9th Mar 2018
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Unanswered calls not a staffing problem: Centrelink
Author: Janelle Ward
Unanswered calls not a staffing problem: Centrelink

Almost one-half of the 3000 respondents to a YourLifeChoices survey over the past week say the Age Pension is too complicated to understand properly.

If these people were attempting to contact Centrelink for information, they may well have got only a busy signal, with the Department of Human Services admitting that 33 million calls to Centrelink between July 2017 and January this year went unanswered. That was an increase of nearly 550,000 on the same period in 2016-17.

The numbers were revealed at a Senate estimates hearing last week.

Labor Senator Lisa Singh also referred to figures showing the length of wait times for callers. She said that in the 2016-17 financial year, 339,000 Centrelink clients had waited for more than 30 minutes and 167,000 waited for more than an hour.

Private multinational contractor Serco took over the department’s call centre work last October in a three-year pilot program that is costing the Government $51.7 million. Serco staff take calls relating to online support for myGov, general online support, questions around BasicsCards and reporting of employment income.

The department says staff cuts are not to blame but rather complex call-queueing technology. It says the problem is improving.

“The idea that this is occurring because we are reducing staff on the phones is not accurate,” Department of Human Services secretary Renee Leon told the hearing.

“I think there’s a reduction of a few hundred in the past year, and that's been only because we really took a big attack on processing backlogs. That meant we shifted the balance of staff between phones and processing for a particular period at the beginning of this financial year.”

She said problems with technology and auto-dialling calls from phone apps were responsible.

Ms Singh told the hearing the figures showed Centrelink needed more staff.

“It does show the fact Centrelink is under-resourced and understaffed because for the last three years, you’ve had the same problem,” she said.

Greens Senator Rachel Siewert added: “Yes, there are problems with the technology, but it is a multifaceted problem and more broadly, the department needs more resources to cope with this issue.”

Have you tried to call Centrelink recently? Did you get through or been left on hold?

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    COMMENTS

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    Ironman162
    9th Mar 2018
    10:15am
    I have had no problems with getting through to Centerlink at all! Granted, calling is my last option after doing as much as I can on line.
    Even when I go into the Centerlink office I'm normally seen within 30 minutes and the problem is normally addressed promptly.
    I think perhaps Centerlink likes me :) don't know why others are struggling so much! Might help to be less abusive and remember Centerlink is there to help you....
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    9th Mar 2018
    10:39am
    I know many who have had the opposite experience, and I can guarantee they have never been abusive, Ironman162. That said, I think some Centrelink offices do better than others. I live in a rural area where the staff are very diligent and helpful, but when a matter goes to a city office, everything goes awry.
    Cowboy Jim
    9th Mar 2018
    11:36am
    I go to an office where they deal only with OAPs and general Medicare issues, no job seekers spilling out of the office. Have been advised by Centrelink in our town to go a step further (25 km) and just deal with that office and I have never regretted it.
    Tib
    9th Mar 2018
    12:11pm
    Im Sure Centrelink likes you. Because you probably work there.
    TREBOR
    9th Mar 2018
    1:15pm
    Yes - the issue is about people trying to call online. Many people are restricted in access for many reasons so must use a phone. The nearest Colonel C'link office from here is nearly an hour's drive away and many older people don't do that.

    Add to that the nastiness of the automated billing for unproven over-payments and such - well - nobody blames the staff for faulty systems, but people have the right to access to resolve problems and it is natural that some will turn bitey and snappy.
    Rae
    9th Mar 2018
    10:27am
    I only tried ringing once back in 2015 to ask a question about the income test changes.
    50 minutes to answer, nobody knew anything so I was put on hold for another 40 minutes while they asked around but then just cut off.
    Since the population is doubling and tripling or more in some areas you'd expect more staff.

    The Federal Government know there is close to 300 000 new immigrants and 311 000 births last year but aren't increasing staff or building new Centrelink offices.

    It's like a denial that with visa workers and tourists you can have an extra million or so people every year but the current infrastructure will somehow absorb that. Crazy.

