When Sandy first presented to the BRQ she was very distressed – her partner had died without leaving a will and she was struggling to wind up his affairs.

Sandy came to BRQ because Centrelink had told her that she could no longer continue to receive Family Tax Benefit due to the number of her late partner’s outstanding tax returns. The Australian Tax Office indicated to Sandy that she needed to obtain Letters of Administration from the Supreme Court to have authority to deal with the outstanding tax returns.

Even if Sandy could get a waiver of the Court filing fee she had no way to afford the advertising necessary to make the application to the Court.

A BRQ worker advocated on Sandy’s behalf and Centrelink agreed that provisions protecting individuals from Family Tax Benefit debts after relationship breakdowns should be exercised in her favour. With the threat of a sizable social security debt gone, Sandy was later able to advocate on her own behalf to the Australian Tax Office to find a way to wind up her late partner’s tax matters without the need to make an application to the Supreme Court.