By Luke Henriques-Gomes

"Absurd and wrong":

Centrelink cancelled aged pension for 80-year-old with dementia

David Fry lives in an aged care home and was judged to be “mentally incapacitated” after he was discovered driving on the wrong side of the road.

The pension had been suspended because his legal guardian failed to update financial details. It was ultimately cancelled after Centrelink wrote to Fry saying that they “did not receive a reply to the income stream review letter we sent you”.

But the Administrative Appeals Tribunal said that the letter had no legal effect because the agency knew Fry “did not have the mental capacity to be aware of, let alone respond to, the requests”.

Centrelink had the powers to obtain information directly from a person's financial institution but did not do so, instead opting to cancel Fry’s age pension.

Centrelink also argued Fry should not get backpay for the period he was without the pension because the cancellation was not appealed within 13 weeks.

The tribunal ruled against Centrelink, as there was evidence Fry's guardian had called the agency three times.

Andrew Wilkie
Independent MP

Maybe taxpayers should suddenly and arbitrarily stop paying the minister responsible for Centrelink from time to time because that looks like the only way to jolt some sense into the government.

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