    I now have no plan to ever deal with Centrelink and am back to frugal saving and investing for extra income myself.

    I also think throwing money at Serco a bad idea. This near hundred year old huge Corporation has never made a profit and doesn't pay taxes and has a pretty ordinary track record when involved with anything to do with welfare services.
    Ronnie
    9th Mar 2018
    11:06am
    Depending on the time i call changes the length of time I have to wait..... I try and ring 11 ish or about three. I can wait from 5 minutes to 50 minutes. BUT I know that the wait might be long so to me, if you have a cordless phone with speaker, there's no reason to sit in the same spot waiting for someone from Centrelink to talk to for nearly an hour. You can still cook and clean or read a magazine or the news paper. IF your question is urgent and you can drive or catch public transport get off your butt and go in! Centrelink has a great system, you go in wait in a queue, you don't have to wait that long, sometimes I wait in the queue 10 to 15 mins because alot of peoples questions are dealt with in a couple of minutes where as the ones that have complex queries are normally asked to take a seat and wait for your name to be called to get a one to one meeting. What bugs me with all the whingers, whether your on the dole or on a pension is.... We get paid for waiting on line, we get paid for waiting in a queue, some people just love to complain about anything! If you can get to Centrelink, just do it , leave the phone lines free for the people who have no car or cant get on a bus due to being disabled. So many people think that Centrelink should have a Customer Service person for every person that calls them. Your being paid for for waiting, so stop complaining.
    Woff
    9th Mar 2018
    11:45am
    It's all very well to say stop complaining and go to a Centrelink office. I've tried that several times only to be told nobody there knows anything about my question and I need to call. It wasn't a difficult question either - can you tell me how my OAP amount has been calculated?

    Fortunately one time I went for something else and thought I'd ask again and this time the person I saw was able to tell me - and it was a pretty straight forward answer. Either more training is required for the current staff, or additional, better trained staff are required.

    Expecting someone to wait on the phone for 30+ minutes is just ridiculous
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    9th Mar 2018
    2:46pm
    My daughter went to a C/link office with a 7 month old baby just released from neonatal intensive are, tube fed and on oxygen. She waited 7 hours, only to be told to go home and come again next day because they didn't have enough staff to attend to her. This is appalling! She tried to make an appointment but was told, ''no, sorry, you just have to check in and get a ticket and wait to be called.''
    VeryCaringBigBear
    9th Mar 2018
    3:25pm
    Another pork OGR as who would even take such a baby out with all those bugs they could catch. No one who had any sense of responsibility for such a child.
    TREBOR
    9th Mar 2018
    5:06pm
    No personal slights, please..... this is the war room - you can't fight in here!
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    10th Mar 2018
    5:34pm
    She had no choice, VeryUNCARINGandABUSIVEBigBear. She was desperate for whatever financial help she could get to pay massive medical bills and for ongoing specialist treatment and therapies for a needy child. And the C/link office was full of babies whose mothers were there for the same reason.

    9th Mar 2018
    11:27am
    I was a Centrelink yesterday, seeking an assets review, as I have a portfolio of shares that have declined in value over the last 12 months. The staff member I was seen by had not a clue about the share market, and at one point had me off the pension totally, and owing thousands in overpayments. I supplied detailed paperwork, and my circumstances are made a bit more complicated because I use a margin loan facility. Well, you would think I had come from Mars, was the reaction of the staff. I was also informed that I am supposed to advise Centrelink within 14 days, every time I buy or sell a share - I would be there every week under those circumstances. More staff training is what I believe should be happening, and I think it is unrealistic of Centrelink staff to expect we, the members of the public, to be aware of all that we should or shouldn't be advising them of. I have seen many staff over the last three years about my assets, and this is the first time it has been mentioned that I am supposed to advise of chnges to my portfolio within two weeks of it happening. I bet many of you are active shre traders - how do you address this problem?
    TREBOR
    9th Mar 2018
    1:19pm
    Well - they're not accountants in the main, just clerical functionaries with a fairly limited prepertroire (I like that word - just key-stroked it into existence) of training, and your particular situation requires someone with specialised knowledge and training.

