Community Legal Education

Want to know more about social security payments and how Centrelink works? Welfare Rights Centre provides free education and training across NSW, although currently all training is being provided online. 

Regular CLE events  Our monthly community legal education events are open to all although each session has been developed with specific target audiences in mind. Sessions are jointly presented by our CLE Officer and one of our solicitors, with all including consideration of case studies and time for questions. Please see our 2021/22 program below.

Tailored events We are sometimes able to deliver information sessions or training on specific issues to individual groups. Please contact us directly at sydney@welfarerights.org.au if you are interested in customised training for a specific group, organisation or interagency.

Recorded materials  We are recording webinars and endeavouring to make them available on our website so that you can access them for free at any time. Stay tuned.

 

Community Legal Education Program 2021/22

Want to know more about Centrelink payments for young people?

 

This session will outline key issues determining young people’s access to Centrelink payments, including the difference between JobSeeker, Youth Allowance, Abstudy and Austudy.

Speakers will cover the concepts of dependence/independence for people aged 21 or younger, the practical application of job search requirements such as ‘mutual obligations’ and income from work, and issues relating to study including approved courses, approved education providers, and study load.

The session will include information about Centrelink payments for young people in crisis, and will explain how young people needing further support may access a Centrelink Social Worker. Speakers will also cover what young people can do if a claim is rejected, payment is stopped, or a debt is raised.

 

Target audience: Community workers and volunteers, youth workers, social workers and lawyers

 

Note: This session will repeat and reinforce much of the key messaging from a similar session presented in November 2020.

 

Tuesday 24 August 2021, 2pm - 4pm AEDT

Registration details available soon.

Want to gain a better understanding of Disability Support Pension (DSP), Carer Payment or Carer Allowance?

 

This session will cover eligibility criteria, evidence, and key steps in the claim process, including how Impairment Tables work and Programs of Support. It will also address temporary exemptions from mutual obligations to look for work for those struggling to gain access to DSP.

 

The session will cover important points about obtaining the right medical evidence, including who can be considered a medical expert and direction about the formatting and content of letters and necessary forms. Finally, the session will outline what to do if your claim is rejected, including where to go for help.

Target audience: Community workers and volunteers, disability advocates, social workers and lawyers

 

Note: This session will repeat and reinforce much of the key messaging from a similar session presented in January 2021.

 

Wednesday 15 September 2021, 11am - 1pm

Registration details available soon.

Want to know more about Access to Centrelink for Migrants and other Newly Arrived Residents?

 

Australia's social security system has strict residency criteria. Payments are usually available only to Australian residents, with most migrants subject to a Newly Arrived Resident’s Waiting Period (NARWP) or other qualifying residency period. People from New Zealander who have lived in Australia for many years can be particularly harshly affected. Importantly, there are exemptions, which may enable access to Special Benefit or other payments.

 

This session will cover key issues impacting migrant’s access to Centrelink payments including residency criteria, the Newly Arrived Residents Waiting Period & other waiting periods, domestic and family violence, Special Benefit, exemptions, the impact of overseas assets and income, and a whole lot more.

Target audience: Community workers and volunteers, social workers and lawyers

 

Note: This session will repeat and reinforce much of the key messaging from a similar session presented in December 2020.

 

Wednesday 15 September 2021, 11am - 1pm

Registration details available soon.

Want to know more about Unemployment Payments & Mutual Obligations?

 

A number of Centrelink payments are tied to a requirement to look for work, including JobSeeker, Youth Allowance (job seeker) and (often) Parenting Payment. These payments have ‘mutual obligations’ attached, which can include having to look for work, go to appointments, undertake specific activities, Work for the Dole, and take up a ‘reasonable’ offer of work. The penalties for not ‘satisfying’ mutual obligations are harsh, including cancellation of payment for an extended period. 

Other payments, like Age Pension, Youth Allowance (student) and Disability Support Pension, have different rules about looking for work, undertaking work and/or income from employment. Then there are a number of ways people can accumulate 'points' that can be offset against future income, including Income Bank, Working Credit and Work Bonus.

This session will provide an overview of all-things-work, including mutual-obligations and the associated system of penalties, the operation of income tests, current COVID-19 arrangements and what to do if a person is threatened with a penalty or payment is cut off. It will also outline what to do if a claim is rejected, including where to go for help.

Target audience: Community workers and volunteers, social workers and lawyers

 

Note: This session will repeat and reinforce much of the key messaging from a similar session presented in February 2021.

 

Tuesday 23 November 2021, 11am – 1pm AEDT

Registration details available soon.

This session will outline Centrelink payments targeting families with children, including Parenting Payment, Family Tax Benefit, Parental Leave Pay, Dad and Partner Pay, Carer Payment and Child Care Subsidy.

