Centrelink and compensation

PUBLISHED 21 Jul 2015

As one of Sydney and NSW’s leading personal injury lawyers, Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation Lawyers specialise in helping clients who have been victims of medical negligence, workplace accidents and many other unfortunate events obtain appropriate compensation.

A key point to bear in mind throughout the claims process – and one that can lead to considerable confusion if not addressed early – is that Centrelink payments can be affected by compensation.
 In particular, it’s important to note that any Centrelink payments received during the time your claim is being contested can be reclaimed by the government from your settlement prior to you receiving it.

To take a simple scenario: You are the victim of a workplace accident on January 1st and file for compensation. The case is settled on April 1st and you are awarded $10,000 dollars. During that time period you receive $3000 in Centrelink payments. You will have to pay back this $3000 from your compensation, leaving you with $7000.

Naturally, if you are not aware of this possibility, this could be potentially very bad news indeed.

Let’s look at some of the key questions to bear in mind if you are looking for compensation and potentially in receipt of Centrelink payments. We are also of course happy to talk through the particulars of your individual situation at any time.

What counts as compensation?

Compensation is defined on the Department of Human Services Centrelink Compensation Recovery page as “any payment for personal injury, illness or disease that replaces lost income or earning capacity.” This is likely to cover all forms of work-related and personal injury payments and applies to both lump sum and periodic payments from within Australia and abroad.

What type of Centrelink payments count against my compensation?

The majority of Centrelink payments – including NewStart and DSP – will be affected by compensation. It’s extremely important to be aware that this applies to payments made to both you and your spouse or registered/de facto partner.

When are Centrelink payments received deducted from my compensation?

If you are in receipt of Centrelink payments, you are obliged to notify Centrelink within seven days of you or your partner receiving compensation. Monies already received are entitled to be recouped prior to you receiving them and will normally be repaid directly via the insurance company or compensation provider.

Amounts received will also be factored into potential future Centrelink payments via the use of a preclusion period – the period of time where you may not be eligible for funds based on compensation received.

Can I estimate what I will receive and what will be deducted?

An online compensation estimator is available that can provide indicative figures but is by no means binding. The range of potential variables involved is necessarily large and amounts may vary considerably depending on the nature and extent of your injury so we advise you to seek professional assistance from the outset.

Rather than trying to wade through the complexities of Centrelink compensation at what is an already difficult and uncertain time, we urge you to work with us on assessing potential Centrelink ramifications prior to accepting any compensation offers. This gives you an expert ear, peace of mind and frees you up to concentrate on your recovery.

We have an enormous amount of experience in the field and are ready and willing to help you work through the intricacies of your own case so please do not hesitate to contact us directly.

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.