25th Jun 2018
FONT SIZE: A+ A-
Anglicare report damns Centrelink’s automated systems
Anglicare report damns Centrelink’s automated systems

Centrelink’s automated system is “deliberately designed to make it hard for people”, says a new report from Anglicare Australia.

The automation of Centrelink services is causing mental stress, the report finds, with stories of errors, delays and two-hour phone wait times. Instead of reducing the need for assistance, it says the process increases the burden on clients and the wider community.

Two-thirds of Anglicare's workers claim Centrelink’s automation actually increased the amount of support clients required by outside sources because clients were stressed and anxious.

“Our research found that people are falling through the cracks as Centrelink services become more and more automated,” said Anglicare Australia Executive Director Kasy Chambers.

“It is becoming harder to talk to a human being.

“Centrelink might believe that it's saving time and money, but what it's really doing is shifting the burden on to its clients and the services that help them.”

Over a two-week period, Anglicare staff alone spent the equivalent of seven full-time jobs dealing with Centrelink issues, which, if calculated over a year, would waste around $400,000.

“All staff sensed they were spending a lot longer dealing with sometimes quite simple Centrelink issues,” said Ms Chambers.

“This would be happening to the Salvos, to Centacare, to anybody who is providing this kind of service. It’s not just Anglicare.”

Ms Chambers said that, instead of helping recipients, Centrelink staff directed them to automated phone and online services. She claims that these automated services and processes are becoming increasingly difficult to navigate and are having an unfair effect on Australia’s most vulnerable people.

“The more vulnerable you are, the more likely it is that you have quite a complex issue,” she said. “Automation isn’t a problem in and of itself. But when you have a number of issues, that’s when it’s really difficult to interact with an automated system.

“We are not having a go at Centrelink staff – they are as frustrated by this as we are. But there is a need for more tailored services. There are times when all of us would have a question too complex for a computer.”

The Paying the price of welfare reform report recommends more funding for resources, face-to-face options, flexible services, better assistance for people with low literacy or disabilities, and a commitment to further improvement.

It also recommends an increase to Newstart payments, so recipients could at least “achieve a minimum standard of living”.

Do you find Centrelink’s automated systems difficult to navigate? How do you feel about Centrelink’s service in general?

RELATED ARTICLES





    COMMENTS

    To make a comment, please register or login

    25th Jun 2018
    9:41am
    It SHOULD be hard
    It’s not an entitlement and people must be accountable and be required to provide detailed information to prevent rorting
    Onemore
    25th Jun 2018
    10:12am
    What a load of codwallop Raphael, I have personally met middle age people who have not even a clue how to turn a computer on, yet alone elderly people who would have trouble getting around on a computer.

    On a recent trip to Centrelink I was directed to the bank of computers armed with my CRN,and told go for it, when I started to stumble with the program I asked for assistance from one of the staff but was told "we are too busy".

    So yes, it would be a devious way for the gestapo to save money.
    jackie
    25th Jun 2018
    10:53am
    Raphael....It shouldn't be hard for those that are too ill to get the run around....Crooks always know how to cheat the system...I bet there are numerous individuals with fake IDs on welfare from overseas rorting the system and Centrelink is going out of their way to assist them. This Coalition Government is making it hard so that they all can line their own pockets with the money NOT to decrease the deficit.
    GeorgeM
    25th Jun 2018
    11:16am
    Absolutely moronic statement from a right-wing Liberal party stooge with no understanding of why Govt services exist. Govt services should always be easy and efficient to avail of - the less complexities the cheaper it would be to administer - starting with the rules, and through the delivery process - taking into consideration the CAPABILITIES OF THEIR CUSTOMERS.

    There are also morons designing these automated and other computer systems for the Govt who cannot be excused.
    Old Geezer
    25th Jun 2018
    11:57am
    I agree if people can rort the system why can't genuine people do the same.
    Not a Bludger
    25th Jun 2018
    12:24pm
    Absolutely correct, Raphael.
    This is not “money for free” and access to these allowances should be strictly governed.
    It is not the “right” that the moaners and groaners try to have we who provide the funds (taxpayers) believe.
    KSS
    25th Jun 2018
    12:55pm
    I agree there should be rigour in the assessment and the benchmark should be high, but the application process to the assessment stage should be straightforward.
    Rosret
    25th Jun 2018
    1:22pm
    Its not hard for people who want to rort the system, Raphael. Its just hard for the less fortunate elderly who are in desperate need of financial assistance.

    Thank you Anglicare and all those who help. Send the bill to Centrelink!
    Hasbeen
    25th Jun 2018
    3:57pm
    Well what do you know.