Speakers will address eligibility requirements, income and assets tests, mutual obligations relating to work, and the way that the number and age of children affects different payments. The session will explain how relationship status (single/partnered) affects payment, and will outline Centrelink payments intended to support people trying to domestic violence. It will also address how issues related to separation can have a major impact, particularly child support and the amount of time a child is in the care of each parent.

The session will explain how people needing further support may access a Centrelink Social Worker, and what they can do if a claim is rejected payment is stopped, or a debt is raised.

Target audience: Community workers and volunteers, social workers and lawyers

 

Note: this session will repeat and reinforce much of the key messaging from a similar session presented in April 2020.

 

Wednesday 19 January 2022, 2 - 4pm

Registration details available soon.

Domestic and family violence is common and its impact far reaching. Social security provides a critical safety net for those trying to escape domestic violence or re-establish themselves after leaving a violent relationship. Accessed at times of greatest vulnerability, Centrelink payments can be critical to victims of violence rebuilding their lives and moving on.

This session will outline income support available to victims and survivors of domestic and family violence, including Parenting Payment, JobSeeker Payment, Crisis Payment and Special Benefit. It will cover how to establish entitlement to payment, timeframes for claiming, residential qualifications, and presumptions of shared income under the Member of a Couple rule. 

We'll tackle issues associated with demonstrating ‘care’ of children and removal of children by perpetrators which can impact both qualification and rate of payment. We'll also explain application of special circumstances in relation to debts.

Finally, the session will include information about support services within Centrelink, particularly about how victims of violence can access a Centrelink Social Worker to obtain additional support navigating the Centrelink process.

Target audience: Community workers and social workers who assist victims and survivors of domestic violence

 

Note: this session will repeat and reinforce much of the key messaging from a similar session presented in March 2021.

 

Thursday 17 February 2022, 2 – 4pm AEDT

Registration details available soon.

Want to know more about options when Centrelink raises a debt?

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This session is designed to provide practical information for community workers and volunteers wanting to assist clients with Centrelink debt matters. Speakers will explain common reasons debts may be raised and give an overview of measures you can take to check that there really is a debt and/or the amount of the debt has been calculated correctly.

The session will cover how to appeal decisions that are incorrect or seem unfair, and the type of circumstances in which a debt can be waived. They will also address negotiating repayments, garnishee actions and possible criminal prosecution. 

 

Target audience Community workers, social workers and volunteers

 

Note: This session will repeat and reinforce much of the key messaging from a similar session presented in October 2020.

 

Tuesday 22 March 2022, 11am-1pm AEST

Registration details available soon.

Nearly two-thirds of Australians post-retirement age rely on government assistance as their main source of income.

 

This session will outline Centrelink payments and services available to people who are retired, planning for retirement, or wanting to keep working after reaching Age Pension age. It will cover common payments including Age Pension, Carer Payment, Carer Allowance and Bereavement Allowance, and special provisions for older people on JobSeeker.

The session will dive into issues associated with residency, member of a couple rules, and incomes and assets, including the implications of temporarily leaving a principal home, selling a principal home or one or both members of a couple moving into residential care.

Target audience: Community workers and volunteers, aged-care workers, social workers and lawyers

 

Note: this session will repeat and reinforce much of the key messaging from a similar session presented in May 2021.

 

Thursday 28 April 2022, 2 - 4pm AEST

Registration details available soon.

Want to know more about how to support your client if they have a problem with Centrelink?

 

This session will go through the basics underpinning social security payments, including rules relating to residency, age, member of a couple, income and assets, children, waiting periods, illness or injury, and family and domestic violence. It will outline common reasons for debts and what to do if a debt is raised, and will outlines appeals and review processes.

 

Proving an overview of social security and family assistance rules, payments and Centrelink's administrative process, this session aims to unpack common social security issues to provide community workers the tools to identify a social security problem, including those masked by other pressing or complex issues.


Target audience: Community workers, social workers, community/social work students intake staff and volunteers and lawyers

 

Note: This session will repeat and reinforce some of the key messaging from a similar session presented in June 2021’s “How to Spot a Social Security Issue”.

 

Wednesday 25 May 2022, 11am – 1pm AEST

Registration details available soon.

 

 

This year we’ve been able to scale up our community legal education and communications work thanks to the generosity and support of the Ecstra Foundation: a not for profit organisation dedicated to building the financial wellbeing of all Australians. Thank you Ecstra for making our CLE program and communications strategy possible. To find out more about Ecstra, click here.

Ecstra

Our education program has also been supported by funding from Collier Charitable Trust, helping us reach more people as we respond to the COVID crisis. To learn more about the Collier Charitable Trust, click here.

Collier