    You are right about the 'order of battle' - there is a need for specialised staff, more of.
    TREBOR
    9th Mar 2018
    1:20pm
    Damn - that's prepertoire ... (bloody keyboard)... poor workman always blames his tools...
    VeryCaringBigBear
    9th Mar 2018
    3:27pm
    Even though you are asked to notify such changes they onlky devalue your assets twice a year. I don't even bother now as they already know.
    Sundays
    9th Mar 2018
    5:34pm
    Big Al, we were told to advise within 14 days if there was a change of $2,000 or more. When that happens, I just do it online
    Rae
    10th Mar 2018
    6:48am
    I know an elderly man who trades frequently and writes it up every evening and posts it to Centrelink. It must drive them crazy.

    The cost of monitoring the asset and income tests is insane really.

    Typical post colonial penal settlement stuff.
    leek
    10th Mar 2018
    9:28am
    Big Al- you can make changes to your shares ONLINE. I am changing my assessts all the time online- it is easy peasy! Getting online is really really easy now. I saw all these oldies using Ipads when I went on a group tour to Vietnam last year, and recently bought one. Computers and Ipads are super cheap to buy now. There is like FREE WII FII EVERYWHERE now. You can buy an Ipad and get the centrelink APP, go to Mcdonalds, sit there and update your shares whilst having a coffee- Easy Peasy!!! When you buy the Ipad, ask the person to put the centrleink app for you. My guy did that put all these apps on there for me, my kids then added other ones for me as well. I don't have an Iphone, or I could also do the centrelink stuff on a phone.
    leek
    10th Mar 2018
    9:33am
    HA HA. I am in idiot- you are online- Sorry, I am super dumb
    leek
    10th Mar 2018
    9:35am
    Bi al- yep so get a My GOV account, and link in centrelink and then do it all online. It is through My Profile, then another click for Assessts. You will them see your shares, and you can updated them.
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    10th Mar 2018
    5:38pm
    And MAYBE, if you are lucky, C/link will actually process what you upload, and not ignore it and then claim it wasn't submitted.
    VeryCaringBigBear
    11th Mar 2018
    11:53am
    Never uploaded anything and never had a problem with Centrelink. They just adjust my assets twice a year and are only a few dollars out.
    Roscoe77
    9th Mar 2018
    11:34am
    Just another reason to bring in a universal wage for everyone and do away with the problems trying to call Centrelink.
    Cowboy Jim
    9th Mar 2018
    11:44am
    Universal pensions are often advocated in these spaces but in the countries where they apply I found that one also needs a work history and not just residential qualifications. Here you can get the full pension without ever having done a day's work. In my birthplace you
    might be lucky to get a cashless card and your expenditure is monitored. Even in the UK you had to get stamps from your pay deduction every week in your pay envelopes. It has been more than 40 years and I lost the stamps book - so definitely no pension from the UK.
    casey
    9th Mar 2018
    12:01pm
    You are wrong there Cowboy Jim. I have been in this country for 49 years. Wasn't ellegible for an Australian pension, I do however now get a part pension from the UK and I only worked there for 5 years.
    Cowboy Jim
    9th Mar 2018
    12:07pm
    Yeah Casey - agree with you. I get a small pension out of Switzerland as I still had the papers from there but not the ones from the UK. Also I did not do more than 18 months' work in the UK, so most probably would be too little anyway.
    George
    9th Mar 2018
    7:28pm
    To get back to your point, Roscoe77, YES, Universal Pension is now the only solution as no one will agree with any other solution. I and others have advocated it, a few times, and recently a few days ago I suggested a draft letter to be sent to all your respective MPs. It must be pushed hard by Retirees otherwise politicians will not wake up - threats are needed, followed by action to turf out each one of the current seat-warmers who are themselves not affected.

