This topic describes the principle of protection of payment of FA payments.
The FA(Admin)Act states that the following FA payments are absolutely inalienable, or protected:
An individual's right to receive a payment or benefit cannot be transferred to another person either by a voluntary act or by the operation of the law.
Act reference: FA(Admin)Act section 66 Protection of payments under this Part, section 219Q Weekly payments in respect of fee reduction, section 219QA(2) The Secretary must pay the amount as last recalculated to..., section 219RA Payment of enrolment advance
Under the 'nominee' provisions in the FA(Admin)Act, the Secretary may direct that a payment be made to another party, after considering the wishes of the individual receiving the payment. The individual's consent may not be required.
The Secretary may direct that payments be made to a third party, including Centrepay, but only with the individual's consent.
There are 3 circumstances in which, although an individual does not directly receive their payment, they do not transfer their right to that payment because they still benefit from it. Those circumstances are when a payment is:
These are explained in the rest of this topic.
An individual must agree before any payments can be paid to a third party. This is usually done by appointing a nominee (1.1.N.20), by using the relevant form.
Example: An individual may direct their payments to:
The Commonwealth has the right, and the obligation, to recover:
Act reference: FA(Admin)Act section 70 Debts due to the Commonwealth, Part 9 Other matters, section 225 Payment of deductions to Commissioner of Taxation, section 226 Setting off family assistance entitlement against tax liability, section 227 Payment of deductions to Child Support Registrar, section 228 Maximum deduction
Policy reference: FA Guide 4.1.3 Nominees
Once a payment has been paid into an individual's bank account it becomes part of the person's funds. A garnishee order on the account, equal to the amount of the individual's payment, is not affected by a person's inalienable rights to payments. The FA(Admin)Act, however, provides for a saved amount to which the garnishee order cannot apply. The saved amount is equal to the following:
Example 1: Simone is receiving an ongoing fortnightly FTB benefit of $164.64. On 20 September a garnishee order comes into force regarding the account. In the previous 4 week period $329.28 FTB was paid into the account. Simone had withdrawn $160.00 during the 4 week period. The saved amount is $164.64 ($329.28 - $164.64). This amount is exempt from any garnishee conditions.
Example 2: Bronwyn is receiving an ongoing fortnightly FTB benefit of $378.70. On 15 November a garnishee order comes into force for the account. In the previous 4 week period $757.40 FTB was paid into the account. Bronwyn had withdrawn $800.00 from her account during the 4 week period. The saved amount is nil.
Policy reference: FA Guide 126.96.36.199 Court Orders & Registered Agreements
Last reviewed: 20 September 2013