People in the Loddon Campaspe region now have more access to legal help with Centrelink problems. Victoria Legal Aid has set up a free legal service, based at its Bendigo office, to help residents understand and take up their rights in dealing with Centrelink.
Lawyer Rosalinda Casamento, who specialises in Centrelink legal problems, is available by appointment to give free advice to people who are concerned about a decision made by Centrelink. This can include situations where a person has been refused a benefit or had their payment reduced, has been told they have been overpaid, or is being investigated by Centrelink.
Rosalinda said people in regional areas found it more difficult to get affordable legal help with their Centrelink issues.
‘People sometimes feel helpless when they’re notified of a Centrelink decision and may not realise that they have a right to ask for a review of the decision,’ she said.
‘Centrelink’s own research shows that in around a third of cases, its original decision is overturned at review, so it is worth getting some advice if you think Centrelink has got something wrong or has treated you unfairly.’
Rosalinda said dealing with Centrelink’s systems and processes were often confusing and difficult for ordinary people to understand.
‘It’s very easy to make a mistake and the consequences can be very serious with benefits reduced or stopped or even leading to criminal charges,’ she said.
To make an appointment contact Victoria Legal Aid Bendigo on (03) 5448 2333 or toll-free 1800 254 500.
2013 Appointment Dates
Rosalinda will be in Bendigo on the following dates:
- 25th June
- 23 July
- 20th August
- 17th September
- 15th October
- 12th November
- 10th December
To find out more about VLA 0utreach lawyers who help with Centrelink legal problems in other locations, contact VLA’s free Legal Help phone service: (03) 9269 0120 or 1800 677 402 (rural areas), 8.45 am to 5.15 pm weekdays or visit the Victoria Legal Aid website.