Is this why pensions hardly go up? The $5 billion welfare problem you’re paying for

Plenty of people in Australia need and rely on welfare, but there’s $5 billion worth of welfare that isn’t going

Plenty of people in Australia need and rely on welfare, but there’s $5 billion worth of welfare that isn’t going to the right place… and it could be costing you dearly.

In a fraud case revealed overnight, taxpayers have been cheated out of $5 billion thanks to Centrelink cheats alone.

According to The Daily Telegraph, the fraud problem is so enormous that the Australian Federal Police are now involved and will set up a taskforce to pursue criminal charges and attempt to recover some of the debt from the one million people who have falsely claimed on the Newstart, the Disability Support Pension, Medicare, Youth Allowance and family payments.

Human Services Minister Stuart Robert said the taskforce, which will be announced today, will deter anyone who thinks rorting the government is a good idea – there’ll be criminal charges, fines and assets seized if they do.

“Anyone taking welfare payments dishonestly has to understand this is theft, and the consequences are serious,” the minister said.

“You will get caught, you will have to pay the money back and you may be prosecuted and go to prison. If you have profited from the fraud your assets may also be seized as proceeds of crime”.

Currently, there are 1.1 million known Centrelink debts totalling $3 billion, plus an additional $1.7 billion in overpayments, according to the Department of Human Services.

If this is the case, it’s really no wonder why putting the age pension up isn’t a priority, or why there isn’t enough money allocated to Human Services – it’s being wrongfully given out.


Tell us, does this shock you? Should there be harsher punishment for those who rort taxpayers?

  1. If anyone is defrauding they should be caught and penalized. $5 billion is a huge amount of money, but it makes me wonder how they have let it get to this. Aren’t checks made when people apply?

    • It is the systems , there is no follow up or accountability from centrelink or client it is put on being honest. There is a lot that can and should be done, but cutting staff. this will never happen. Having been in the system on and off for a number of years I can see the faults, the answer is asking the clients, and people who look after the regular welfare recipients for input. We have become a nation of takers, people think it is their right to get welfare for nothing, but again the government has not kept its duty in suppling and helping Australians and companies and provide jobs for the amount residents needing employment. So next thing more refugees to house and support when the system is on overload. Kids are told their rights and what they are entitled to at high school level, but not their responsibilities, we need to educate self support attitude, bring back national service for those that are not fulltime employment or long term recipients of welfare and get rid of employment agencies that is a big waste of tax payers money, put it back into the Centrelink umbrella, cut out the middle person.
      These are just some bad issues heaps more to change, Basically the system is forcing SOME people to be dishonest to survive

    • I know of a DSP fraudster,who has been reported numerous times by a number of people over 2 years ago.GUESS WHAT? Not a thing has been done about these reports.

  2. Age pensions should be the highest welfare priority full stop. Younger centrecare recipients don’t have the same moral ethics and wouldn’t think twice about fraudulent demands…..modern young that we raised are ‘takers’ not ‘givers’

    • It’s not just the young that defraud, it older people as well, there are dishonest people of all ages.

    • Heather I have to partly disagree with you on this matter, although there are many young people getting the dole who quite frankly shouldn’t be, I knew a couple who had several rental properties a holiday house and we’re both working while receiving the age pension. That is just WRONG and although they were reported to Centrelink, nothing was done about it.

    • I have to agree with Lyn and Trish, people don’t stop criminal activity because they age, they probably get smarter doing it

    • Heather it is a big generalisation to accuse all young people of lacking moral ethics and being more likely to defraud. There are people like that in every generation. Centrelink should be more vigilant in its checks before handing out welfare to anyone and the penalties for cheating the welfare system should be harsher. I don’t like it but I accept that there are many who should work but won’t and would probably turn to crime if not given the dole.

    • There are plenty of age pensioners who are rorting the system. My next door neighbour has her whole family living with her. Between them they earn over $4000 a week but they live in her government house. She continues to get her age pension and only pays $90 p/w rent. They also have 2 rental properties. This has been reported but nothing is done. My sisters husband gets the age pension and works cash in hand doing shows at local clubs. He charges $35 per ticket and he gets $20 out of each ticket sold. He often earns up to $1000 p/w doing these shows.

    • Ruth Hourigan If you’ve reported them and your facts are correct, and nothing has been done, then go see your local Member and report that fact. He/she has to follow it up.

