Bending the rules can land you in trouble
THIS week’s markets around Darwin and Palmerston could be interesting places to be. Business Confidential has learned at least one Federal Government agency is not afraid to take a closer look at those selling products and claiming benefits. Department of Human Services general manager Hank Jongen said while they were not “specifically targeting” stall holders, “individuals may come to our attention through any of the activities we regularly undertake, including data matching and following up tip-offs from the community.”
One of the tricks is where supplier products are sold at different stalls with a mark-up but only the income from the primary stall is claimed. Mr Jongen said if a person intentionally provided incorrect information or was being dishonest to get a payment, they were committing welfare fraud.
“People are required to pay back any money they have been overpaid,” he said. “The department regularly reviews people’s entitlements to ensure they receive the correct rate of payment based on their circumstances. If we become aware that a person’s circumstances have changed, we get in touch early to help them avoid a debt in the first place. We offer flexible repayment options to people who have been overpaid. Where there is sufficient evidence of criminal behaviour, particularly where it is organised, matters will be referred to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.”