Commonwealth Consolidated Acts

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SOCIAL SECURITY ACT 1991 - SECT 1234AA

Recovery of amounts from financial institutions

             (1)  If:

                     (a)  a social security payment or social security payments are made to a financial institution for the credit of an account kept with the institution; and

                     (b)  the Secretary is satisfied that the payment or payments were intended to be made for the benefit of someone who was not the person or one of the persons in whose name or names the account was kept;

the Secretary may give a written notice to the institution setting out the matters mentioned in paragraphs (a) and (b) and requiring the institution to pay to the Commonwealth, within a period (being a reasonable period) stated in the notice, the lesser of the following amounts:

                     (c)  an amount specified in the notice, being the amount, or the sum of the amounts, of the social security payment or social security payments;

                     (d)  the amount standing to the credit of the account when the notice is received by the institution.

             (2)  If:

                     (a)  a social security payment or social security payments that are intended for the benefit of a person are made to a financial institution for the credit of an account that was kept with the institution by the person or by the person and one or more other persons; and

                     (b)  the person died before the payment or payments were made;

the Secretary may give a written notice to the institution setting out the matters mentioned in paragraphs (a) and (b) and requiring the institution to pay to the Commonwealth, within a period (being a reasonable period) stated in the notice, the lesser of the following amounts:

                     (c)  an amount specified in the notice, being the amount, or the sum of the amounts, of the social security payment or social security payments;

                     (d)  the amount standing to the credit of the account when the notice is received by the institution.

          (2A)  As soon as possible after issuing a notice under subsection (2), the Secretary must inform the deceased estate in writing of:

                     (a)  the amount sought to be recovered from the deceased person's account; and

                     (b)  the reasons for the recovery action.

             (3)  A financial institution must comply with a notice given to it under subsection (1) or (2).

Penalty:  300 penalty units.

             (4)  It is a defence to a prosecution of a financial institution for failing to comply with a notice given to it under subsection (1) or (2) if the financial institution proves that it was incapable of complying with the notice.

             (5)  If a notice is given to a financial institution under subsection (1) (payment made to wrong account) or under subsection (2) (death of person in whose name the account was kept) in respect of a social security payment or social security payments, any amount recovered by the Commonwealth from the institution in respect of the debt reduces any debt owed to the Commonwealth by any other person in respect of the social security payment or social security payments.



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