CSA garnished my redundancy pay which was for my operation and have given me no time to respond

October 19, 2016

CSA garnished all my deposited redundancy monies from my bank account.

I recently received monies for outstanding GEERS Redundancy entitlements (approx $23k) that were owed from early 2012 due to the liquidation of my previous employer. I deposited the cheque into a new bank account on 29 Sept 2016. Checked my bank account this morning and all my funds were gone. My bank advised me that CSA had sent them a statutory compliance letter on 14 Oct 2016 to garnishee all the monies held in my account.

I have been unable to work since 2012 due to ongoing nerve deterioration in my left arm that requires further neurosurgery from an unsuccessful operation in early 2011. My inability to earn an income also led to my bankruptcy in Oct 2012. I have been relying on the payment of my redundancy to pay for a long awaited and much needed operation with the Neurosurgeon at a cost of $10k-$12k (quoted in 2012).

I rang CSA today further to a voice message left yesterday and they stated that they are within their rights to garnishee outstanding payments from a bank account or third party. They said they had been trying to contact me for 3 weeks with numerous phone calls and mail notification. I replied that I had received yesterday’s message and another voicemail in my saved messages from a week ago that I had accidentally saved without hearing and that I definitely have not received any letters as well as stating it has only been 2 weeks and not 3 weeks. The woman said that the file showed phone calls every second day but confirmed that only 2 messages were left.

I notified them that my redundancy payment after tax was mainly for unpaid wages, outstanding annual leave and approximately a third for redundancy. CSA have been getting regular payments from my Centrelink benefits as well as my past two tax returns. I argued that how can CSA garnish all my wages when they normally only take a percentage. She stated that they were unaware where the funds came from and that’s why they were trying to contact me. I replied that I am responding to the last voicemail within 24 hours but that CSA had already garnished all my funds. I also asked for the documentation to be forwarded to me and the operator declined!!!

Their final response was that I could only lodge an application of hardship grounds for my operation. Lodgement must be made by Friday (3 days) and include medical evidence from my GP as well as operation costs from the Neurosurgeon. I stated that it wasn’t enough time, as I had not received any letters such as Section 72A as I had received previously in relation to my tax returns. She also mentioned that I could apply for a stay order from the courts. I have left messages for 3 different lawyers today and something tells me CSA have not acted appropriately as my Bank has not received a Section 72A notice and my CSA case worker has not returned 2 of my calls this afternoon.

Any advice or suggestions would be very much appreciated.