    As I also noted, Centrelink is NOT NEEDED to administer an Universal pension - huge cost savings for the Govt.
    leek
    10th Mar 2018
    9:41am
    Hear Hear Rosco77
    jackie
    9th Mar 2018
    11:55am
    I remember a time when it was bad for business to not pick up a call after more than three rings. Times have changed. Privatisation certainly never made things better as promised This is just another phurphy being spun to the public.
    Knows-a-lot
    9th Mar 2018
    3:16pm
    Thank the political Rightards for that...
    Rosret
    9th Mar 2018
    6:34pm
    Ah its only bad for business when you are going to invest in them. They are handing out money so just like insurance companies - its only 3 rings to purchase a policy but be prepared to be on that phone forever when you need to claim.
    As far as Centrelink goes - if you fail to notify them of a change because you couldn't get through - they will fine YOU!
    Tib
    9th Mar 2018
    12:13pm
    Terrible service. No excuse for it.
    Nicko
    9th Mar 2018
    12:23pm
    To visit a Centrelink office requires this regional client to drive 130kms which is sometimes quicker than waiting in a phone cue. Here's a novel thought, how about sacking technology and training and employing more people. One way of reducing unemployment. Even mouldy oldies like me can answer a phone.
    Knows-a-lot
    9th Mar 2018
    3:17pm
    ... phone QUEUE ...
    tj
    9th Mar 2018
    4:46pm
    Knows, your nick name suits that reply
    *Imagine*
    9th Mar 2018
    12:33pm
    $51,700,000 to run a call centre to deal with queries regarding an over complicated welfare system. If we had any brains at all running this complicated, inequitable, unfair, dogs breakfast of a system, then we would be putting the $M52 towards simplifying the system to a level where everybody could understand it. But this would reduce the number of calls, so the Govt mates at Serco, a company involved in our prisons, detention centres and rail network would reap fewer profits from the AUS taxpayer. Are we stupid or what?
    George
    9th Mar 2018
    1:12pm
    Yes, disgusting ideology-driven approach - replacing good staff with bad outsourced company with bad systems! This Govt needs a firm response from voters - OUT WITH THEM. But, careful, is Labor promising to get Serco out - haven't heard it yet?
    So, vote them BOTH out for getting the situation to this point.
    TREBOR
    9th Mar 2018
    1:25pm
    Nah - as usual Labrador is conspicuously silent on the real issues that plague the many - their heads are in the clouds of sweeping social reforms for gays, women, ethnic groups, and so forth - there is no time for the cut and thrust of everyday life in a failing and deliberately sabotaged economy. That kind of discussion and work is best left to the lower ranks of the Socialist parties - the commos, the Nazis, you know - those with the activist genes.
    Knows-a-lot
    9th Mar 2018
    3:22pm
    TREBOR, at least the ALP doesn't have its collective head up the fundament of the rich. As for "deliberately sabotaged economy", who did that? The Lieberal-Hillbilly COALition, that's who. And there's nothing wrong with a Socialist ethos: without it, there'd be no Centrelink in the first place. Thank God for Labor.
    TREBOR
    9th Mar 2018
    5:11pm
    Yes - I agree - but they are still wedded to 'globalism' as the saviour of every economy.. utter nonsense ... globalism is a black hole that sucks everything good into it.

    The economy ha been driven down the wrong path for years, basing itself on 'service industry' - and I never forget Saint Julia's facile comment that 'Asians will become middle class consumers of high quality finished goods' - nice sounding phrase to offer hope and appear statesmanlike (oops) statespersonlike - but we make no 'high quality finished goods' any more so it was a dumb thing to say and showed how out of touch politicians are.

