Well.. I did it again. I forgot to lodge my 12 weekly form on time. It’s all my fault again. I must have some kind of mental block over it.

I WILL lodge the next form on time!!!! Grrrrr This is getting stupid now..

  • Calm Mode*

Remember the soft CentreLink on hold music.. sigh

dum de dum dah dah.. dum de dum dah dah.. dum de dum dee dahh dahh dahh.. dum de dum dah dah… (Auughh!! Screams)

Ok.. All is good again..

Wednesday rolled around again. I drove to Millicent. $6.65 in the bank? Hmmm (Oh no .. I bet I forgot to lodge the form again..) Attend the CentreLink agency in Millicent. Staff there contact CentreLink. Get told it was because the form wasnt logged in time. So get a form faxed thru. Fill it out. 2 day delay till payment. Should be in bank on Friday. I will need to ‘make do’ until Friday. (Thankfully I can..)

Friday morning. This time I’m checking my online bank ballance before heading to Millicent. Hmmm $6.65. The X is getting me to drive her (with the kids) to Mt Gambier today. So on the way through Millicent I recheck my bank ballance. $6.65.. Attend the CentreLink agency in Millicent and enquire as to what had happened to my payment?

CentreLink agency staff in Millicent inform me that the CentreLink computer systems have been down all day. They contact CentreLink Mt Gambier for me. The staff in Mt Gambier have no idea when the CentreLink systems will be available again.

I continue on my trip to Mt Gambier. When I got there I attended CentreLink. There were signs up everywhere saying that the CentreLink Computer System was offline. I spoke to a staff member who informed me that nothing could be done to assist me due to the fact that they were unable to verify my identity or entitlement without their computer system. The staffmember suggested that if I was to return after 3.00pm there would be a chance that their systems would be working by then.

I was not very happy by this point. I can see the long weekend looming. Signs are indicating a very bleak existance till Tuesday.

At 3.00pm I again attend CentreLink Mt Gambier to be greeted with the same environment as previously. It was quiet (like a library). Staffmembers indicate that their systems are still unavailable. I asked the staffmember what she expected people like myself to do faced with a situation like this? She suggested that I contact Family SA (State government aid agency). She advised me that she had sent quite a few other people there that day.

I attended the Family SA office. Told them how stupid I had been in not lodging my form the previous Monday. The staff realized that I was at the end of my financial tether so they allocated a $50 woolworths ‘card’ so that we could get some stuff to last the next 4 days.

  • $50 / 4 = $12.50 per day
  • $12.50 / 3 = $4.16 ea per day

We had such a great time on their generosity. It was a weekend to remember!! (Who says life is tough on low income? Bah humbug!)

Finally Tuesday rolls around. $6.65 in the bank still. sigh

Trying to call CentreLink on 136150 is hopeless. Engaged all the time. Eventually I decide to call their Customer Relations number 1800 050 004 (Burn that number into your head. Its the only one that isnt engaged all the time!!) Customer Relations staff had a record of the form being faxed to the Millicent CentreLink agency. But they had no record of a form being returned. So as far as they were concerned. I hadn’t lodged my form on Wednesday. Therefore I didn’t deserve payment. There was nothing wrong with the system at all. If I wanted payment. All I needed to do was lodge a form. (and wait another 2 days..)

I asked if they now expected me to travel to Millicent to relodge the form before I got paid. They informed me that was the only way that they would pay me. Even then I would have to battle the ‘Emergency Payment’ section to obtain payment within 2 days.

I went to Millicent and lodged the form. (what else can I do?) While there I called 1800 050 004 (cos all other numbers were busy still) To ask them what to do next to obtain payment asap. The told me that the form hadn’t turned up and to call them back in 1 hour.

1 hour later I again attended CentreLink agency Millicent. Called 1800 050 004 and was informed that the form still hadnt turned up. (By this stage.. I’d lost all my fight. I would have agreed to anything if they would just pay me) So they asked me to resend the form to a different fax number. They stayed on the phone while this was done. They then called the office where the fax machine was located to ensure that they had the form. They then keyed the form into the system. Finally the on hold music stopped and they told me I was back on the system and due for payment in 2 days.

Another 2 days delay? Isn’t there another way around this? Well yes.. I am told they will put me in the cue for ‘Emergency Payments’ but that I will probably not be offered a full payment. I will probably have to wait the full 2 days before I can obtain the rest of the payment. (Another trip to Millicent to pickup half a payment?? More wasted fuel.. More wasted money..

Eventually the ‘Emergency Payment’ staff member takes my call. He asks me what the emergency is? I inform him of my circumstances. So he says he must ask me exactly why I need a payment. So I tell him for food. And he says that needing food isnt considered an Emergency and that I am not eligable for an emergency payment.

My internal reactor goes supernova. As demand to speak to his supervisor.

The Supervisor’s programming is less severe than his underling, so I am able to obtain full payment immediately into my bank account.

Finally its over. I can pay Rent. Buy Food. (Some) Debtors got paid.

After speaking with CentreLink staff. I made accusations (thate were denied) that many people hadn’t been paid due to their system fault over this period.

Aparently extra staff was employed on Friday to ensure that people were paid their entitlements. (So I was informed)

Therefore this case shouldn’t be considered as typical of what happened to CentreLink customers on Friday 11th June.

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