Centrelink_ letter claims staff told to ignore errors in data-matching program – abc news (australian broadcasting corporation)

Activist group GetUp! released the eight-page letter it received from a person claiming to have worked on Centrelink’s automated data-matching project, known as the Online Compliance Intervention.

“What is known to date is literally the tip of the iceberg compared to the true scope of the deliberate wrongful actions that are being deployed under the department’s Online Compliance Intervention (OCI) review process, which is raising debts that are incorrect for far more reasons than anyone outside the organisation knows about,” the letter said.

Welfare groups are pushing the Federal Government to suspend the project after a raft of welfare recipients claimed the automated system incorrectly matched their reported income with their tax records.


Database queries must be Letter claims ‘multitude of errors’

“By publicly releasing the letter today we allow journalists to confirm the claims with their sources, inspire other sources to come forward with critical information, apply pressure for an immediate parliamentary inquiry, and allow the Government to confirm or deny any of the claims in the letter, among other avenues of investigation.” Government says claims are not accurate

“We give those who receive a request for information an opportunity to review, confirm or change these details in the online system,” the department’s general manager Hank Jongen said in a statement.

‘Facing years of debt’ Imagine you get a letter from Centrelink saying you have an outstanding debt of more than half your yearly salary. Database journal What would you do next?

However, this does not deal with the key claim in the letter that recipients are often unable to identify that doubled income has been included in the calculation.

However, 7.30 has already reported the experience of George Birkett, who had more than $7,000 in non-assessable income erroneously included in his debt assessment.

“Some of our staff believe that intensive one-on-one management of recipients is always required … Data recovery boston some staff do not welcome technology driven change,” Mr Jongen said.

The letter also claims compliance officers have been instructed to ignore errors generated by the OCI’s “fuzzy matching logic”, which compares employer names reported to Centrelink with the names welfare recipients have reported to the Australian Tax Office (ATO).

The letter includes what purports to be an internal memorandum to staff, justifying how similar employer names will not be picked up by the OCI system.

The memo said “in these cases the system is working”. Database connection It instructs staff where they see a failure to match similar employer names not to alter the outcome. S memo data recovery Instead they should direct the welfare recipient online, and they should not report the error to the internal OCI Helpdesk.

• Age pensioners who received termination payments (which are exempt) are receiving debt assessments that wrongly include those termination payments.

• Paid Parental Leave recipients have wrongly had that income considered assessable income in their debt assessments. Database structure (7.30 understands the rules around exempt PPL changed recently and it is now assessable income.)

• Some debt notices are entirely erroneous: “Debts are being raised solely on a year or more of exempt income.” And in some instances “we are recovering more money than the customer was ever paid”.

• Recipients who dispute the debt notice but also tick a box indicating they accept the employer income assessed by OCI will not have that income adjusted, even when a compliance officer identifies that much of the income assessed was exempt income.

• Customers who raise disputes will only have the specific matters they dispute adjusted in their favour, even when compliance staff identify other errors in the assessment.

• If compliance staff do attempt to correct errors they identify, their “work will returned as wrong and we will have to cancel the corrections”.

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