Senate debates

Tuesday, 10 August 2021

Questions without Notice

COVID-19: Income Support Payments

2:59 pm

Photo of Linda ReynoldsLinda Reynolds (WA, Liberal Party, Minister for Government Services) Share this | Hansard source

I thank the senator for her question. As those in this chamber know, it is the longstanding principle of Australia's social security system that people should be paid correctly, according to their individual circumstances. The process ensures that our social security system is sustainable into the future, because it means that taxpayers only pay recipients what they're eligible for—no more and no less.

It's the responsibility of people receiving the JobSeeker payment, or other related social security payments, to report their employment income correctly and accurately to Services Australia, and that includes if they were also receiving JobKeeper in addition to JobSeeker. Services Australia communicated widely, including through the agency websites and social media channels, to inform customers of their obligation to report JobKeeper income as income, and how it could impact the remainder of their income support. Around 79,000 individuals, identified as being at risk of incurring an overpayment as they were declaring minimal income, were contacted by Services Australia from July last year—that is, 2020. When a person is overpaid, my agencies will always write to them to let them know how much they were overpaid and explain why they owe money.


No comments