    It seems to me that both sides of The Tag Team have been caught napping by reality changes in the world.... I do hope my prediction of a WW III does not come about...
    dreamer
    9th Mar 2018
    12:51pm
    When I go to Centrelink I go at 0730 am they open at 0830 if you go after 1100 you will be waiting for a couple of hours if your lucky, I normally wait 1 hour to 1.30 hrs to get through on the phone but I am still waiting for 3 calls from them for last month they are useless they are public servants and they know they don't get paid for production and ironman 162 and thats what happens when you are polite
    Old Man
    9th Mar 2018
    12:57pm
    People who contribute to this forum have a definite advantage. We can work with computers and the intricacies of the Internet. There is a lot of aged pensioners who don't have that advantage and may not live close to a Centrelink office so have to resort to telephones. The people who make decisions about who will be likely to contact Centrelink and the method of contact are, most certainly, people who have grown up with computers and have no idea how complicated they can be for some elderly people. I'm sure that staffing is based on a theoretical model devised by computer savvy people who have forgotten, or completely disregarded, the number of aged pensioners who need to contact Centrelink by telephone.

    The spin doctors have been at work here as the blame for missed calls has been blamed on the system, the modern mobile phones and "modern technology" (whatever that means). Reading between the lines, it seems that the government couldn't handle the problem and hired a private contractor, Serco, who further reduced the staff to make a profit and the system has deteriorated further. This has become a PR exercise by all parties with government blaming Serco, Serco blaming the system and, meanwhile, those people who need to contact Centrelink are being ignored. No wonder people are accused of rorting the system. They can't get through to advise of a change in circumstances.
    TREBOR
    9th Mar 2018
    1:27pm
    Ban Serco for a start. Again 'private enterprise' is not shown to be more efficient and cost and user friendly.
    AutumnOz
    9th Mar 2018
    1:59pm
    Old Man, it is not only difficulty in navigating the myGov website that stops a lot of elderly people but also the fact their computer is an older model and cannot pick up some of the stuff on the website. My computer is an older model and I found difficulty even getting onto the website.
    Having phoned Centrelink and waited almost one hour for a person to speak to so they could answer a fairly simple question some idiot told me I would have to update my computer and use the website.
    Then they hung up.
    Going to a Centrelink office is difficult and there is little parking in the vicinity an no public transport from our area to town.
    George
    9th Mar 2018
    1:06pm
    What pathetic excuses from the Department Secretary for a below-pathetic performance! She needs to be sacked immediately, along with all those who implemented the technology solutions - DON'T BLAME TECHNOLOGY, blame the morons who manage / implement these. They should have adequately tested everything before implementation.

    Also, it is disgusting that they replaced the GOOD staff of Centrelink who always do well on phones (once you get them) with the Serco mercenaries.
    TREBOR
    9th Mar 2018
    1:11pm
    I don't recall anyone 'attacking' Centrelink staff over this farce - only the organisation over its inability to handle its job.

    What a ridiculous ploy - to try to make this often deceitful and utterly self-centred government organisation into a Prince Charming heroically defending the very staff it puts in the cannon's maw.

    It won't wash - lift your organisation's game and ensure your staff are enabled to do their jobs properly - and don't get any grand delusions of moving over to Serco, either.
    George
    9th Mar 2018
    1:13pm
    Heads need to roll - starting at the top!
    TREBOR
    9th Mar 2018
    1:28pm
    Yes - the buck stops with the top. Think how much an exit package for Fat Hank will cost the taxpayer.......
    Charlie
    9th Mar 2018
    1:14pm
    Referring things to call centres as mentioned above, is a real cop-out.

    They are all doing it, Telstra, Woolworths, McDonalds. The complainant can lay out everything quite clear in writing, then the call centre person phones with no copy of the complaint.

    So everything gets confused trying to explain something complicated to a person who speaks broken english with an overseas accent. Not slow, but trice as past as they need to.

    9th Mar 2018
    1:17pm
    it’s been privatized to Servo now , so service will improve dramatically
    No more lazy public servants manning the phones
    TREBOR
    9th Mar 2018
    1:28pm
    Thanks for the laugh......
    Rae
    9th Mar 2018
    1:35pm
    A company unable to make a profit for 90 odd years and with several very bad failures. Let's wait and see.

    All this contracting to overseas Corporations is messing badly with our balance of payments as well.

    When is the government going to provide the increased infrastructure for the population explosion we're currently experiencing?

