Your rights if Centrelink comes to your home

Your rights if Centrelink comes to your home

If a Centrelink officer comes to your home, you:

  • do not have to let them in (unless they are with a police officer who has a warrant)
  • can arrange to answer their questions at another time

It is a good idea to get legal advice before answering questions from Centrelink.

If you get a Centrelink payment a Centrelink officer may come to your home to:

  • review your entitlements to Centrelink payments
  • investigate an incorrect payment or overpayment
  • investigate whether you have committed fraud.

Things Centrelink may ask you about include:

  • whether you or your partner are working or receiving any income
  • the arrangements for care of your children
  • whether you are a member of a couple.

Centrelink can ask you questions informally, or they can ask you to do a formal interview.

If you answer, your answers could be used to prove that you:

  • are not entitled to a payment
  • have been overpaid
  • have committed a criminal offence such as fraud.

It is a good idea to get legal advice before answering Centrelink’s questions.

Your rights

If you receive a home visit, you have the right to:

  • know the reason for the visit – ask the Centrelink officer about any information they have received (if there has been a ‘tip-off’ they will not tell you who made it)
  • tell them to leave your home immediately, or at any time after you have let them in (unless they are with a police officer who has a warrant to enter your home).

If a Centrelink officer starts asking you questions about your circumstances, or if they ask you to do a formal interview, you have the right to:

  • get legal advice before deciding whether to answer their questions
  • ask them to write down the questions for you or send them to you in a formal notice so you can have a chance to get legal advice and decide whether you want to answer the questions
  • have another person present if you choose to answer their questions – including an interpreter if you need one
  • be given a brochure about your rights – the brochure should include the Centrelink officer’s name and phone number.

A Centrelink officer does not have the authority to advise you that you will not face criminal fraud charges if you ‘tell them everything in full’.

Get help

Find out how you can get help with Centrelink.