Centrelink debt: how did this happen?

Very few people plan to go into debt. Financial debts often creep up over time; sometimes we don’t realise we have a debt until the amount owing is quite large, or the debtor is demanding repayment. 

People with a Centrelink debt often find the situation daunting. They might not know why they have a debt, what’s gone wrong, or what their options are, just that Centrelink are asking them to repay hundreds or thousands of dollars seemingly out of nowhere.

Centrelink debts are accrued when a person is paid more money than they were entitled to. Centrelink are required by law to recover money that has been overpaid. Centrelink does this by ‘raising’ a debt against the person. Centrelink calculates how much the person has been overpaid, and then contacts the person and ask for this to be repaid.

Overpayments can happen for many reasons. You may have been paid too much because:

  • ‍Your payment rate wasn’t calculated correctly. For example, Centrelink might have had wrong information about your income, assets or relationship status.
  • ‍You did not meet the eligibility criteria for the payment you were receiving.
  • ‍Centrelink didn’t have up to date information about changes to your circumstances. For example, this might happen if you don’t tell Centrelink about starting work or changing jobs, or about starting a relationship or moving house.
  • ‍Centrelink made a mistake.‍
  • Another reason.

What now?

If you don’t know why you’ve been overpaid, you can call Centrelink and ask a Centrelink officer to tell you the reason for the debt. Understanding why Centrelink believes they have paid you too much can help you assess your options for challenging or otherwise addressing the debt.

Social Security Debt Help is a website designed to help you understand what might have gone wrong, what your options are, and where you can get help.

Using the Self Help Tool, simply enter into the website some information about your situation, and in response you will be given a kit. This kit will provide you a summary of the options available to you to address your Centrelink debt, and help you identify questions to ask a lawyer, financial counsellor or someone else supporting you through the process.

Social Security Debt Help is aimed at those supporting other people with debts too, whether that be professionals such as lawyers or community workers, or friends and family. The website can help them understand the options the person has, and get them further support if they need it.

At SSRV, we always encourage people to seek legal advice before appealing a Centrelink debt. Social Security Debt Help can help you get more out of that advice, and make sure you’re asking the right questions and receiving correct information.

The new Administrative Review Tribunal 

It’s official: the new Administrative Review Tribunal (ART) is going ahead after it passed the Australian Parliament on 28 May 2024. So what will the new ART look like?

According to the Attorney General’s website, the new ART aims to:

  • be fair and just
  • resolve applications in a timely manner, and with as little formality and expense as is consistent with reaching the correct or preferable decision
  • be accessible and responsive to the diverse needs of parties
  • improve the transparency and quality of government decision making
  • promote public trust and confidence in the ART

Structure of the Tribunal

The original proposed version of the ART removed the two-tier review system for social security matters. Instead, it opted for a single tier and a newly created ‘Guidance and Appeals Panel’ where specific issues or material errors could be referred. However, unlike applying to the General Division of the current Administrative Appeals Tribunal, there was to be no automatic right to have a matter referred to the Guidance and Appeals Panel.  

Following advocacy led by Economic Justice Australia and National Legal Aid, which SSRV contributed to, the new ART design will now retain the two-tier review system for social security matters. 

SSRV considers the continuation of the two-tier review system as critical for access to justice by allowing more informal and efficient resolution of many matters, while retaining a right to further review for those who need it.

Other key aspects of the new ART include a greater merit-based focus in the appointment of members, as well as changes that promote accessibility, fairness and transparency to regain the confidence and trust of the Australian public.

There is still no timeline yet for when the development and implementation will be completed, and until that happens the Administrative Appeals Tribunal continues to operate in it’s current form.

To read more about the changes to expect with the new ART see Overview of draft Administrative Review Tribunal legislation | Attorney-General’s Department (ag.gov.au)

If you or someone you are supporting needs assistance with a Centrelink issue, call our Legal Assistance Line on 03 9481 0355 or Worker Helpline on 03 9481 0655.

Delays in Centrelink processing times – what to do if your payment claim is outstanding for too long

SSRV receives calls every week about delays in Centrelink processing payment claims. Often, the callers are frustrated, worried, and stressed about when a decision is going to be made.

