Kids are at School.

CentreLink (After the move to 'Clovelly')

The 17th is stuck in my mind as being the day I HAVE to return a CentreLink form. Amazing that I even remembered this. They need me to report back to them what my earnings and/or work attempts have been over the last fortnight.

Limbo

This will be the 3rd form I am supposed to return. I am still in CentreLink limbo. They almost had me processed. But due to the house move. The Employment Agency that CentreLink selected to process me, returned my file to CentreLink due to inactivity in the timeframe allowed. (Because of the house move.)

Just Lodge the form!

So.. Instead of them re-initiating the processing. They are acting like it’s a done deal. So now they require me to complete this form and sign it and send it before I receive payment.

What happened to my interviews?

But.. I’m not playing their game. They initially indicated that I was to receive ‘intensive assistance’ with an exemption due to the low probability of finding available work in this area. But now they just send the forms and demand I fill them in. I was never instructed on my requirements? I have signed no compliance agreements?

Even though I was never instructed that fortnightly form lodgement was going to be a requirement by them.

Missing Exemption

I repeat. All I was ever told was that I will receive ‘intensive assistance’ and probably be granted an exemption due to my circumstances. ???

So I really wish they would play their own game properly. I’m getting a bit sick of pointing out the obvious to them. They need to finish processing me. Then they are playing by the rules. At the moment I’m in CentreLink limbo. (Read: Hell)

Lodge the CentreLink form

So I ring them up on the phone this morning. I identify myself to them and inquire what I can do about complying with their requirement of form lodgement. Well CentreLink have a variety of methods. Including Fax. After exploring all possibilities with the CentreLink staff member. She suggests that I should save a little money each week and buy a fax machine. But in the meantime. There is nothing they can do.

I will just have to attend Millicent or Beachport and lodge the form today if I want to receive payment on Wednesday like usual.

But isn't that requirement illegal?

Now there is a clause in Social Security Law that says the Government are not allowed to make laws that place people under “undue financial hardship”.

I pointed this out to the CentreLink staff member. That due to my home location. Having to travel 42 klms one way, just to lodge a form. Will force me to spend money I can ill afford to waste. I told her I consider this to be CentreLink placing me under ‘undue financial hardship’. Which is in breach of Social Security Law. But she was unmoved by my arguement. I told her that I would take this up with the Commonwealth Ombudsman. She invited me to do so. So I did.

Commonwealth Ombudsman

The Commonwealth Ombudsman said that this (again) was outside of their ability to respond or react to with 7 days as per legislation imposed upon them. They suggested I contact The CentreLink Customer Relations Unit. So I did.

Lip Service

The CentreLink Customer Service Unit staffmember listened to my story. She sounded like she understood where I was coming from. She indicated that she would advance the idea that remote rural people may need alternate legislation so as not to place them under ‘undue financial hardship’ from having to comply with this form lodgement rule.

She explored the possibility of being able to access a remote assistance benefit. But I dont live remote enough for that.

Remote Assistance

I laughed out loud when she said that. The kitchen windows look across the open paddocks for miles surrounding Clovelly. We dont have a mail delivery here. So I have to pay for a PO Box in Millicent.

We don’t have a garbage service here. So I have to spend money on petrol to take our rubbish to the dump in Furner periodically. My nearest town is 35 klms away. So anytime I need an item unexpectedly. I either go without or spend money on petrol.

I am 6.5 hours away of Melbourne. 4.5 hours away from Adelaide. No matter how many times I tell them otherwise. CentreLink think that Clay Wells is a suburb with shops. They have no concept of a locality without shops. The CentreLink staff are unable to find my location (without my help) on their computerised geo maps.

But this location still isn’t considered remote enough to qualify for their ‘Remote Assistance’. I See!!

Getting the Cash to Survive

But If I wanted my payment on Wednesday. I would still have to lodge my form today somehow.

Working out the Cost to Comply

So I bit the bullet. Made up my mind to lodge the form. So I took note of a few things:

  • It was 90 Klms round trip to Millicent.
  • The computer in the car reported that I used an average of 19.6 Litres of Petrol per 100 Klms.

So with the return trip. That adds up to 17.64 litres of fuel wasted on that one trip. At $1.26 per litre.. It cost me $22.23 to lodge that form.

This is an expense that I didn’t have to suffer before, due to the lodgement of fortnightly forms not being a requirment for Single Parents previously.

Moving house after informing CentreLink of every step

What is worse is that due to my not being correctly processed by CentreLink in the first place. (Because of loosing contact over what they considered to be a vital period in their timeframe for processing me into their new system)

What Interview?

I was unable to attend an interview that I hadn’t been advised of. Because Clovelly has no mail delivery - I am yet to organise the PO Box for Clovelly. I told CentreLink to send any correspondance C/O Millicent Post Office. Millicent Post Office was closed when I was last in Millicent. I assume this ‘request’ from my Job Search provider either at the Millicent Post Office or was sent to my old PO Box back at Beachport.

Failed to Comply

So over that ‘moving house’ period my ‘file’ was returned to CentreLink by my ‘Job Search’ provider because I failed to comply to a request as per CentreLink guidelines.

Lodge the form or you wont get paid..

So now because of all this. I find that continue to obtain money for my family to survive. I basicaly dont fill out anything on their form except for my signature.

But I must give them their form on the day they specify or my family WILL be expected to go without.

Head in the Sand

What is really annoying is that they knew I was under a lot of stress about finding a suitable house to move into. They knew I was right against the wire and almost at breaking point.

Am I offered an alternate method of compliance? Or given a slight time extension to enable my living arrangements to settle? Nope.

Adding Insult to Injury

So now, to add insult to injury, they want me to spend money to lodge a form with only a signature on it before I can obtain future money to feed us.

Who is Responsible?

Am I crazy or did this happen because they completely stuffed up processing me?

Sheeeet!! CentreLink under Howard, is annoying!!

Financially Worse Off

So basically it all boils down to the fact that as a direct result of them changing the requirement for Single Parents to lodge forms. I am $22.22 per fortnight worse off.

Why does 'Howard' instruct CentreLink to break the Law?

I thought there was a ‘clause’ in the legislation so that this couldn’t happen?? The Government under Social Security Law are not to create laws that have an ‘undue financial impact’ on people who receive a benefit.

Globalisation

Seems the Howard Government ignores the laws of this country. To futher it’s own adgenda? Whatever that is. From what I see. It’s a new new world order with George Bush at the top of the tree and Globalisation running rampant over all.














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