What We Do
Welfare Rights Centre is a community legal centre that helps people who have a problem with Centrelink. We specialise in social security law and family assistance law, including the intersection of child support and social security payments.
ADVICE AND REPRESENTATION
We provide free legal information, advice and representation to thousands of NSW residents each year who have been adversely affected by Centrelink decisions. We advise and represent people through the social security review and appeals system, including Centrelink internal reviews and the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. Our team of five specialist solicitors are supported with pro bono assistance from law firm HWL Ebsworth. You can access our social security advice service here.
DISABILITY SUPPORT CLINIC
Our Disability Support Clinic provides hands on support to help people with a disability or mental health condition obtain income support from Centrelink. The Clinic provides information to support health practitioners to better understand Centrelink’s requirements and effectively assist patients who are unable to work but struggling to access appropriate Centrelink payments. This specialist service is supported by pro bono assistance from law firm Hall and Wilcox, which provide seconded solicitors, expanding the Clinic’s capacity.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PROJECT
Our Domestic Violence Project assists people experiencing or at risk of domestic violence to access their Centrelink entitlements and challenge unfair Centrelink debts. These cases are complex, requiring a sophisticated understanding of family and domestic violence and a high level of expertise in social security law. Clients experiencing or at risk of domestic violence can speak to our Domestic Violence Community Worker who can help them with safety planning, referrals and gathering evidence for their case. We also deliver targeted social security training to domestic violence community workers to increase their capacity to spot and address Centrelink problems, including situations where their client may not realise there is a legal problem.
COMMUNITY WORKER TRAINING
We undertake community legal education and training to improve knowledge and understanding of social security law in the community. Working to embed understanding of the Centrelink appeals system across the community support sector, we prioritise training of community workers and others providing direct support to clients. Our community legal education program includes 10 subject-based sessions, training more than a thousand workers each year. We also provide specialist, targeted training on request. You can find out more here.
ACCESS FOR FIRST NATIONS PEOPLE
We acknowledge, respect and support the continuation of the cultural, spiritual and educational practices of First Nations People throughout Australia. We have developed a Reconciliation Action Plan because we acknowledge the past and current injustice endured by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and we wish to demonstrate our commitment to Reconciliation in a public and deliberate way. You can also find our primary commitments to reconciliation in our Strategic Plan. We are working to expand access and deliver culturally safe services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, including providing targeted information through the First Nations section of our website and employing a First Nations Access Officer.
ADVOCACY FOR LAW REFORM
We collaborate with our peak body, Economic Justice Australia, to provide evidence and submissions to parliamentary and other inquiries, and to publicly advocate through the media for a fair and accountable social security system. You can find out more about our law reform and advocacy here.