06 November 2014
The case of Lind and SDSS (2014) AATA 680 demonstrates the difficulty an applicant faces when trying to establish the existence of ‘special circumstances’ to obtain relief from a preclusion period preventing access to social welfare benefits.
While the policy direction of Part 3.14 of the Social Security Act 1991 (Cth) may be a sensible one, i.e. to prevent double dipping, the legislation goes too far and has the capacity to produce surprisingly harsh outcomes, particularly for vulnerable clients inexperienced in managing a lump sum.
Solicitors should advise clients who have received a lump sum compensation payout that the current legislation will impose a preclusion period, the extent of the period, and that it can apply prospectively and retrospectively.