Here we go again!

The Kids go off to school. 9am rolls around and I hit the phone. I’m determined to find out what went wrong with the CentreLink payment and fix it ASAP.

What I think has happened to stop payment

I had been contacting CentreLink complaining about the expenses I was suddenly exposed to due to their requirement that Single Parents lodge Fortnightly forms.

I had been informed by CentreLink, after numerous complaints (as the weeks went by) that I would no longer be required to lodge fortnightly forms.

I was told by CentreLink that I would be given an exemption to lodging these forms.

So as a result. I didn’t lodge the form they normally would have required on Monday. I had been told that I had been granted the exemption?

What CentreLink said had happened

Obviously I only thought I had an exemption. According to the CentreLink system. I did not. Or could not have an exemption.

The reason for this is due to the fact that I had not been initially correctly processed by the job search provider. Due to my house move my file had been returned to CentreLink unprocessed. Only the job search provider, according to CentreLink, can grant the exemption. So although CentreLink agreed I should have an exemption. I needed to be granted this by the job search provider. Or so it seems.

I missed an Interview with my Job Search provider?

But CentreLink and my Job Search provider knew I was in a highly unstable situation at the time they set the ‘appointment’ date. They knew I would be out of contact for a few days. I had told them my situation so as to avoid exactly what had transpired. AUGH!!

CentreLink Reinstate Payment

CentreLink agreed to re-instate my payment immediately. But demanded that I attend an interview on the 24th in Millicent with my job search provider for payments to continue.

CentreLink instructed me that my payment had been re-instated and would be in my bank on Monday the 22nd.

Payment delayed by 5 days

I protested that I needed some money before that date. They said that legislation will not allow them to process this any faster as 2 working days are required. Today is Thursday.

Im out of the basics. The weekend is coming. I don’t know how we are gonna do this. No milk. No butter. No bread.

I’m pretty angry about the fact someone at the Mt Gambier CentreLink had granted me an exemption. But then hadn’t made it happen.


They knew my situation. They gave no concession for the fact that I had just moved house. They knew (or should have realised) that I would be at my lowest financially at this time. This is how much CentreLink care about your circumstances. At my weakest they make my family go without for 5 days.

So I rang the Ombudsman. The Commonwealth Ombudsman is a complete pawn of John Howard. The Ombudsman will not lift a finger to help me.

Emergency Payment

But I am instructed that I should apply for an emergency payment and that due to my situation It should be ok. I asked the ombudsman to directly intervene but I was instructed basically that I had created enough work for them. (Still ongoing) So.. Go away..

  • shrug*

John Howards pawns. What would you expect? Justice? Fairness? Not likely..

So I called back CentreLink. Waited in the endless que. Listened to the plastic symphonys (designed to calm, but don’t)

Eventually I got to ask for an emergency payment. Back on hold. That hated musak again. Finally a reply.

Not an Emergency? Going without for 5 days?

No.. I am not eligable for an emergency payment. Because I am ‘responsible’ for the breach I’m told. Responsible for the breach?? How? I ask.

CentreLink explain to me that I have failed to respond to mail that they have sent c/o the post office at Millicent as I had nominated. True. I had missed the mail the week due to the post office being closed.

So now they are claiming that they had breached me due to not responding to a ‘request’ for me to attent a job provider interview that I knew nothing about.

They hadn’t ceased payment because I hadn’t returned the ‘form’ on Monday which under normal circumstances would have ensured payment on Wednesday. (That’s 2 Working days later)

Today is Thursday - You will be paid on Monday!

So the official CentreLink attitude after all this is…

CentreLink doesn’t care that you and your kids will now go without essentials for 5 days. They say “This is your fault for breaching our rules. Contact a welfare organisation every 2 days to sustain your lives. You will be paid 2 working days after we received your ‘request’ to be reinstated. We received that request today. Therefore you will be paid on Monday the 22nd”.

What does this 'cost' me to comply with CentreLink

But wait. Lets workout what CentreLink have ‘cost’ me so far over this:

  • Wednesday 17th - Wasted trip to Millicent - No funds available - $20 petrol
  • Friday 19th - Welfare Organisation for food - $20 petrol
  • Monday 22nd to finally do shopping - $20 petrol
  • Wednesday 24th Job Search Interview or Payments cease - $20 petrol

Note: Welfare Organisational policy at breaking point dictates only 2 days food per visit to be provided.

Now do you see why I get angry? Do you see the impossible situation? I am expected to have all this disposable income for fuel to run my car so I can comply with their ‘requests’. Otherwise… Well.. Lets just say the alternative is bleak.

So I end up borrowing money from people who need it back stright away when I get paid. :( Just to run my car. And then do it extra tough next week because of all the money CentreLink made me waste. This BS really stresses me out.

Howard is a Coward - He attacks the weakest members of our society

This is how Howard ‘manipulates’ legislation. Social Security Law clearly states that the Government are not allowed to create laws that place ‘undue financial preasure’ on people who are trying to comply with those laws.

Now do you see why I harp on about this?

What I and many other rural people are going through with CentreLink, is exactly what that paragraph in the Social Security Act is supposed to protect us from.

I have told this to the Ombudsman. That office has no interest in it.

Heartless System

So. At the end of it all. After all the BS and stress and rules and regulations. After the Ombudsman and being granted exemptions from lodging a forms. I still have to “Go Away. Wait till Monday for your cash.” If it wasn’t for the Welfare Organisations my little family would starve for 5 days.

Hey this ‘intensive assistance’ thing for people doesn’t seem to work at all. Does it? Nah.. Not for me.. It doesn’t matter what you tell CentreLink. They will follow their program. It doesn’t matter what CentreLink tell you either. Because that could be changed by the next person you speak to.

So welcome to CentreLink and welfare under John Howard.

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