- I1. Identity Fraud - Improving and Increasing the Number of Investigations
- I2. Parenting Payment - Enhanced Profiling Capacity to Ensure Correct Payment
- I3. Compliance reviews - Expand Data-Matching and Asset Reviews to Identify Incorrect Payments
- I4. Compliance reviews - Extend 2002-03 Data-Matching Pilot
- I5. Research into Emerging Areas of Risks to the Social Security System
- I6. Disability Support Pensions - Enhanced Reviews
- I7. Youth and Student Assistance - Restructured Reviews
- I8. Notification Arrangements for People Departing Australia and Consistent Treatment of Foreign Debt Recovery
I1. Identity fraud - Improving and Increasing the Number of Investigations
1 January 2004 and ongoing
The Government will implement additional strategies to minimise identity fraud. Detection of suspected identity fraud cases will be undertaken by increasing use of external and internal data sources.
The Australian Federal Police will investigate the more complex cases of identity fraud, while the Director of Public Prosecutions will prosecute all fraudulent cases.
The measure will result in 1,200 additional investigations in 2003-04 increasing to 3,000 by 2006-07.
Identity fraud is committed when a person knowingly gives false identity information to receive a social security payment. In common with other Government and non-government bodies, Centrelink is experiencing a growth in the number and sophistication of identity fraud cases.
Total Government Funding: Net save of $60.1 million over four years
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I2. Parenting Payment - Enhanced Profiling Capacity to Ensure Correct Payment
1 July 2003 and ongoing.
Face to face reviews will be undertaken for 27,000 Parenting Payment customers whose characteristics indicate that they are at risk of being incorrectly paid as a result of not declaring changes in their circumstances.
Strengthened reporting arrangements, via profiling of customers at risk of failing to declare changes in circumstances were announced in 2001-02 Budget. The measure builds on these arrangements.
Profiling identifies customers who are likely to be at risk of receiving incorrect payment or not achieving program outcomes, including economic and social participation. Profiling enables Centrelink to focus their efforts on those customers identified as high risk.
Total Government Funding: Net save of $29.4 million over four years
I3. Compliance reviews - Expand Data-Matching and Asset Reviews to Identify Incorrect Payments
1 July 2003 and ongoing - expand data-matching reviews.
1 January 2004 and ongoing - age pension asset valuation reviews.
Centrelink's data matching activities will be expanded to take advantage of newly available data sources such as income reported against Australian Business Numbers, Pay As You Go Payment Summaries from the Australian Taxation Office and Job Network placements in casual employment. To maximize the benefits of the changes, some legislative amendments will be made that will allow Centrelink access to data in accordance with the privacy principles. As a result, there will be a further 125,000 additional reviews each year.
There will also be an extension of the risk profiling capability for the Age Pension program to review arrangements for customers at risk of failing to declare changes in their real estate holdings. The extension will result in an additional 20,000 customer contacts per year.
Departmental research shows that undisclosed income and assets remain the main reason for incorrect payment. Most undisclosed earnings are detected by the extensive data matching arrangements that are currently in place. Research shows that the department's compliance activities can be further improved through using newly available data sources. The use of this data will detect incorrect payments that would not be detected under existing arrangements.
Total Government Funding: Net save of $241.2 million over four years
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I4. Compliance Reviews - Extend 2002-03 Data-Matching Pilot
1 July 2003 and ongoing.
The data matching pilot announced in the 2002-03 Budget will be extended. The pilot widened the data matching selection criteria to generate additional reviews. The continuation of the pilot will improve the detection of incorrect payments and fraudulent claims. The measure will generate an additional 43,000 reviews per year.
In the 2002-03 Budget the Government announced a pilot to widen the data matching criteria to increase the number of cases selected for compliance reviews. The pilot looked at a redesign of business rules to generate additional selections for review activity. The pilot was a successful part of the whole-of-government approach to targeting the cash economy in relation to compliance with the tax and social security systems.
Total Government Funding: Net save of $89.3 million over four years
I5. Research into Emerging Areas of Risks to the Social Security System
1 July 2003 to 30 June 2004.
Research and development will be undertaken into emerging areas of risk to the integrity of social security outlays and propose strategies to allay that risk. The investment is required to ensure new areas of exposure are identified early and the most cost-effective strategies are developed to combat those areas of exposure.
Areas of research requiring attention include the use of biometric technologies, quantifying exposure to the cash economy, and using modern information systems to better understand the geographic distribution of risks.
