You do not have to disclose your HIV status to Centrelink but there are a number of situations where it would be to your benefit to tell them. These are:
- if you wish to claim Disability support Pension or sickness allowance because you are unable to work due to an HIV related illness.
- if you are receiving Youth or Newstart allowances and want to be exempted from activity testing because you are sick with an HIV related illness.
- if you have a carer who wishes to claim carer Payment or allowance on the basis that they provide care for you because of your HIV related illness.
- if you are currently receiving a Centrelink payment and you experience a ‘change of circumstance’ relating to your HIV
- if you are asking for special treatment from Centrelink because of your HIV status. for example, if you want Centrelink to waive recovery of an overpayment because of the special circumstances of your illness.
If you tell Centrelink your HIV status for the purpose of receiving a payment or special treatment, you may be required to undergo a medical examination or provide medical evidence from your own doctor. If you are reviewed by Centrelink or have other contact with them, they may ask you questions relating to your HIV status. The questions are not always relevant or necessary and you may or may not wish to answer them. If you feel uncomfortable about any of the questions you don’t have to answer and can refer the officer to the information already on your file.
Centrelink cannot disclose your information to third parties without your consent except in certain limited situations.
Source: HIV/AIDS Legal Centre, Sydney http://halc.org.au/publications/guides-to-hiv-and-the-law/