If you receive an award of compensation and have, following the date of the accident been in receipt of Centrelink benefits, those benefits may be repayable. Indeed the insurer (or person paying the compensation) is required to withhold payment of compensation until Centrelink have issued a notice to them advising as to whether an amount is payable to Centrelink and if so, how much. You may also be prevented from obtaining compensation in the future, known as a preclusion period.
Centrelink previously had a Refund Estimates Service whereby it provided an estimate of the amount of Centrelink benefits repayable depending on the expected amount of compensation to be received, with that estimate being specific to the particular circumstances of the injured person.
As from May 2012 Centrelink decommissioned that service. It means that there are a couple of options:
- The generic online calculator can be used. This, however, does not take into account particular circumstances and cannot be relied on as being accurate. Click here for Centrelink’s online calculator.
- Customers can request payment summaries by registering with online services through either www.centrelink.gov.au or www.humanservices.gov.au.
- Customers can contact the relevant Centrelink Call Centre or Customer Service Centre to request a payment summary.
- Parties such as Lawyers can be nominated at Centrelink to obtain details in relation to their clients.
If you want more information about the effect of the preclusion period you can access the Department of Human Services website and review the publications “Compensation Kit Booklet” and the brochure “Are you receiving or about to receive Compensation”.