The measure builds on work being undertaken into identifying emerging risks and developing strategies to ensure the integrity of social security outlays.
Total Government Funding: $2.6 million for one year
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I6. Disability Support Pensions - Enhanced Reviews
1 September 2003 and ongoing - enhanced DSP reviews
8 September 2003 and ongoing - additional 25,000 DSP reviews.
'Service Update' reviews will be introduced for Disability Support Pension (DSP) recipients who are selected based on their likelihood of currently being paid incorrectly. The new reviews will provide customers with an opportunity to access information about their correct entitlement and may lead to a change in their payment such as a rate increase or qualification for a supplementary payment (eg Rent Assistance, Mobility Allowance) or the earlier identification of a rate decrease.
Service Update reviews will provide a better service to Disability Support pensioners by introducing face-to-face and telephone interviews. Greater interaction between DSP customers and Centrelink may also lead to increased social and economic participation for people with disabilities.
The introduction of Service Update reviews will see an increase of 61,000 reviews between DSP customers and Centrelink each year. The total number of DSP reviews will increase to 150,000 a year.
Current DSP specific review arrangements have remained largely unchanged for many years. The existing reviews are no longer as well targeted and are therefore less effective in ensuring payment accuracy. The current DSP reviews are focused on medical or income and assets only with little face-to-face contact between the customer and Centrelink.
Recent customer surveys suggest that better targeted reviews that more broadly examine all aspects of a person's entitlement and a greater level of contact between Centrelink and the customer would deliver better results than current DSP review arrangements.
The measure builds on the better assessment and early intervention process introduced for DSP as part of Australians Working Together in September 2002.
Total Government Funding: Net save of $ 89.2 million over four years
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I7. Youth and Student Assistance - Restructured Reviews
1 July 2003 and ongoing - Extend profiled reviews to youth allowance full-time students and job seekers.
1 April 2004 and ongoing - Introduce profiled review activity to Austudy customers.
Profiling is a method of selectively identifying and reviewing customers who need a more focused level of service to assist them to meet program outcomes including activity testing, economic and social participation, and payment correctness.
The measure will:
- introduce profiled review activity for Austudy; and
- align review activity of Youth Allowance with other income support programs.
The reviews will provide greater assurance to the community that these allowances are delivered only to students and jobseekers who are eligible and entitled.
The measure will create an additional 23,000 profiled reviews for youth allowance full-time students; an additional 17,000 reviews of youth allowance job seekers; and 5,000 new Austudy recipient reviews.
The measure builds on the Government's mutual obligation and welfare reform policies through increased emphasis on payment correctness, economic and social participation, activity test compliance and assisting young people at risk.
Minister Vanstone announced profiled reviews on 15 October 2001, as part of a range of additional compliance measures. The announcement included a commitment to introducing profiling and focussing on payment correctness from July 2002.
Centrelink has conducted successful trials of Youth Allowance profiled review contacts involving 1000 customers in eight locations.
The measure extends Centrelink's capacity to assist young people and students to meet their requirements and provides greater capacity to identify and assist young people at risk.
Total Government Funding: Net save of $47.2 million over four years
I8. Notification Arrangements for People Departing Australia and Consistent Treatment of Foreign Debt Recovery
1 July 2004 and ongoing.
The Government will put in place new strategies that will improve the level of correct payment of pensions and benefits paid to people who travel overseas.
Notification requirements for Centrelink customers who intend to travel overseas will be strengthened. Customers who fail to notify Centrelink prior to their departure overseas will have their payment immediately suspended and potentially cancelled. Any customer found to be involved in terrorist activities overseas will have their payment cancelled.
Improved data matching procedures between the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs and Centrelink will confirm compliance and ensure that correct payments are being made.
Legislation will also be introduced to cancel payments for anyone involved in terrorist activities outside Australia.
The Government has already introduced legislation to allow for the full recovery of overpayments that arise from a lump-sum arrears payment of a foreign pension. This measure will ensure that the full amount of the overpayment can be recovered - even where the lump-sum payment is apportioned between partnered people.
These measures are part of the Government's overall strategy of ensuring that people receive the correct rate of payment and that Australian income support payments are appropriately targeted to those in greatest need. The Government is also committed to fulfilling its international obligations to suppress financial support for people identified in terrorist activities.
Total Government Funding: Net save of $3.2 million over 4 years