Anyone who receives a Centrelink payment will be income managed.
A person can only go onto income management if they meet certain criteria.
People can be referred for income management if they:
- receive relevant income support and family assistance payments and
- live in an income management location and
- have volunteered to participate or
- have been referred by a child protection worker or
- have been referred by a Centrelink social worker (in the NT and five new sites) or
- have been on a relevant payment for three out of six months if under 25, or 12 out of 24 months if over 25 (in the NT only) or
- are referred by the Family Responsibility Commission (Cape York only).
Under income management, I won’t have access to any cash.
Under child protection income management, seventy per cent of a person’s welfare payments are set aside for necessities such as food, housing, utilities, clothing and medical care. In Cape York, people are income managed at up to seventy five per cent.
For people on other measures of income management, fifty per cent of their welfare payments are set aside for basic necessities.
The person receives the balance of their payments in the usual way, such as through their bank account.
People will judge me if they see me using a BasicsCard.
The BasicsCard operates just like any other EFTPOS card.
- Other people won’t know when a person is using a BasicsCard and there are no separate queues for people who want to use their BasicsCard at a store.
- The BasicsCard is available to everyone on income management, including those who volunteer.
If you prefer not to use the BasicsCard, there are other ways to access income managed money, including by direct payments to stores and businesses.
The BasicsCard restricts where people can shop and they can only buy basic food and clothes.
People can use their BasicsCard at a range of different stores and businesses, as long as the store is approved to accept the BasicsCard.
There are thousands of BasicsCard merchants across Australia, including large shops and small independently run shops.
The BasicsCard can be used for many things, including food, non-alcoholic beverages, clothing, footwear, petrol, health and hygiene items, travel and household goods.
If a store isn’t approved to accept the BasicsCard, people can ask Centrelink to make a regular or one-off payment on their behalf.
People referred for income management can’t appeal or object to the decision.
People have options if they don’t agree with a decision.
They can appeal or ask for a review with a Centrelink social worker or a child protection worker, depending on the measure of income management they are on.
They also have access to a full range of review and appeals processes, including:
- Centrelink Authorised Review Officer (ARO)
- Social Security Appeals Tribunal (SSAT)
- Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).
People must stay on income management for as long as they receive a Centrelink payment.
Income management is available to help people get back on track.
The time a person is on income management is determined on a case by case basis, but is usually for three to 12 months. Some people may be income managed for a short time, while others may need it for longer.
People who volunteer for income management can come off at any time after the initial 13 week period.
Income management is one of a range of supports available to help stabilise a person’s situation. Other support, such as financial counselling and money management skills training, may also help.
Income management is for Indigenous Australians only.
Income management is non-discriminatory and is not applied based on race or cultural factors.
Income management helps Australians in need of assistance to budget and meet their essential needs, regardless of their ethnicity and cultural heritage.
Evaluations from the Northern Territory and Western Australia have shown that both Indigenous and non-Indigenous individuals and families have benefitted from income management.
People can’t choose where to spend their money under income management.
Income management doesn’t change the amount of income a person receives, just the way some of it is received.
Centrelink staff will discuss the best way to direct money to priority needs for the individual and their family.
People can use their income management money to pay for things like:
- food / school food
- rent / housing
- medication / hospital bills
- bills (water, phone, electricity etc)
People can use their income managed funds at a wide variety of small, medium and large businesses across Australia with a BasicsCard, or have money paid directly to the business.
There’s no proof that income management works.
Income management has been trialled in various locations since 2007.
Evaluation of the trial in Western Australia in 2010 found most respondents said income management had improved their lives.
Most respondents were also willing to recommend income management to others because of its positive impact on their lives and the skills they gained in budgeting and saving money.
Two-thirds of parents in the Western Australia evaluation found that income management helped them to budget and provide the essentials for their children.
The evaluation also found that people were willing to recommend income management to others.
An ongoing independent evaluation of income management will ensure it is helping those who need it.
For more information:
- go to humanservices.gov.au
- talk to your local Centrelink Income Management Contact Officer
- call the Income Management Line (for customers only) on 1800 132 594.