Elder abuse and Centrelink

This month marked World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. SSRV receives requests for support from older people who are experiencing misuse of power and trust in relation to their social security payments. Often this misuse of power is in regard to Centrelink nominee arrangements.

Centrelink Nominees

Centrelink has a process to allow a recipient to formally nominate an individual to act as their nominee. Different types of nominee arrangements are available through Centrelink, and generally a nominee can be authorised to receive information, enquire, update and/or act on the behalf of the Centrelink recipient in relation to their Centrelink payments. While this process can help those who aren’t able to manage their Centrelink arrangements themselves, misuse of this process can lead to financial abuse.

SSRV has seen instances where nominees have used their nominee appointment to change payment details and arrangements, diverting the payment away from the recipient and into their own bank account. This can result in the recipient facing severe financial hardship, facing eviction and unable to pay for basic necessities. 

These are often complicated circumstances and SSRV has assisted the recipient to navigate the process of removing the nominee arrangements and restoring the payment arrangements.

Aged Care Specialist Officers are available through Centrelink and can assist individuals living in aged care services with their Centrelink payments. This can be a useful contact in circumstances where a person is experiencing elder abuse in regards to their Centrelink payments. Further information can be found here.

Further resources

The elder abuse resources published by Seniors Rights Victoria offer helpful advice and guidance to for affected people, their loved ones and professionals.

Anyone considering appointing a nominee for Centrelink or wishing to add or cancel a nomination can link to Centrelink’s information here.

Opportunity for reform

We believe Centrelink has a role to play in ensuring nominees are acting only in the best interests of an older person when accessing an older person’s Centrelink account.

There is opportunity for law and policy reform to include further checkpoints to ensure nominee processes are used only in the best interests of the recipient. For example, requirement of a written declaration when making significant changes to a recipient’s payment, such as specifying a new bank account or cancelling Centrepay arrangements, could provide further pathways for legal consequences.

Social Security Rights Victoria can assist clients and workers with advice and information on how to navigate the complexities of elder abuse in relation to Centrelink payments. Find out more here.

Skip to content