    • Heather the people who rip off welfare are NOT just the unemployed. The Age Pensioners are also at it – including hiding money. The reason there are deemed income provisions was the Age Pensioners who were ripping off the system. Now they move money around and shift assets to keep their pensions. If the government was truly interested in welfare rip offs it would look at the corporate world, the mining industry and multi national corporations first.

    • Wayne Ferne
      I know what I should do but it makes no difference. Local and federal members don’t give a damn. Remember, they are also rorting the system with their claims and spending.

    • I think those who have worked for40-50 years, should be entitled to the age pension, they have paid their taxes all those years, so should be automatically entitled to it. Just my opinion, the pensioners have to live on very little, and struggle from pension to pension.

    • I agree Robyn. I think everyone should automatically get a pension and those above a certain base income should then be taxed.

    • get the people that rip off for years.the honbest people on pension seem to have to suffer more because of the rip off ones

    • I dont know how other people reared their children but I reared mine to be workers so I think its unfair to blzme the younger generation for all our problems. While this is happening the government is allowing companies to pay no tax and they say the young ones are rorting the system

    • Agree Kathy Green. The majority of us get our work ethic from our parents, some kids haven’t had this. Again it’s a case of monkey see monkey do,

    • Trish Daley Those “pensioners” may have had all the property in a “trust”. Blame the way the financial system is set up to favour those with more wealth. Many people who set up family trusts long before they are pensionable age, have very little in personal assets on paper, and qualify for the pension.

    • I have to smile at some comments. Especially involving ministers
      Ministers are often Millionaires (Prime Minister included and one before). They have many mansions cash stashed overseas, and still get a healthy Pension and Super.
      It is also (asset tested); in which case you can have $600,000 as a couple and still get all the perks.
      That is why the Welfare system is not working.
      No doubt brought about by those in Parliament on the back bench making sure they don’t lose their perks and pension when they retire.
      Stop that or brink this age of entitlement down to the ‘nitty gritty’ – we will see less funds fly out the window.

    • Ann Cleveland-Dunn You can have more than $600,000 and still receive a part pension. If you have that amount in a “fixed deposit” at the bank, which many do, you would be receiving at the present rate, about $13,000 per year. The full pensioner is receiving about $34,000 per year. Really does not pay to save.

    • Sorry single mums and the disabled should have a very high priority just because your older does not make you more entitled and the young i know are honest hard worker and none are on benefits because they can’t be bothered working just the opposite most of the cases you hear about are older people exploiting the system.

    • The full pensioner Yvonne Jackson receives nothing like $34,000 I think that was pulled out of thin air I get the full pension you can shave $14,000 off that number

    • go away Heather, people are entitled by law to benefits, not for discussion, political BS

  3. I was reading this morning that the $5 billion is enough to cover the NDIS and I think that is where the money will be directed. $5 billion could help a lot disabled people

    • not much Brian, and by the time they take these people to court and if some are jailed, it will probably end up costing the country double the amount

  4. Welfare is administered by incompetents who appear, only, to be interested in their own welfare…

    • Then why don’t you apply for a job at Centrelink and see what it’s like to have to deal with people like you.

    • Well, Ruth I am self health care…small business. I regularly work 50 hours a week..treating people politely and courtiously and with great consideration for their needs. They have never had to help me. My son went to Uni and sought student allowance…this was granted and later demanded back when they discovered I was self employed. ‘We treat the children of the self employed differently…was the arrogant letter recieved. My wife’s phone calls were treated rudely and contemptuously.
      So..Ruth…I forgot to add rude, contemptuous incompetents..
      They will never need to deal with me and in any case I would treat them with the courtesy they haven’t earned.

  5. And how do people get away with claiming 2 pensions?..saw a report on current affair not long ago, the elderly woman that was buying heaps of property with the money for yrs & other people that were collecting 2 as well, friends or partners that had passed away as well as their own, how is this not picked up?

    • well that gobsmacked me but when you think about it, they must have a fraudulent identity, perhaps from someone who has died. Surely they would pick up the same person claiming twice?

    • It’s called lack of staff to enable them to do their job properly. Put more front line staff on and will help solve two problems.
      1. More people employed.
      2. More time to follow up and check on people making claims.