Data recently tabled in Senate Estimates shows that, at 1 May 2024, Centrelink had a backlog of 1,522,706 claims. For the period January to May 2024, Disability Support Pensions claims took an average of 107 days to be processed, Age Pension an average of 84 days and JobSeeker Payment an average of 23 days.

At 1 May 2024, Centrelink had 33,936 DSP claims on hand, and 9,664 of those claims were more than 120 days old.

Awaiting a response on a payment claim can be incredibly stressful, especially for individuals who have no income or are in severe financial hardship.

If you or a client you are supporting are awaiting a response on a Centrelink application, we suggest the following steps. Ultimately, there is no guaranteed way to ensure a quick outcome on a payment claim, but they can help to ensure a payment claim hasn’t been missed or lost, and may assist in obtaining a timely outcome.

1. Follow up your payment claim.

In the first instance, we recommend calling Centrelink or attending their office to speak with an officer about your claim. Ask for the reason for the delay, whether there are any outstanding documents or information which are preventing a decision being made on the claim, and request the claim be finalised as soon as possible.

2. Lodge a complaint with Centrelink.

If Centrelink have not decided upon a claim within 13 weeks, we recommend filing a complaint with Centrelink about the lack of response. This can be done via phone call to 1800 132 468 or online via MyGov or the feedback form. Make clear the resolution you are seeking is a timely decision on the payment application.

3. Contact your local Member of Parliament.

You might consider seeking assistance from your local Member of Parliament. You can find your local MP and their contact details by visiting https://www.aph.gov.au/senators_and_members/members There is no guarantee that your local MP will be able to resolve your issue, however you can call or write to their office and explain your situation and the outcome you are seeking.

4. Submit an Authorised Review Officer (internal review) request.

You can also consider lodging an internal review with Centrelink. If Centrelink has not made a decision on a claim within 13 weeks, this is considered a ‘deemed refusal’. A deemed refusal can be reviewed by an Authorised Review Officer on internal review. You do not have to lodge an internal review if it has been more than 13 weeks since you lodged the claim, you will likely still receive an outcome on the original claim at some point. However, you may wish to lodge an internal review as an alternative method of pursuing an outcome on the original claim.

5. Lodge a complaint with the Commonwealth Ombudsman.

If lodging a complaint with Centrelink did not resolve your issue, you can lodge a further complaint with the Commonwealth Ombudsman. The Ombudsman may investigate your complaint and make recommendations to resolve the issue.

Disability Support Pension

If you are applying for the Disability Support Pension, we recommend also making an application for JobSeeker Payment in the interim. An application for JobSeeker Payment will be processed faster as there are fewer eligibility requirements. In many cases, this will provide some income whilst the Disability Support Pension claim is being finalised.

Financial Counsellor support

If you are having trouble paying bills and are worried about enforcement action, we recommend speaking with a financial counsellor. A financial counsellor may be able to assist you with negotiating with creditors whilst you await an outcome on your Centrelink claim, and consider any relief grants that may be available to you.

We recommend calling the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007. Their financial counsellors provide free and confidential advice from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday to Friday.

Once you receive the decision

The decision you finally receive from Centrelink about your payment claim might not be the outcome you were expecting. You might disagree with the entire decision, or part of the decision. It is important to remember Centrelink decisions can be reviewed – a Centrelink internal review usually needs to be lodged within 13 weeks, except for debts which do not have a time limit.

SSRV is an independent community legal centre; we don’t have access to Centrelink systems. We can, however, talk you through the processes available to resolve your dispute with Centrelink, and give you advice on your rights of review.

Social Security Debt Help: using ground-breaking technology to help the most vulnerable

In December, SSRV launched the Social Security Debt Help online resource located on the SSRV website, and the impact was immediately felt. People who receive a debt notice from Centrelink tell us that it is often unexpected and a source of great anxiety and stress. What we know is that the those who receive a debt notice are often vulnerable and least able to deal with what happens next.

People have been telling us that since its launch, by simply visiting the Social Security Debt Help website, the pathway out of debt and the stress it creates becomes more visible.

Social Security Debt Help helps people with a Centrelink debt, or those supporting someone with one, understand what might have gone wrong, what their options are, and where they can get help.

Using the Self Help Tool, people simply enter into the website some information about their situation, and in response are given a kit, which includes things to think about and questions to ask a lawyer, financial counsellor or someone else supporting them through the process.

It provides them with information that stands them in good stead should they decide to seek help.

