that the Rent Assistance legislation and Centrelinks' Policy (interpretation of the legislation) actually states how these particular situations are to be treated. They are not loopholes. The problem is that although it is perfectly legal (and financially better) for Centrelink clients to change their situation to take advantage of the legislation Centrelink does not normally explain how. There are three probable reasons for this:
  • Call center and counter staff advising clients about their Rent Assistance rights may not be fully aware of all of the specific legislation and therefore not be able to properly advise clients of their full rights and responsibilities.
  • Staff that are fully knowledgeable of the Rent Assistance legislation may be actively discouraged (by management or others) from informing clients how to change their situation. I know of one manager who informed staff members not to disclose this information to Rent Assistance clients as staff were there to "protect Centrelink".
  • To ensure that the Rent Assistance Compliance Teams keep recovering as much money as possible.
Even though properly explaining all of the appropriate Rent Assistance legislation to clients would reduce both the error rate and the workload from the number of resulting reviews. It would also mean Rent Assistance Compliance Teams across Australia (and therefore Centrelink) would recover considerably less money than they do now (and probably closure of a few of them).

Assessing clients as sharers means that clients are limited to getting a maximum of $60.00-$70.00 per fortnight. Assessing clients as non-sharers means that clients can get a maximum of $90.00-$100.00 per fortnight. Assessing each person as a sharer (that could alter their situation to be assessed as a non-sharer) saves Centrelink between $30.00-$40.00 per fortnight. Or between $780.00-$1040.00 per client per year. Now, I would like to give Centrelink the benefit of the doubt at this point and say that this is simple oversight (instead of a way to saving lots of money), and have decided to "help" them out.

All Centrelink clients should have all appropriate legislation that applies to them comprehensively explained in such a way that they fully should understand their rights and responsibilities. So, as a courtesy to all Centrelink clients (and to help out both Centrelink and the Federal Government) I have decided to provide all of the information needed by any centrelink client to have their Rent Assistance assessed as a Non-Sharer. If you are interested in this please go to the Introduction page.