    There is now a useful activity for all those in the Anglicare & others in ACOS sector. They can go out & help those having problems applying for the pension.
    Knows-a-lot
    25th Jun 2018
    4:27pm
    I see the Rightard Lieberal peanut-gallery are out in force. These dimwits don't understand that elderly people often aren't computer-savvy. Watch the 2016 film "I, Daniel Blake".
    Dallas1955
    25th Jun 2018
    10:12am
    I have found that if you don't know exactly what department you need at Centrelink the automated phone service hangs up on you. It should not be that hard to talk to someone. I thought they are supposed to be there to help.
    Old Geezer
    25th Jun 2018
    12:48pm
    Learn the rules and play the game.
    Knows-a-lot
    25th Jun 2018
    4:29pm
    Typically cretinous comment from OG.
    BJ
    26th Jun 2018
    9:00am
    Old Geezer you are an Old Geezer
    niemakawa
    27th Jun 2018
    5:38pm
    Just select the prompt that closely matches your enquiry.
    patti
    25th Jun 2018
    10:15am
    Raphael, hopefully you will never be ill and have to deal with the Centrelink system. The first hurdle is actually getting through. The elderly, those with mental illness, recovering from trauma, fleeing violence....to quote a few examples, need compassion, understand and financial assistance in order to keep their lives together. Of course people must be accountable, but they have to be able to talk with someone to access a service first, often in an emergency.
    Dallas1955
    25th Jun 2018
    10:17am
    I totally agree with you patti.
    jackie
    25th Jun 2018
    10:56am
    Patti....The Centrelink staff forget they are providing a service....they should be going over and beyond with their deliveries like they do in other customer service positions.
    Allenmack
    25th Jun 2018
    10:39am
    I worked in admin with computers from the mid 1980 through to retirement 8 years ago. All I can say is the computerized centrelink system sucks. There are simply too many hoops and hurdles to get access and I don't know how anyone with limited computer skills can manage. I found the asset reporting module is particularly nasty. On another note I found the staff at the local centrelink shop very approachable, helpful and obliging, but under a lot of pressure. God love em all, its a tough gig.
    jonboy
    25th Jun 2018
    10:46am
    Older people can not and do not need added stress.

    But sadly EVERYTHING the Government does today with their laws and regulations, and their ridiculous DEMEANING Centrelink process is stressing old people to DEATH.

    We need a Politicical Party that values humanity and is for the People by the People.
    And I believe raising the age pension age saves nowhere near the funds AllBull wants to GIVE his Crony Bank Mates :(
    jackie
    25th Jun 2018
    10:59am
    jonboy....I totally agree with you....Let's hope these pigs get voted out for good. Australia must be full of rich people if they get back in again.
    Knows-a-lot
    25th Jun 2018
    4:30pm
    See the 2016 movie "I, Daniel Blake".
    GeorgeM
    25th Jun 2018
    11:19am
    There should be a simple exit option for these systems / customers - if they are too hard for Centrelink systems, they should be automatically referred to humans either in Centrelink or in organisations such as Anglicare, Salvos, etc. Not too hard if these Govt bureaucrats could use their brains - Hank to wake up / get sacked (he gets paid too much to deliver crap)!
    Old Geezer
    25th Jun 2018
    11:51am
    If people want the OAP enough they will find ways to get it. It is as simple as that.
    jonboy
    25th Jun 2018
    4:26pm
    ANglicare, Salvos etc do not need another Government mess to waste their limited resources and time on.
    If the Guvment had a heart it would look after OAP and make their stupid systems simple and stress free instead of making life so demeaning.
    And raise the Pension to above the Poverty line instead of promising to give the rich, wealthy BANKS and other a 60 Billion dollar bonus.
    Knows-a-lot
    25th Jun 2018
    4:32pm
    OG do you practice at being such an obnoxious dimwit? No? Ah! It just comes naturally.
    ace
    25th Jun 2018
    11:53am
    YOU ONLY KNOW THE HALF OF IT try in 70.s hardly ever used a computer before retirement with a 50 year old son who has Downs Syndrome .The NDIS comes along & its worse than Centrelink ! & I have to deal with both I was totally overwhelmed last October but i got some help but my son is failing & this just creates a new round of issues for us both & were to go for direction with us both on Pensions it just seems the Gov is determined too make accessing their support as difficult as possible !!!!
    Anonymous
    25th Jun 2018
    12:22pm
    Well Ace, being the devil's advocate, I notice you have had no trouble using a computer to post this little rant....just saying!
    Rae
    25th Jun 2018
    1:24pm
    Maybe the web designers from this forum could take a look at Centrelinks system to see exactly why it fails at point after point, drops out, doesn't recognise passwords etc etc.
    The Government thinks private is better and pay too much for contractors when in fact house based systems often work far better and cost less and best of all the money stays here instead of being off shored to tax havens.