While Social Security Debt Help may be a relatively new resource, the project to develop it has actually been underway for a year. The design of Social Security Debt Help leveraged our experience with DSP Help and uses human-centred design and technology to help people understand, respond to and otherwise address Centrelink debts. 

It has been a big piece of work, and it’s so rewarding for everyone who worked on developing the project to see it helping so many.

What next?

Social Security Debt Help has been designed to be a live project. In the second year of the project, we will continue to use a human-centred design process to better understand our clients, colleagues and other stakeholders, and how best to further improve and develop the resource.

Last year we made people with debts themselves the focus, while also consulting with community workers and other stakeholders for breadth of experience. This year we’ll have a similar focus, but we are anticipating our tools may be further developed with the needs of financial counsellors and other support workers in mind. 

If you’re working with clients who have Centrelink debts and would like to feed your experience into these tools, please get in touch:  info@ssrv.org.au

Social Security Debt Help is supported by funding from the Victorian Legal Services Board and Commissioner under the Victorian Legal Services Board Grants Program. 

Change is coming… The new Administrative Review Tribunal 

For many, the current system of appealing a Centrelink decision to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal can be intimidating and stressful. New reforms are aimed at changing that. 

Over the last financial year, Centrelink made decisions about the social security and family assistance entitlements of millions of Australians. For the many Australians engaging with the social security system at a vulnerable time in their lives, accessing their full entitlements can be the difference between entering homelessness or not or leaving a family violence relationship or not. 

Nearly all Centrelink decisions on social security and family assistance entitlements can be appealed and for all of them, the appeal process is the same. The most appealed decisions include rejection of a claim for payment, cancellation of a payment, and Centrelink debts. 

Appealing a Centrelink decision is free, and begins with requesting an internal review by Centrelink, which is also known as an Authorised Review Officer review. If this is unsuccessful, you can apply for an external review by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). Time limits apply and vary according to the type of decision being reviewed. 

The AAT has jurisdiction to review decisions made under 400 Commonwealth Acts and legislative instruments. These include migration and refugee, taxation, NDIS, Freedom of Information, and passports. In 2022 – 2023, social security and family assistance law decisions were the second most common decisions appealed to the AAT, and in 26 per cent of these cases, the AAT varied the decision made by Centrelink.  

This highlights how the appeal process, and particularly an external review, is critical to accurate decision making, the effective administration of the social security system, and protecting the rights of vulnerable community members. However, many of our clients find the external review process through the AAT to be overwhelming, confusing, intimidating and highly stressful, especially if they don’t have assistance from an advocate or legal representative. 

In October 2021, the Commonwealth Senate established an inquiry into the performance and integrity of Australia’s administrative review system. The review highlighted concerns about the current operation and function of the AAT. Of particular importance to the inquiry was the issue of public confidence in the AAT’s decision making.  

The inquiry’s report stated that “[the AAT] has not been functioning in the fair, just, economical, informal and quick way that the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975 provides it should.” 

It found that “review after review has outlined how the AAT needs to enact significant reforms to its functions and processes, and importantly to its member selection processes, to no avail. Something is fundamentally broken in the way the AAT currently operates.” 

The review ultimately recommended the AAT be disassembled and a new merits review system be developed to achieve the goals. 

The Commonwealth Government has now adopted this recommendation and announced the AAT will be abolished and a new Administrative Review Tribunal (ART) established. The ART is still in development with the exact model yet to be finalised. As such, there is currently no timeline for when it will commence, and the AAT continues to operate.  

Until then, if you need to appeal a Centrelink decision, you can still lodge a review request with the AAT. If the matter has not been reviewed by the AAT at the time the ART commences it will automatically transfer across to the new Tribunal system. 

Here at SSRV, we welcome reforms to the external review system that enhance access to justice for our most vulnerable community members. Social security and family assistance law is inherently technical and complex.  

We also believe that increasing access to independent and specialist legal advice forms a key part of any reform to ensure the objectives of the review are achieved and we have an administrative review system that operates as intended. 

Compensation Payments and Centrelink

Did You Know Compensation Preclusion Periods can only be reduced by the Secretary in ‘unusual, unforeseen or exceptional circumstances’?

