What pisses me off: Centrelink 49

What pisses me off

49


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I have been out of work for two years now and when the Census was being done I managed to get fieldwork because most young people did not want to do it. I worked bloody hard for a month and believe me, I earned the money I got.

I did all the right things and reported it all to Centrelink.

I had to do this three times because they’s the way it worked out with Centrelink. I didn’t earn enough to affect my pension.

The last time I earned money was about a month ago. Today when I went to pay my rent I had not had my pension put into the bank.

I called Centrelink and ended up in an argument with them because apparently I was ‘working’. Several times I had to explain that I was not working and had four weeks work in two years, which had been reported.

Eventually the girl on the other end of the phone got her supervisor to talk to me.

“You were supposed to report again this week,” the supervisor informed me.

What part of ‘I haven’t earned any money in a month’ not to mention ‘I have reported what I earned’ were they not understanding here?

After more than 20 minutes on the phone explaining this, it seems to have finally sunk in. Yet, according to them I was still required to report in for the week despite having completed my earnings.

I cannot understand how this makes sense! If no one had informed me of such a process how was I supposed to know? As far as I was concerned I had already reported my earnings.

Finally Centrelink advises that my pension will be put into my account, but not until the following Monday. Why? Because I should have reported money I didn’t earn during the week!

It’s too bad that my rent is due and I have to live pension to pension. Try telling my landlord that they won’t be getting their payment until after its due date.

They were not interested in my plight, but did have the courtesy of informing me that I no longer needed to report to them.

Report bloody what?! That I live on the poverty line.

Centrelink really pisses me off!

Have you ever had any dealings with Centrelink? What was the experience like? What things really grind your gears? Share your stories with us.

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Fran Spears

Born in 1953. Came to Hobart from the north west coast of Tassie to be closer to my son as I have mild chronic bronchitis. Mild and chronic in same sentence – even that makes me laugh. Have just completed and passed my diploma in Public Relations. Love to write and have lead a reasonably interesting life. My motto: "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn!"

  1. If you are on Newstart, yes that is what you have to do, you have a day to report your non earnings once a fortnight to get your payment that day is determined by Centrelink. If you are under 65 you have to either look for work or work voluntary for 15 hrs per week.

    1 REPLY
    • These are not a rorts, but is a good volunteer job for the 15 hours a week – your local Visitor’s Information Centre or a charity shop, such as Animal Welfare. Interesting that the 50-60 year olds have to do volunteer work for their money, but the young one’s don’t have to lift a finger.

      1 REPLY
      • Rubbish, if you’re under 30 you have to do 25 hours of “volunteer” work a week as well as your usual job applications. Once you’re over 30 it drops to 15.

  2. Unfortunately, you have to continue to report until you have had, I think it’s three reporting of nil income before there system takes you off the reporting requirement.

    2 REPLY
    • I guess the major difficulty is that the website lists this information in the sections on individual benefits. What would be really useful, is that when you login to your own page on the website, the current applicable reporting requirements for you were listed or even a required to report flag popped up.

    • Not true. I have been out of work for years & am nearly 65 & have to report every fortnight so i get paid. You do not have to do voluntary work but if you do 15 hours a week you don’t have to report.

      1 REPLY
  3. I think Telstra and Centrelink are related. Rules determined by morons, run by morons, who employ morons to “service” the public. I am on a pension, and only work cash in hand, and report nothing! Safer. Also no longer have any Helstra anything so I don’t have to deal with them either! The only redeeming factor is Centrelink at present employ mainly English speaking morons!

    7 REPLY
    • Do you think you should have put that out there…?

    • Hey Ted you know you have just told Centrelink you work cash in hand. 🙂

    • You are an idiot! They do monitor Facebook. Then again, why are you rooking the system. Others obey the system and struggle on legally. You are really frauding the Australian taxpayers. Not a good thing!!

    • These ‘morons’ as you call them are doing the very best they can under ever changing rules, reducing staff numbers and with a somewhat antiquated computer system. If you are working ‘cash in hand’ then you are actually rorting the system or should I say, stealing for the genuine taxpayer.

    • Unfortunately these public servants/morons are like computers….they do NOT have the capacity to think laterally.
      That said, you have to blame the poor downtrodden politicians who are only worried about saving a buck for their own pensions and their pals in business. These morons are not even capable of taking responsibility for their own incompetent actions, while we are supposedly paying top dollar to get the people of the right calibre into parliament.
      Go figure that one out!
      ISIS where are you???
      As for Telstra….let’s NOT go there!

    • Actually, I should have phrased that better. I don’t work at all, and what I meant to say was if i did, i would only work cash in hand. It is too complicated for Centrelink to work out complex figures such as how miniscule earnings affect your payments, as I have first hand knowledge of, before that glorious day I reached pension age!

      1 REPLY
    • As a relatively new aged pensioner I have very few “beefs” with the current system. I have found the staff in my local Centrelink office always helpful. It is so unkind to broadly label them all as morons. I guess you’ve had some bad experiences but they do a difficult job under rules that are often unhelpful.
      Rorting the system means that those who really do need the support of our public welfare system get less. You can earn quite a bit extra before it affects your pension in any substantial way.
      I find it hard to believe your return comment given the tone of your first comment Ted.

      1 REPLY
  4. My husband has not worked for around 12 months or so , he went to Centrelink and then had to go to an employment agency to look for work, he is 64 and still had to look for 20 jobs each month , what is so stupid is they know that no one will employ him as he retires in December but still this went on , it makes you wonder what sort of idiots run the place as they should be making the young people look for work, my husband worked in the mines for over 30 years and in a labourer ‘s job for 12 years and this is how he gets treated.

