Compliance program

We do a range of activities to protect Australia’s welfare system.

What we do

Our compliance activities detect if someone gets a payment they shouldn't. We investigate non-compliance and fraud activities. This helps us undertake proactive payment reviews to help you avoid owing us money.

We refer cases with evidence of criminal behaviour to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions. Read more about how they manage social security fraud on their website.

How we deliver it

We complete a number of tasks as part of the program. These can include:

  • identity checks
  • data-matching
  • data-mining
  • analysis activities
  • regular payment reviews

We work with the public, government agencies and the private sector and share details about intelligence activities when needed. 

Currently, we partner with the Australian Federal Police on Taskforce Integrity. We also use data from:

  • the Australian Taxation Office
  • the Department of Education and Training, and
  • other sources to match income information reported by people who get a payment

Why we do it

The activities in our compliance program aim to protect Australia’s welfare system. We do this by making sure you get the right payment and the right payment amount. Our proactive payment reviews help you avoid a debt.

We will continue to remind you about the need to keep your details up to date.

How we apply data from other agencies

We get information about your income from other government agencies. If we get information that the amount you earned is different to what you have told us when getting a payment, we will ask you to review, update and confirm your information.

It is important you engage with us to confirm the dates you worked and the amount you earned.

If you don't provide this confirmation to us, then we'll use the information we get from the other agency, such as the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), to identify and calculate if you’ve been overpaid.

For example, if your income from the ATO shows you worked for a period of 5 months, we will equally divide your income over the 5 months to calculate the payment you should have got.

How you can help

There are a number of ways you can help.

Reporting fraud

If you suspect someone may be committing fraud against Centrelink, Medicare or Child Support, you should report it. Specialist officers assess fraud claims we get.

Keep your details up to date

If you’re getting a payment from us, it’s important to tell us straight away if your circumstances change. This is so we can give you the right payment.

You need to tell us about changes to your:

  • living arrangements
  • work, study, training or volunteering arrangements
  • relationships
  • children
  • health
  • overseas travel
  • any other events which may affect your payment

We know most people do the right thing and tell us when their circumstances change. Not all incorrect payments are a result of fraud. However, please bear in mind, incorrect payments may result in a debt which you will need to repay.

It’s never too late to update your details.

Keep a record

If you’re no longer getting a payment from us please remember to keep all records, such as:

  • financial statements
  • tax returns
  • pay slips or group certificates
  • bank statements, and
  • any documents that may help us and you

This will help if we need you to check the information we have about:

  • your employment income, or
  • other details that might affect the payments you get

Respond to our requests

If we ask you to check the details we have about you, the quickest and easiest way to do this is using self service. Don’t ignore any letters we send you, and always respond to the requests in the letter by the due date.


Family Day Care operator reviews

We check the income you get from your Family Day Care operation has been reported correctly.

Read more about our Family Day Care operators compliance reviews.

Trust reviews

We may get information from the ATO that you are a part of a Trust. We will then send you a letter, asking you to contact us to confirm or update your information. When you contact us, we will discuss with you your individual circumstances, and tell you what additional information you may need to provide. This may include:

  • Company, Trust and Individual Income Tax Return and Financial Statements for you and your partner, if relevant
  • Trust Resolutions to distribute for each applicable year, including the previous year and last financial year

If you don’t respond or provide information we may apply the information we have to your record.

We’re testing a new website design. Try it out and tell us what you think. Read more about changes to this site.

Page last updated: 16 August 2017