Maybe your client has been injured in a car accident and has been unable to work since; perhaps they’ve experienced a workplace accident. There are many reasons why someone might receive lump sum compensation and if they do, it’s important that they understand how this is going to impact their Centrelink payments.

It is quite common for us to receive phone calls from financial counsellors who are supporting clients who have had a compensation preclusion period (CPP) implemented after receiving a lump sum compensation payment. A CPP means that you are precluded from receiving Centrelink for a period of time into the future, due to the compensation for economic loss that you have received. Typically, this would be a lump sum compensation payment from WorkCover, the TAC or in some instances, income protection insurance.

If an individual has ‘unusual, unforeseen or exceptional circumstances’, they may be able to have the length of the CPP reduced. However, this is a high bar and it can be challenging to get a successful outcome.

SSRV sees many clients who are in very difficult circumstances and are seeking reduction of their CPP. Whilst SSRV has helped clients reduce their CPP, the issue of how the individual spent their compensation money will be carefully considered by Centrelink and the Tribunal. It cannot be relied upon that the CPP will be reduced once the money is spent. 

SSRV endeavours to will focus on this area over the coming months and to raise awareness about compensation payments and Centrelink preclusion periods. We believe it is crucially important that people who receive a compensation lump sum receive financial advice at the outset, to assist them to understand how to make their lump sum last for their preclusion period and make sound financial decisions. 

Below is an example of a matter that SSRV has run recently where a CPP was successfully reduced due to the ‘special circumstances’ that the individual experienced. This matter highlights and reiterates that to be successful in getting a CPP reduced the individual must be experiencing ‘unusual, unforeseen or exceptional circumstances.’

Fiona’s Story

Fiona had a workplace accident and received lump sum compensation from Work Cover. Centrelink then cut off her payments and raised a CPP. Fiona was married, and her spouse perpetrated severe family violence towards her. Her husband unexpectedly became very ill and required medical treatment. He coerced Fiona to spend a large amount of her compensation money towards his medical treatment, rent and living expenses by threatening to harm or kill her if she refused. 

Fiona quickly found her compensation money had run out entirely, and was unable to return to Centrelink payments due to the CPP. Fiona lived in government housing and fell into rental arrears as she had no money to pay rent, her housing provider issued a notice to vacate and she faced homelessness. SSRV assisted Fiona at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal to have her CPP reduced, and to return to payments.

Disasters and Social Security Issues in Regional Victoria

Caption: SSRV staff Mark Morand and Aylin Yigit with staff from Hume Riverina Community Legal Service.

As a specialist community legal centre with a state-wide remit, part of SSRV’s role is to provide Community Legal Education (CLE) and professional development on social security legal issues to the public, lawyers, financial counsellors and other community professionals, including in collaboration with Victoria’s network of around 50 Community Legal Centres.

At SSRV we know that people living in disaster-affected areas of Victoria are experiencing social security legal issues caused or exacerbated by bushfires, floods, storms and the pandemic.

In the context of the increasing frequency and severity of climate-related disasters in Victoria, over the past few months, SSRV staff have visited three community legal centres in disaster-affected regional areas, to provide CLE/professional development that included a focus on disaster-related social security legal issues.

In February, SSRV community lawyers, Liz Divers and Aylin Yigit, travelled to Morwell to meet with and provide training to lawyers, financial counsellors and other professionals from the Gippsland Community Legal Service. Areas of Gippsland have been affected by both bushfires and floods over the past several years.

In March, Aylin and project worker Mark Morand travelled to Mildura to meet with and provide professional development to workers from the Mallee Family Care. In recent years Mildura has been impacted by flooding, including riverine flooding from the Murray River. Before delivering their presentation, they had the opportunity to be driven to sites where the river had breached its banks, which improved their understanding of the devastation that occurred.

Also in March, Mark and Aylin travelled to Wodonga to meet with and provide professional development to workers from the Hume Riverina Community Legal Service. From Wodonga, they travelled to Corryong and to Mount Beauty where there was the opportunity to provide CLE directly to the public. This area of Victoria has also been affected by both bushfires and floods in recent years – in fact, our previous planned visit to Wodonga was prevented by the devastating floods of October 2022.

The wonderful collaboration between SSRV and community legal centres is crucial to our ability to deliver support to communities impacted by disasters.