    4 REPLY
    • At his age Helen he should have been able to work at an Organisation on a “work for the dole” (not called that now but can’t think of the correct name” situation where you have to work for so many hours per fortnight.

    • They have to perpetuate the cycle to keep themselves in a job because all centrelink workers know they don’t want to be on the other side of the counter. Making everyone apply for so many jobs just means that every job has heaps of applicants, many of whom don’t really want or don’t have a chance of getting the job just applying to keep centrelink happy and it means genuine job hunters get lost in the sea of applications and it takes forever to find work.

    • Helen until you reach “retirement age” and can really retire you need to volunteer for a minimum of 15 hours a week to qualify for Newstart. There is a form you can download from their site, get the organisation to sign off and it’s a little like work for the dole. This way he won’t have to look for or apply for jobs that aren’t out there. Hubby and I were made redundant (me after 26 years) within 4 months of each other from the same employer. At 60 & 62 we couldn’t get work so now we volunteer two days a week, feel appreciated and worthwhile and don’t have to deal with the useless employment agencies. Just online tick a box reporting every fortnight and an annual refresh of the form.

  5. The left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing was told I didn’t have to notify Centrelink when I arrived back from an overseas holiday but when I arrived home there was a letter to say I had to notify them, after waiting 35 minutes on the phone I was told that I didn’t have to notify them as they knew I was back in the country from the information I had submitted before I left & through immigration. No wonder people get angry & frustrated with Centrelink.

  6. The left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing was told I didn’t have to notify Centrelink when I arrived back from an overseas holiday but when I arrived home there was a letter to say I had to notify them, after waiting 35 minutes on the phone I was told that I didn’t have to notify them as they knew I was back in the country from the information I had submitted before I left & through immigration. No wonder people get angry & frustrated with Centrelink.

  7. I retired 10 months ago & applied for the aged pension. I was granted the full pension & had received my first payment within 3 weeks. Since then I have only had one minor hiccup with my money, which was sorted to my satisfaction quickly. In all my dealings with Centrelink staff I have found them to be curteous and as efficient as their rules & regulations permit. The trick is to turn up early, dress smartly & be polite to the staff. In most cases they will treat you as you treat them.

    2 REPLY
    • I agree with Peter Cooper. As frustrating as the rules can be the trick is not to take it personally. I am now receiving Aged Pension and in the past have received Newstart while in between jobs and doing temp work as well. CentreLink have been excellent to deal with by phone and face to face. Mind you we all have off days 🙂

    • Peter is so correct. I have found it quicker and easier to go to my local office with any problems. If you turn up by 9am, the wait is not long and they can handle your query on the spot. So much easier that waiting on the phone for 45 minutes or more – that system relies on you getting fed up and hanging up.

  8. Have applied for a carers pension fof my mum, have been tl centre link three times ,the last time filled out more forms, that was in March, still have not heard a thing. Just very frustrating, I am not asking for a million dollars just enough to help with petrol as I too am a pensioner.

  9. Have applied for a carers pension fof my mum, have been tl centre link three times ,the last time filled out more forms, that was in March, still have not heard a thing. Just very frustrating, I am not asking for a million dollars just enough to help with petrol as I too am a pensioner.

  10. The problem is if you have lived in Australia most of your life and worked for most of that time you are treated poorly. If you arrive as a refugee or displaced person you seem to get looked after. I applied for the old age pension knowing I more than likely would not get anything. I had not had any dealings with Centerlink for the last 10 years and informed them of my new address when I completed the application. As I had not heard from them for several weeks I rang , and after at least 30 minutes was informed they had written to me at my previous address requesting more information and if I didn’t reply my application would be cancelled. Three visits late I got a phone call on my mobile informing me I was not eligible for any pension. All this could have been afforded if someone at Centerlink had taken the time to go through the information I provided and had decided I did not qualify. But no the application had to be completed sent of to Canberra and then rejected. I was then informed I could apply for a Commonwealth health card but not until the day I turned 65. Now even that is subject to review if I go over a certain income .

    My younger brother who is 61 worked most of his live except for the time he looked after his two sons after his wife died has been knocked back for the disability pension. He has had a triple by pass suffers from angina and last year smashed his ankle so bad has trouble walking was told he did not meet the 20 points required for any support. He has a detailed letter from his heart specialist detailing all his conditions and medications approximately $280 a month and he cannot even get a health card. He is currently living off 2 life insurance policies that fortunately have come due. The current situation is when his money runs out he can apply for newstart. Now lets be realistic any employee is going to take one look at him and seeing he is unable to walk 50 meters without taking his angina medication or worse collapsing they are not going to give him a job.

  11. When you have to report, etc is set down in legislation. If you want that changed, don’t have a go at Centrelink workers, get onto your local federal MP.

    If you are asked to put in a ‘nil’ earnings return, they will usually ask you do so for a certian amount of time.

    I worked at an election in 2012, and even though it was a once-off piece of work, I still had to report for the next 3 fortnights.

    When you put in any applications, it can take up to 12 weeks to assess.

  12. No wonder you were furious. You had a right to be! Seems to me you need to get to your local member and make him or her earn their salt. Centrelink has a wonderful system where they don’t tell you anything and you make the mistakes and then they punish you. Meanwhile, most of the dirty-toe, tattooed brigade are wandering around malls pushing babies in prams and getting paid for it.

    Write a well thought out but firm letter to your member.

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