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Rent Assistance Compliance Teams

Within Centrelink there are 7 Rent Assistance Compliance teams. There locations are as follows (the three letter abbreviations are Centrelink codes for these offices):
  • ACE - Queanbeyan (NSW)
  • CPL - Dapto (NSW)
  • GCR - Gold Coast (QLD)
  • CPS - Hurstville (NSW)
  • HRC - Gunnedah (NSW)
  • LKE - Lakemba (NSW)
  • WCU - Hamilton (VIC)
In theory these Rent Assistance Compliance Teams exist for only one reason, to make sure that clients receive only their maximum allowable entitlement (no more/no less) of Rent Assistance. Any excess Rent Assistance payments are raised as debts and recovered. Together these teams recover about $100,000,000.00 annually. The money is deemed to be recovered by a team when they complete a review and either/both of the following two conditions have been met:

A debt is raised where a past error/fraud has been detected and is more than $50.00 (debts smaller than $50.00 are not cost effective to pursue - especially if clients dispute the decision).
Any Centrelink payment is reduced or ceased (money is credited to the team for preventing money being paid out in the future).

Teams are rated on how many reviews they do and how much money they recover. Centrelink assumes that the better the statistics the better the section/manager. This gives managers the opportunity to push the staff in these sections to do more and more reviews to recover more money. The sole purpose of this is to beat the other sections. This way they look like they are great managers even though they could be total psychos.

The average person would think that the bulk of the money recovered by these teams would be the result of deliberate fraud against Centrelink. This would include people who:
  • claim that they do not share with anybody when they actually do.
  • have not disclosed that they are a couple to get paid more from Centrelink.
  • have moved from the premises where they are currently claiming Rent Assistance.
  • are claiming they pay more rent than they actually do to get more Rent Assistance.
  • are receiving Centrelink payments illegally (fake ID's, Identity theft, working and claiming NSA, not declaring assets etc.).
Anyone who thinks this would be wrong. Only a small percentage of the money recovered by any recovery section within Centrelink actually comes from detecting and prosecuting deliberate fraud. The vast bulk of the recovered money actually comes from errors from both staff and clients. These errors occur through:
  • typos by Centrelink staff.
  • clients failing to notify of others sharing property.
  • misinterpretation of legislation by both clients and staff.
  • other actions beyond the control of both Centrelink and Centrelink clients (these are rare).
  • clients changing address and failing to notify Centrelink of new address and rental situation.