What we wanted workers to know

  • SSRV receives project funding that supports it to prioritise providing legal assistance services to people living in disaster-affected areas who are experiencing social security/Centrelink problems.
  • Both our legal needs analysis and our case work provide us with a deep understanding of the relationship between disasters and subsequent social security issues.
  • The types of social security problems that may arise when people are affected by disasters, from things as simple as a change in living arrangements after a home is damaged or destroyed by disaster to more complex matters.
  • Relevant legislation and initial legal advice and assistance that could be provided.
  • The SSRV Worker Help Line is a great resource for workers who are assisting their client with a social security legal issue,  including when disaster has struck

What we wanted the public to know

  • Their disaster-preparedness kit should include copies of identification documents, for Centrelink and other purposes
  • It’s very important to update Centrelink if your home is affected by disaster – leaving your principal home, changes to your living arrangements and childcare arrangements, changes to your ability to meet mutual obligations can all impact your social security entitlements. Centrelink debts can be incurred if Centrelink is not updated about your circumstances.
  • SSRV provides legal information, advice and assistance to people affected by disasters, including about appeal rights and processes

During our recent regional visits, SSRV workers also shared information about the recommendations for law reform that we have made directly to government that would make social security law and administration more attuned to the circumstances of disaster-affected people.

Our trauma informed approach

When raising the topic of disasters and social security in the course of our presentations, we were mindful that our audiences had potentially been directly impacted by disasters – which turned out to be the case. In discussing this important topic, we found that people were understanding of our broad finding – that social security law intersects poorly with the real-life consequences of disasters on people’s lives – and happy to hear that we have been able to raise this issue directly with senior departmental officers and relevant ministers in advocating for change.

During these visits, questions asked by lawyers and other community professionals centred on clarifying more complex aspects of the law, such as the treatment of debts, and the medical eligibility requirements for the Disability Support Pension.

The public, on the other hand, were more interested in asking about fundamental elements of eligibility for payments such as the Age Pension, and the complexities around Centrelink’s assets and income tests. 

The trips to regional Victoria were very worthwhile for everyone involved and we received very positive feedback about the value of the visits.

While we were there…

In Mildura we also took the opportunity to conduct a group interview with seven workers to support a research project by Economic Justice Australia (EJA) studying the barriers to social security experienced by women in regional, rural and remote areas. We gathered a large amount of information which we provided to EJA for their research. For us, of particular interest were the challenges faced by women experiencing family violence in relatively in small communities where a lack of anonymity, among other things, adds an extra dimension of difficulty to their experiences. We look forward to reading the results of the research project.

Main image: SSRV staff Mark Morand and Aylin Yigit with Allie Collyer from Mallee Family Care Community Legal Centre.

Social Security Debt Help in practice

In the last few issues of SSRV News, we’ve introduced Social Security Debt Help, a new free resource to help you understand Centrelink debts. This month, we’re taking a look at how people are using this great online resource.

People with a Centrelink debt often find the situation daunting. They might not know why they have a debt, what’s gone wrong, or what their options are, just that Centrelink are asking them to repay thousands of dollars seemingly out of nowhere.

In many cases the issue is very simple. A person might have misreported their income, providing Centrelink with the “net” amount (the amount that actually goes into their bank account) rather than the “gross” amount, which includes tax that was taken out.

Social Security Debt Help is designed to help that person understand what might have gone wrong, what their options are, and where they can get help.

Using the Self Help Tool, they simply enter into the website some information about their situation, and in response are given a kit, which includes things to think about and questions to ask a lawyer, financial counsellor or someone else supporting them through the process.

It provides them with information that stands them in good stead should they decide to seek help.

In this instance, the person issued the debt would likely understand that they have probably have been overpaid. They would also know that as it was an honest mistake they may still be able to have the debt waived if their situation amounts to special circumstances.

For someone escaping family violence, being told they also now owe Centrelink money can be crushing. But there are options and help available. Understanding what they are can turn a cold referral for support into a well informed and effective referral, where SSRV or another specialist can help in a targeted and effective way.

Social Security Debt Help is aimed at those supporting other people with debts too, whether that be professionals such as lawyers or community workers, or friends and family. The website can help them understand the options the person has, and get them further support if they need it.

Social Security Debt Help is available right now, and we’d love for you to check it out if you or someone you know has a debt. We always encourage people to seek legal advice before appealing a debt. Social Security Debt Help can help you get more out of that advice, and make sure you’re asking the right questions and receiving correct information.