    We need more offices and staff and yet they cut staffing as population grows and baby boomers hit retirement. It's insane.
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    9th Mar 2018
    2:48pm
    OMG, Raphael! And you want to hand all the work done by volunteers to private enterprise, and you claim private enterprise is the solution to low wages and poor economic growth. Yet you endorse a company that hasn't made a profit for 90 years and has a history of failure. Geez! I'm glad you are not running the nation!
    Knows-a-lot
    9th Mar 2018
    3:27pm
    Privatization is, and always has been, a Right-wing disaster.
    VeryCaringBigBear
    9th Mar 2018
    4:45pm
    Atleast with some one professional running tbe system you have a better chance of getting the facts right and not getting guessing answers like one used to get only to ring again and get a completely different guessing answer neither of which was right. That what you also get from most volunteers too.
    Anonymous
    9th Mar 2018
    4:48pm
    Just look at all the naive and biased comments

    Serco has contractual service standards dead’s it has to meet
    Unlike lazy public servants who have no accountability , if Servo doesn’t perform , there will be penalties and consequences including loss of co tract where renewal options should not be exercised and the contract rendered out to new service providers
    Anonymous
    9th Mar 2018
    5:15pm
    And for all those who are intentionally lying about Sercos financial situation - shame on you

    It made record profits in 2017 and expect 2018 profits to be around £80m
    TREBOR
    9th Mar 2018
    5:16pm
    Most public servants are not lazy - they are forced to function within the confines of their department's policies, rules and budget... and can only do what they are instructed to do.

    Mavericks such as myself - bent on genuine efficiency via upgrading programs and systems and such, were met with stoney silence and ostracised by the MANAGEMENT.

    Don't blame the coal face workers, they're not responsible for recruitment and training and ongoing upgradings, or for future directions in training to meet requirements.
    Anonymous
    9th Mar 2018
    6:18pm
    Trebor - you just endorse the case for privatization

    - improved productivity , and better service

    The private sector will always seek to be more efficient and provide best in class service for its very own survival.
    Whereas government does the opposite , protect jobs at all cost - making government bigger , more bureaucratic , keep non performing workers and costing the taxpayer billions
    Rae
    10th Mar 2018
    7:03am
    Well I'm pleased they finally made a profit. I checked the Corporation out a few years ago. I must admit their running of Great Southern Rail is outstanding.
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    10th Mar 2018
    5:30pm
    So we should trust a company that made a profit in 2 years out of 90? And those two years are noted for massive handouts to companies and huge growth in company profits, at the expense of wage stagnation.
    Anonymous
    10th Mar 2018
    7:42pm
    Trust ? No. Manage the contract and ensure they meet performance standards and contractual obligations

    Are you blaming Serco for the lower than expected wage increases now . You’ve absolutely lost it Rainey