    • This was part of the reason Greece collapsed. People were claiming pensions of loved ones that had died. As well as other cheating on the social benefits system. One family had been getting a pension for a dead relative from the 1950’s.

    • I found out I was being paid twice years ago. Thought the extra money in my account was my ex paying maintenance at last. Then I had a call saying sorry I haven’t been able to pay. Went straight in to c/l. I had changed my name to my maiden name, and was receiving a pension in both names. Obviously I paid it back, but can’t say their attitude was nice. Automatically think a mistake is deliberate.

    • I will never the “lady” who was picked up for shoplifting on her weekly/daily shopping spree who had 3 or 4 pension cards in her purse all with different surnames. She was married at the time I believe and her husband was out collecting firewood to sell, he made approx $400 each trip and went went approx twice a week and akl was twice free. Majority of the shopping sprees were for orders from other people and sold. All the money tax free and also lived in public housing and claimed at least two payments and probably more (also included three children) and thought nothing wrong “it was her right”.

  6. don  

    stop giving boat people and imigrants free hand outs send them back and don’t take in any more

  7. And while they are on the hunt for cheats why don’t the go after the top end of town who don’t pay or only pay minimal tax.

    • For sure Brian. ..we should be going after them first but won’t happen as the powers that be are either too scared or in on it!!!

    • Why are they so special and can afford to pay minimal tax they should pay what everyone else is paying .

  8. Look at the among of disability pensioner. Then look at how they are getting this pension.
    These pensioners should be examined by at least three doctors.
    Even in my small town there are disability pensioners doing gardening and handy man jobs as well as get a pension.

    • There are all types of disability and some can’t be seen by the naked eye, for example people with a psychiatric disability would physically be able to do the gardening. As long they are declaring the income made they are doing nothing wrong if they can mange to do a little work

    • My girl friend Dorothy Goulding was a quadriplegic in a wheelchair. That never stopped her getting down to the garden or bringing on her own groceries. Even worked in the Library until she could do it no more when Caner did its bit.
      Myself I am racked with pain but I attempt to do what I can, heavy garden bahs, manure etc. Nearly kills me but until I am dead from the neck up, doesn’t mean I can do things but in small spurts. So can disability pensioners unless they have been traumatised.
      I know one such person who witnessed a matter done by a policeman and was threatened had to go under ‘witness protection’ – does most things but cannot drive due to trauma. Does that mean because they do some things they need to be spied on and reported for the rest of their lives?
      Yes, at least two Dr’s should certify disability pensioners. However some are not the best at any rate.
      Be careful what you wish for. Maybe you one day.

    • Ones who deserve it and can’t get it are due to incompetent people also, refusing to help these people get the right sort of assistance. Then tgere is this ‘computer’ thing. Youngsters trained but unable to understand a generation unable to cope with what they themselves have grown up doing. Second nature to them. Coupled with rudeness.

  9. I know people who have been reported to Centrelink and it is obvious they are doing the daring thing and nothing has been done. I believe if someone is looking for work, really looking for work and can’t get work as in this day and age that is on the cards, then they should be given enough money to live, not the meagre amount they get which you can’t live on if you have to pay rent. There are others that have never tried to get work. This also is usually obvious. As for baby bonuses. We didn’t get them. We survived. I am not a big fan.

    • Agreed. For the unemployed jobs are scarce I dont know how they survive. I dont believe in baby bonuses either. But in saying that the cost of baby equipment is astronomical and for people already disadvantaged with no work etc its more than difficult.
      In my day we coped better… plenty of work and housing .. now days we have huge problem with both.

    • Yep same hear fran single parents are supposed to be just that but so many have partners and social security don’t care

    • I agree Fran, get rid of these handouts for having babies …. if you can’t afford it, don’t have a baby. Why should tax payers, especially people without children subsidise the ones that do.

    • No-one can ever “afford” children, that’s rubbish i say. Trying to get work and only having the tiny amount they give is ridiculous.

    • I think that this problem is huge and they find it difficult to keep to up with the criminals.

    • For long term unemployed just finding the money for public transport to attend interviews is difficult.

    • National service for the ones who don’t want a job that will give us a better chance for our army build up as other countries have such a strong defense force.

  10. My ex brother-in-law did gaol time twice for welfare fraud, both times twelves months inside, and he had to repay the money as well. My sister is no longer married to this man, fortunately.

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