Our website uses cookies to give you the best experience and for us to analyse our site usage. If you continue to use our site, we will take it you are OK about this. Click on More for information about the cookies on our site and what you can do to opt out.

We respect your Do Not Track preference.

Data matching

Annual Report

Purpose
: To identify current clients who leave for or return from overseas while receiving income support payments, and to assist MSD in the recovery of outstanding debts.

Customs disclosure to MSD: Customs provides arrival and departure information covering the week prior to the extraction date. Each travel movement record includes the traveller's full name, date of birth, gender, travel document number, country code and flight details.

Compliance: Compliant. 

Technical information
 

Information matching provision Customs and Excise Act 1996, s.280
Year authorised 1991
Year commenced 1992
Programme type Confirming eligibility
Locating people
Online transfers Yes

System description
Each day, Customs creates a file of passenger arrival and departure information and places it on a website within the secure Customs network. Each travel movement record includes the traveller's full name, date of birth, gender, travel document number, Citizenship code, and flight details.

MSD uses an encrypted communication session to access the Customs website and retrieve the file. Access to the Customs website is limited to specific MSD internet addresses to prevent access by unauthorised users.

MSD compares each traveller's name, date of birth, and gender with their beneficiary and student databases. Each positive match receives a rating ranging from match level one where the surname, first name, second name, and date of birth all agree, to match level 13 where there is a less exact match.

For matched individuals, MSD checks its records to see if there has been any reason given for the overseas travel.

In March 2009, MSD began using the authority granted under section 103(1A) of the Privacy Act to immediately suspend a Sickness, Unemployment, Emergency, or Independent Youth Benefit. For all other benefit types, MSD sends a s.103 notice and waits the required five working days before suspending a benefit.

The practice of immediately suspending benefits started at the same time as a new online query system enabling authorised MSD staff to verify Customs arrival and departure information.

Recent activity 
Table 1:  Combined working and non-working age client results 2009-2013, 2014/14 non-working age client results only (see table 2 for working age client 2013/14 results).  Daily processing commenced on 15 July 2013.

  2011/12  2012/13  2013/14  2014/15 2015/16
New match runs started in the reporting period          
Runs 53 53 353 365 365
Records received from Customs 10,071,923 10,135,233 10,574,589 11,110,147 12,003,927
Positive matches 52,775 47,926 20,888 17,495 17,984
All match runs active in the reporting period          
Legitimate records (no action needed) 22,367 16,709 10,688 9,649 10,279
Notices of adverse action 30,459 32,679 11,530 8,401 7,996
Overpayments established (number) 18,511 23,103 9,043 5,520 5,782
Overpayments established[1] $13,068,536 $13,363,129 $4,072,501 $2,238,870 $1,947,991
Arrears paid   1      
 Value of arrears paid    $377      
Successful challenges 147  146  89 48 67

Table 2: Working-age clients

Working age clients 2013/14 2014/15 2015/16
New match runs started in the reporting period      
Runs 350 365 366
Records received from Customs 10,059,530 11,110,147 12,030,438
Positive matches 97,637 57,318 57,867
All match runs active in the reporting period      
Legitimate records (no action needed) 1,196 1,755 2,086
Notices of adverse action 54,778 53,053 52,900
Overpayments established (number) 2,349 2,214 2,441
Overpayments established[2] $160,971 $135,845 $159,220
Successful challenges 22 8 20

Debt recovery notification results
On 30 May 2011, MSD started using information received through this programme to assist it in the recovery of outstanding debts. The notifications enable MSD to re-establish contact with former clients and to maintain accurate contact information.

 

2011/12

2012/13 

2013/14 

2014/15

2015/16

Notifications received

84,696

1,516 

1,778 

1,926

3,674

Notices of adverse action

1,880

755 

535 

400

626

Challenges

0

5

0

Debtors under arrangement to pay

197

40 

52 

57

155

Balance owed under arrangement

$563,570.02

$354,187 

$457,740 

$729,821

$3,042,349

Total recovered

$98,015.25

$50,202 

$209,870 

$96,545

$121,682


[1] Overpayments are the number of cases where an individual received a payment when not entitled. The total debt established includes overpayments and any penalties assessed.
[2] Overpayments are the number of cases where an individual received a payment when not entitled.  The total debt established includes overpayments and any penalties assessed.