    Wages rise when demand for labor exceeds supply . You need to look at the demand in specific professions .
    If overall wages have not risen it’s because in totality the labor market is still soft
    We need much stronger economic growth to support more jobs
    Taxing the private sector and enlarging the public sector is counterproductive
    Eddy
    9th Mar 2018
    2:10pm
    It seems Centrelink's failings is not due to the front-line staff, as always it is a failure of management and, in Centrelink's case, a failure of their political masters. Hiving work off to Serco will solve nothing, I have had previous experience with Serco and frankly I would not contract them to run a sausage sizzle at Bunnings.
    Knows-a-lot
    9th Mar 2018
    3:07pm
    When in doubt blame the technology. The real culprit is the inept Lieberal-Hillbilly COALition government, who couldn't run a chook raffle properly. Centrelink is an ongoing disaster that just gets worse and worse. The myGov website is impenetrable. And putting Serco - the company running asylum centres: just look at that festering sore! - in charge of calls to Centrelink is akin to putting Dracula in charge of the blood bank.
    Knows-a-lot
    9th Mar 2018
    3:09pm
    PS: And the Lieberal morons drastically slashed Centrelink staff. No wonder those left cannot cope.
    Cowboy Jim
    9th Mar 2018
    3:27pm
    I just hope that Knows-a-lot will be around when Electricity Bill Shorten runs Centrelink - I am sure there will be rejoicing in the Hills and the Dales all around the lands and the pensioners - God bless them - will sing Hallelujah. He does not realise that the 2 parties are on the one ticket: Hit The Oldies!!
    Knows-a-lot
    9th Mar 2018
    3:31pm
    Centrelink always ran better under Labor, who hate pensioners rather less than the Lieberal vermin do. Remember, the ALP have a social conscience, whereas the other mob are a bunch of beancounters who have no conception of society, only ledgers.
    Cowboy Jim
    9th Mar 2018
    3:37pm
    To remind you, Knows-a-lot, it was Mr Rudd (Labor) made us work 2 years longer without a referendum and Labor brought in the asset test. I do not like either party but I do not take sides just because I am getting old - and I DO remember!!
    Sundays
    9th Mar 2018
    5:43pm
    Cowboy Jim, the Liberals together with the Greens are responsible for the latest review of the Asset test which has decimated the retirement plans of many. They would also love to increase the pension age to 70, if only they could get it passed. I hope you also remember this.
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    10th Mar 2018
    5:37pm
    So both parties are equally unconscionable and inept. We need a clean sweep. Get rid of all the professional politicians and get some new blood in there - people who want to fix the country rather than load their off-shore bank accounts.
    VeryCaringBigBear
    11th Mar 2018
    12:04pm
    Why haven't you got an off shore account OGR? Many of us do as it makes overseas travel so much cheaper and easier if you have access to US dollars.
    VeryCaringBigBear
    9th Mar 2018
    3:22pm
    If you drive a car and are one of those 1500 who think the age pension is too complicated to understand do us all a favour and hand in your licence as the road rules are far more complicated and you don't have a hope of understanding them if you can't understand the OAP. It is actually one of the simplest things I have to understand now.
    Cowboy Jim
    9th Mar 2018
    3:31pm
    Handed mine in 2 years ago VCBB - like a beer more than driving to the shops these days, but I still understand all the rules and regulations of Centrelink and hardly have anything to do with them apart from having to tell them my departure and arrival dates when leaving our shores and without a car I can afford to do that 3 times a year.
    Knows-a-lot
    9th Mar 2018
    3:33pm
    Rubbish! You don't need to know all the minutiae of the road rules to drive sensibly and competently. If you find pension/Centrelink rules simpler than road rules then you're a simpleton - typical Rightard...
    VeryCaringBigBear
    9th Mar 2018
    4:02pm
    So It's you who does all the stupid things on our roads and hasn't got a clue what they did wrong. Come across way too many like you and people wonder why accidents happen. It is not ricket science why they do to me. I know who is the simpleton here.
    Cowboy Jim
    9th Mar 2018
    4:10pm
    Hey - Knows-buggar-all - what's with the personal insults all of a sudden? Did not call you a Raving Lefty, did I?
    VeryCaringBigBear
    9th Mar 2018
    4:38pm
    I only deal in facts not insults. Driving a car according to the rules is way more complicated than the rules of the OAP. It's more a case of couldn't be bothered than anything else with most of those who just say the rules of the OAP are complicated.
    VeryCaringBigBear
    9th Mar 2018
    4:38pm
    I only deal in facts not insults. Driving a car according to the rules is way more complicated than the rules of the OAP. It's more a case of couldn't be bothered than anything else with most of those who just say the rules of the OAP are complicated.
    tj
    9th Mar 2018
