One of the most common questions I am asked by clients is whether they will lose their Centrelink pension if they are successful in their claim. The answer depends on your circumstances.
If you were exposed to asbestos while an employee in NSW, you are entitled to both bring a claim at common law and apply for benefits from the Dust Diseases Authority (DDA). If your claim is accepted by the DDA you will be granted a fortnightly pension. The DDA pension is not means tested and you will continue to receive the DDA pension after any common law settlement or judgment. You should have notified Centrelink about your DDA pension when your DDA claim was accepted. Your Centrelink pension may have been reduced as a result. You will have to notify Centrelink within 7 days of receipt of your settlement or judgment monies as these monies will be considered as income under Centrelink’s income and asset test and may affect your pension.
If your claim at common law includes a claim for economic loss (loss of earnings) and you have been receiving a pension such as a disability pension from Centrelink, you may be required to repay Centrelink from your settlement or judgment monies and may further be precluded from receiving a Centrelink pension for a period. However, if you are in receipt of a DDA pension then there will be no repayment to Centrelink or preclusion period because of your common law claim. We can write to Centrelink and obtain an estimate as to any repayment and preclusion period.
If your claim does not include a claim for economic loss, you will not have to repay Centrelink however you must notify Centrelink within 7 days of your settlement or judgement monies as these monies will be treated as income under Centrelink’s income and assets test and may affect your pension.
We strongly suggest that you see a financial advisor once your claim has been settled or a judgment in your favor has been handed down so that you can obtain advice as to how to invest your settlement or judgment monies so as to maximize your Centrelink benefits. We can put you in touch with an advisor on request.
If you have any further questions about Centrelink pension, then please so not hesitate to contact us on 8880 0500 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org