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COA not recorded?

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COA phonecall mis advided

I have just been through a COA. My financial situation is complex which involves investment properties, parental loans etc.

I had been planning to submit a COA 6 months ago. this had been filled out but I left it as had been told that no one wins against CSA no matter what circumstances are.

Due to mounting financial pressure I decided to go through with the COA. I acquired a new form and filled it out. By mistake I delivered the old COA form to the office of CSA in Perth. The next day I realised my mistake and delivered the up to date form to CSA first thing in the morning. i explained to the receptionist the mistake that i had made and requested that she copy and fax this document of to QLD to the assessment team as well as give a copy to my case manager and explain the mistake.

Not long after I received a call from assessment SCO. she wanted to verify the the information.Shortly into the call I realised she was looking off the old document. I asked her to verify the date. from this I confirmed it was incorrect and that a second form had been faxed to her assistant the very next day and CSA Perth should have explained the situation. i tried to explain the mistake but she brushed me off. I had close to 100 sheets of paper (including itemised bank statements ). She was flustered with the number of papers and made the comment that I didn't need to provide everything. after our conversation she asked for some more details including payslips which CSA Perth had failed to send. She implied that this was my mistake.

A couple of other issues were raised that required me to send more documents. She told me she didn't want pages and pages sent as we had discussed these over the phone. under her instructions I kept the paperwork to what was a minimum. I asked her specifically what information I needed to provide. She gave me a very brief list which I was able to have faxed to her.

Upon receiving my COA (which was rejected), the SCO kept referring to the fact that I had submitted two applications and as they were so different she had doubts as to the integrity of the information. This has been explained to CSA Perth who assured me they would relay the info to the assessor ( they obviously didn't). i had also briefly explained the situation to the SCO along with CSA Perth's intent to inform her, which she brushed me off.

The SCO also kept referring to the fact that I Had not supplied enough information to verify my claim and this was one of the reasons for the rejection.

I was misled into believing I had more than enough information to make the assessment and it seems the SCO was too lazy to go through any more documents than I had first given.

This lead to a couple of questions.

1.Are these conversations recorded

2. what is the best path to take when I have been clearly misled by a Lazy SCO.
Yes, the conversation should have been recorded.

You should first lodge an Objection to the COA decision:
http://www.csa.gov.au/publications/1313.aspx

This may or may not get your situation fixed but if not, you will be able to appeal the Objection decision to the Social Security Appeals Tribunal.

You should also lodge a complaint against the SCO who "Brushed you off" with the CSA Complaints department.
Call the CSAs Complaints Service on 132 919* and speak to a Complaints Resolution Officer.

If you have been unable to resolve a complaint with the CSA you may wish to contact the Commonwealth Ombudsman. The Commonwealth Ombudsman consider and investigate complaints from people who believe they have been treated unfairly or unreasonably by an Australian Government department or agency.
 Call 1300 362 072 or visit www.ombudsman.gov.au



Your Federal Member of Parliament might be able to help.

Perhaps you should send the details of your situation and your treatment to the Federal Minister
http://www.jennymacklin.fahcsia.gov.au/Pages/default.aspx

http://www.fahcsia.gov.au/sa/childsupport/overview/Pages/default.aspx
I would also say that it is, for legal purposes, legitimate to make your own recordings. If you do then you also have no legitimate requirement to inform the other party, the CSA, that you are making the recording. To inform them often only results in the CSA putting the phone down or putting you on hold etc. You can also insist that contact not be via the phone and thus that all communications are in writing.
This is a classic example of how C$A uses the phone to control clients and outcomes and not having to be accountable due to no paper trail.

I would recommend that you do not take the advice given by seriously and that you only correspond with them in writing in all matters.

Only use the phone for general enquires.

To deal with this I believe you should do the following:

Write a letter of complaint to the C$A outlining that you believe that you were mislead by this employee. Refer to the values and code of conduct outlined by the Australian Public Service Commission explaining how this employee failed to establish the facts, or did not act according to the law, or was not sensitive in their use of powers, or lacked procedural fairness in their dealings.

Tell them they have 28 days to respond to your letter and that you will refer the matter to the Commonwealth Ombudsman and the minister for human services if they fail to do so.

Don't expect much to come of your complaint as they will back their employees regardless and they have no problems in saying sorry.

However if you had been dealing with them in writing then you might have some actual evidence that you can hold them accountable for.

Keep all paper work for a future claim against them for defective administration. You can claim loss of income or entitlement or any loss due to having to deal with them.

The complaint will serve as a reminder to the minister and Commonwealth Ombudsman that there are issues with C$A that need to be dealt with.

Regarding your financial situation, perhaps people on here can help you flesh it out so you can decide on the best course of action.

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