    4:55pm
    Cowboy ,I didn't know you have to tell c/link when you leave the country if you are on the OAP .always thought they knew the second you show your passport at immigration when you leave and renter.
    *Imagine*
    9th Mar 2018
    5:01pm
    So VeryCaring clever BigBear, could you explain the reasoning as to why the ATO allow undeducted purchase price (8%) for taxation of overseas pensions, whereas Centrelink assess the total income as assessable income including that deducted as tax? Can you explain the reason for grandfathering my SMSF income based on the old 27H amount used by the ATO and is related to life expectancy and purchase price of the allocated pension, whereas income from new SMSFs is based on deeming the annual balance? Can you explain why some pensioners who had the recent asset test changes applied, thus cutting their access to the pension were reinstated with a pensioner concession card but others in the same situation did not? Can you explain the pension status to everybody who writes to YLC with queries about living overseas, taking in student lodgers, living with another person who is not a spouse etc. etc. I imagine you could get a job at the Serco call centre. Well done you must be really well informed - or just don’t know what it is you don’t know.
    TREBOR
    9th Mar 2018
    5:19pm
    Interesting....
    Rae
    10th Mar 2018
    7:10am
    It's complicated because they treat everyone differently depending on who you talk to and the memo that arrived from management that morning. Talk about discrimination. Wait until these young ones fussing about equality hit pension age.
    VeryCaringBigBear
    10th Mar 2018
    5:20pm
    Just learn the rules for your situation. It ain't that hard at all. Just ask for a copy of the rules don't ask Centrelink questions as you will get guesses instead of the right answers every time.
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    10th Mar 2018
    5:35pm
    Easy for dishonest and unethical manipulators who learn the rules for the purpose of ripping of the Australian public.
    VeryCaringBigBear
    11th Mar 2018
    12:00pm
    Those who fail to use to their advantage and then whinge and blame others are the ones who have let themselves down due to their own laziness and stupidity. Nothing dishonest or unethical about playing the game by the rules.
    Rosret
    9th Mar 2018
    6:29pm
    Greens Senator Rachel Siewert added: “Yes, there are problems with the technology, but it is a multifaceted problem and more broadly, the department needs more resources to cope with this issue.”
    Really? - Is he practicing politician speak? Technology, Multifaceted, Resources. Good grief. Say it how it is - I guess it will make for a good episode on Utopia.
    Ausdigga
    9th Mar 2018
    7:42pm
    When I worked with a large semi gov. org. the cast in stone rule was , if a phone rings you answer it within 3 rings even if it's not your phone. The callers are your employer's.
    GrayComputing
    10th Mar 2018
    7:31am
    Simple solution
    NO MORE PENSION ASSET TESTS EVER AGAIN
    Economists agree we could get a better pension payment if all these stupid rules and inquisitions are demolished!
    Call and abuse your MP this week for being such gutless heartless bastards
    Rosret
    10th Mar 2018
    8:14am
    Up to the last sentence - agreed. Imagine the jobs loses if they simplified the pension. A bureaucratic ball of mayhem untangled. Are you sure society could cope with simple?
    Charlie
    10th Mar 2018
    8:50am
    How to get 76 quick responses. Just mention Centrelink.
    patti
    10th Mar 2018
    4:23pm
    I would not even attempt to contact Centrelink by phone, based on past experiences and long wait times. When you finally get through the call is often cut off. I should not have to travel to a Centrelink Office (40 min away) and wait in long queues with many others, and as a pensioner of 74 expect better from an organisation my taxes helped support for years.
    professori_au
    12th Mar 2018
    9:45pm
    I do not use call centre for centre link as I am hard of hearing and many who answer while speaking English do not appear to understand the questions people ask and then some get short when this happens and the caller is cut off. I prefer face to face and I can see their faces and get an impression as to whether they understand my issue and also read the body language, which you can't when calling by 'phone. The people I have spoken with are very supportive and once they understand go to no end of trouble to assist, so for me it is not a staff problem. Possibly it is more a policy problem, funding cuts, reducing staff and resources to an extent they are facing difficult workloads. I do not envy them when I see the behaviour of some who become frustrated and angry. Misbehaviour I do not accept as the staff are the meat in the sandwich and probably as equally frustrated under the conditions they have to work. I and also my family were brought up to treat everyone with curtesy and respect. There is no reason for misbehaviour it only leads to frustration for both parties and does not result in a solution of a problem.

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