About

Social Security Rights Victoria Inc is an independent community legal centre which specialises in social security (Centrelink) issues.


Our Philosophy

Social Security Rights Victoria Inc. (SSRV) believes that all individuals are entitled to an adequate income. We also believe that the social security system is not accountable to people on (social security) payments.

We aim to be a critical voice on behalf of people receiving social security payments. SSRV works for change to the system as part of the National Social Security Rights Network (NSSRN) (www.nssrn.org.au) (previously the National Welfare Rights Network).

We believe it is essential that the community and especially people on social security have independent legal services and support. In order to receive maximum entitlements, be aware of their right and advocate effectively for themselves and others.


Phone information and assistance

Social Security Rights Victoria Inc. provides legal information and assistance in relation to social security law that is, issues to do principally with Centrelink.

Our phone advice service operates weekdays (except Melbourne public holidays) between 9.30am and 12.30pm.

Our phone numbers are:
(03) 9481 0355
or
1800 094 164 from outside the Melbourne or Geelong areas.
Note that the Barwon Community Legal Centre provides a ‘welfare rights’ service to those in the Barwon (Geelong) region. Their phone number is (03) 5221 4744.

We provide free independent legal advice about any social security matter including (but not limited to):

  • working out whether a person has a social security payment (despite what others including Centrelink) may have said;
  • deciding which social security payment is the most appropriate for a person;
  • working our payment amounts and benefits;
  • appealing decisions clients feel are wrong or inappropriate;
  • complaining about poor treatment by a Centrelink staff member.

Always seek independent advice. There may be alternative ways of viewing or resolving your social security issues, or information you may have been given may be incorrect. It is important to follow these issues up quickly as there are time limits on appeals

If you do not speak English, ring the Telephone Interpreter Service (TIS) on 13 14 50 and an interpreter will ring SSRV.

Please note Whilst our phone service is overseen by a supervising solicitor, our telephone advisors are para legals with specialised training in social security law, but are not solicitors.

SSRV also provides information via email – click here.


Casework

In some situations SSRV can provide clients with further assistance. This includes the generation of appeal letters and appearances at the Social Security Appeals Tribunal. Such assistance is undertaken if the client meets our legal merit tests and SSRV’s resources allow it.


Community Education

SSRV provides community education speakers for organisations whose staff or service users have an interest in or want information about the social security system. SSRV staff have spoken in the past to University students, TAFE students, Carers’ groups, financial counsellors and other community groups. Please contact SSRV if you would like someone to speak to your organisation.


Publications

SSRV generates its own factsheets and publications as well as contributing to those generated by the National Welfare Rights Network (Inc).