Monday, 05 Dec 2022

Almost 200,000 robodebt cases to be wiped as Albanese government condemns shameful scheme

Almost 200,000 robodebt cases to be wiped as Albanese government condemns shameful scheme


Almost 200,000 robodebt cases to be wiped as Albanese government condemns shameful scheme

Nearly 200,000 Australians will have their robodebt reviews wiped as the federal government scraps investigations that were put on hold for three years under the unlawful welfare scheme.

About 124,000 people were told they were under review for social security payments they had received, while 73,000 were never informed they were being assessed for potential debts under the data-matching program.

The 197,000 people will soon receive letters informing them the investigations will not proceed, after the social services minister, Amanda Rishworth, confirmed her department wouldn't continue them.

"We're committed to a better Australia and that means delivering a social security system that is not punitive," she said.

The 197,000 people had reviews of their income and welfare payments commenced, but not finalised, before the cases were put on hold in 2019 after concerns about the robodebt system prompted the federal government to stop raising debts solely from that mechanism.

The data-matching system, referred to by critics as robodebt, identified potential overpayment to welfare recipients by averaging out income from tax office data and comparing it to social security payments. The former Coalition government ceased using that system, later refunding debts raised in that manner.

The federal court later found the system to be unlawful and approved a $1.8bn settlement with victims of the scheme.

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