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Growing Stronger Podcast Ep #14: Making Sense of Social Security

Posted on 20th August 2021
Catherine Henry Lawyers
Catherine Henry Lawyers

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Growing Stronger Podcast Ep 14 - Making Sense of Social Security

In episode 14 of our podcast, Growing Stronger, Tanya Chapman is joined by Michael Miller, financial adviser from Wealth Market, to discuss the complexities of social security.

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Guest: Michael Miller. Michael is a financial adviser at Wealth Market. Michael specialises in all areas of finance relevant to elder law including aged care and retirement villages, superannuation and SMSFs, retirement planning and – what we are looking at today – social security.

Case: Whitby and Secretary, Department of Health (Social Services) [2015] AATA 1026; Toms and Secretary, Department of Social Services [2014] AATA 285


While this podcast is aimed to be informative, it is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice. For any matter or case we discuss, we summarise, skip over parts that may be too technical or boring, and we generalise. You should still see a solicitor for complete advice that relates directly to your particular situation.


Michael got in contact with me to recommend the topic and the cases we are going to cover today. Michael does a lot of work on social security and how it ties in with aged care. Something that is incredibly complex and difficult to understand. So all the more important that we talk about it in this episode and try to make sense of it.

To do that, we’re going to look at a couple of cases where people were denied social security, appealed the decision and were successful.

Toms and Secretary, Department of Social Services [2014] AATA 285

Ms Toms was in a relationship with Mr D, what they would define as a “friends with benefits” relationship. However, when Ms Toms applied to Centrelink to receive the carer payment for looking after her mother, she was denied. Her application was refused on the basis that Mr D was in fact her de facto partner and needed to disclose his assets. He refused to do so stating that they were not in a de facto relationship. Were they a de facto couple or not?

Whitby and Secretary, Department of Health (Social Services) [2015] AATA 1026

In March 2015 Mrs Joyce Whitby was admitted to residential aged care. She paid a $300,000 refundable accommodation deposit. She borrowed $120,000 from her children to pay the deposit. When assessing how much Mrs Whitby had to pay in aged care fees, the Department had included the accommodation deposit as an asset but had not deducted the loan amount. Had they calculated her assets correctly?

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