Expansion of Parenting Payment Single eligibility: what happens now?

September 20, 2023 was a big day for many single parents, with the eligibility for Parenting Payment Single (PPS) being extended to until the youngest child turns 14. At the time, we explained how the transition onto PPS was expected to happen. Six months down the track, we’ve got an update.

The PPS eligibility increase followed a prolonged campaign from community groups, including SSRV, concerned that being moved onto the lower rate of JobSeeker Payment once the youngest child turned eight was contributing to families experiencing poverty. 

Many of our clients had reported that this drop in income has caused them financial stress and made it challenging to balance work and family responsibilities.

Single mother advocacy groups also argued that single mothers are not unemployed, they are performing unpaid work.

Transitioning from JobSeeker Payment to Parenting Payment Single

On 20 September 2023, eligibility for PPS was expanded to Centrelink clients whose youngest child is under 14 years. If you, or the person you are supporting, were on JobSeeker Payment but entitled to PPS on that date you should have automatically been transferred.

Even if you had been transferred from PPS to the JobSeeker Payment due to your youngest child turning eight years old before 20 September 2023, the transfer back to PPS should have occurred with no action required by you.

Six months on from the changes to PPS, it’s worth checking that this happened as it should have.

It’s important to note, if you were on the JobSeeker Payment on that date but suspended for any reason, you needed to address the issue causing the suspension and then lodge an application for PPS.

Find more detail here.

Our recommendation

Centrelink payments, eligibility, and the use of technology can be complicated. It is likely that some people expected the transfer to occur automatically, but this did not happen for them.

If you, or your client, expected an automatic transfer from the Jobseeker Payment to PPS in September 2023, we recommend checking your Centrelink payments and MyGov account to ensure the transfer did occur correctly, and pick up any issues that may have arisen.

If you experienced issues with the automatic transfer which have not yet resolved, we recommend you speak with a Centrelink officer to discuss what prevented the transfer and what is required to fix the issue.

SSRV can assist if you, or your client, experienced issues with the PPS transfer that you are unable to resolve quickly with Centrelink.

SSRV is an independent community legal centre; we don’t have access to Centrelink systems. We can, however, talk you through the processes available to resolve your dispute with Centrelink, and give you advice on your rights of review.

Is red tape preventing women from accessing the Escaping Violence Payment?

New data has revealed that almost half of people trying to access a social security payment designed to assist those escaping family violence are being rejected. This has led to concerns about what can be done to address this issue. 

The escaping violence payment (EVP) is a social security payment introduced in 2021 to offer financial assistance to help families set up a home free of violence. Under the scheme, survivors of family violence can access up to $1,500 in cash and up to $3,500 in goods and services, such as removalists, to help them leave a violent home.

Last month, though, the Guardian reported that data to Senate Estimates revealed that around half of people trying to access EVP are having their claims rejected. Between July and September 2023, 57,041 applications were made for the EVP, but only 29,437 were deemed eligible.

This data has raised concerns that applying for EVP is too difficult and the payment is not reaching the women who need it most.

“The most common reasons are because the eligibility criteria were not met, the service provider was unable to recontact the applicant or the applicant otherwise determined not to proceed with the application,” a spokesperson for the Department of Social Services said in a statement.

While “the applicant otherwise determined not to proceed with the application” sounds like a simple mind change, at SSRV, we know that there are many reasons why women fail to proceed with applications, and it’s rarely a change of mind.

Failure to proceed with an application is often a direct result of a difficult and complicated application process that many women, especially those dealing with the multiple and terrible issues arising from family violence, do not have the capacity to deal with.

According to the Guardian, a recent review into the process of applying for the EVP found there were difficulties in establishing eligibility for the payment because people did not have the right supporting documentation, such as a police or doctor’s report.

Some clients struggled to demonstrate financial hardship because they did not have a bank account in their name.

There are also concerns that the eligibility criteria for the EVP may be too limiting. It cannot be accessed by people experiencing other forms of family violence, such as elder abuse, visa holders and people who have left a violent relationship more than 12 weeks ago.

SSRV believe that, while there has been significant improvement in how social security law treats people escaping family violence, more needs to be done to ensure that the social security system is able to be accessed by people at the moment they need it the most.

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