    It should be as easy as posting here.
    Rosret
    25th Jun 2018
    1:24pm
    Big Al - what an incredibly nasty thing to say. No doubt life is very easy for you because its "such fun" to kick a person when they are down.
    jonboy
    25th Jun 2018
    4:34pm
    Big Al, you are a smart rsed mongrel and I hope the system gets into you one day to stress you out.
    How can anyone, even someone as ignorant as you, not know how hard it is to get Cares payments etc, in the OLD days.
    And now the Guvment in it's wisdom has set up a new fancy system called NDIS with grand promises.
    Sadly it is another total failure as it seems all the chiefs, who are non caring, are gleaning all the funds, BEFORE they get to the NEEDY Carers.
    And again all AllBull, who thinks the cost of Pensioners is ruining this country, can think about is giving his RICH Mates a 60 billion dollar bonus.
    Knows-a-lot
    25th Jun 2018
    4:34pm
    Big Al = another dumb obnoxious Rightard. Just saying! He's too thick to see the difference between the ease of using YLC and the labrynthine mess called MyGov.
    Triss
    25th Jun 2018
    10:01pm
    Big Al, your post says more about you than it does about Ace...and none of it good.
    Old Man
    25th Jun 2018
    11:58am
    This was a recent topic and when it was raised I agreed with those who are unable to cope with the newer technology. Some of the people expected to use a computer grew up in an era where the only technology was a telephone and very few homes had one of those. Those bureaucrats in charge should be speaking to their clients, not listening to the young experts who have found a way to save the department money. By all means have taxpayers money spent carefully but not at the expense of the elderly and vulnerable.
    Charlie
    25th Jun 2018
    12:10pm
    Hello, this is Centrelink. Are you calling about some kind of problem?.. Let me guess is it about your social security payments?.. Please enter, your post code, your tax file number, the third digit of your date of birth and the time in hours minutes and seconds, then press hash.... Sorry we missed that could you repeat it.... It seems you are experiencing a common problem, this is easily resolved by going to our list of 100 questions and answers on the Centrelink website
    Old Geezer
    25th Jun 2018
    12:49pm
    I have got through Centrelink's security answering those questions for many other people so it's not rocket science.
    Rosret
    25th Jun 2018
    1:29pm
    OG you are an expert in your field.
    Its when something goes wrong and they need to actually communicate with someone. Its horrible and incredibly time wasting. Not all people requiring Centrelink services are unemployed and Centrelink only operates in working hours.
    Rae
    25th Jun 2018
    1:32pm
    OG you should be out helping all those poor aged freezing to death in doorways because they do think it's rocket science. You realise there is a bell curve for intelligence don't you and you are obviously very lucky to have been born smart.

    I worked with some people who couldn't have figured out how to deal with much at all and we are not looking after them at all. Just expecting everyone to have a high IQ will never make it so. That is why we pay taxes and had sensible redistribution and help for the less astute.

    We are losing all sense of responsibility and humanity and that isn't such a great thing.
    Charlie
    25th Jun 2018
    4:19pm
    It becomes disfunctional for the man in the street, long before it becomes rocket science.
    Thai Traveller
    25th Jun 2018
    12:55pm
    Rent assistance: I've recently had to find a new place to rent, and I'm astounded at the reaction of many landlords when I ask them if they will sign the rent assistance form.
    The result is invariably shock and horror. One guy told me his taxable income would go up by $40 a week! They seemed to think the whole rent must be taxable. It's not income until costs, bills, power are deducted.

    Obviously, there are a great many folk avoiding their taxation requirements, making it even more difficult for pensioners to find somewhere to live.
    Cowboy Jim
    25th Jun 2018
    1:13pm
    Going to get worse with all the short term people like AirBnB coming into the mix. At last the ATO started looking into the system and checking advertising and on-line offers.
    Rosret
    25th Jun 2018
    1:33pm
    Yes, Cowboy Jim. They really do need to look into Air BnBs on so many levels. We have streets of empty houses Monday to Friday only to be filled on the weekends at unbelievable prices. A $1.5M house is returning $150K a year in AirBnB rental. That's an amazing return on a holiday home at the beach.
    Charlie
    25th Jun 2018
    4:14pm
    I always got rent assistance on my disability payments without having to get anything signed and now on age pension no requirements. Its only half the cost of rent at the best.
    BElle
    25th Jun 2018
    1:09pm
    Shifting the onus on to each one of us is the Governments aim in all things. You want Health care - pay for it yourself, you want Education - pay for it yourself - you want welfare payments - stiff luck is you are not able to afford this yourself you go without.
    Taking us back to the 1920/30s when there was not welfare and if you had nothing - you and your loved ones starved. Do we really want to return to this scenario?
    Cowboy Jim
    25th Jun 2018
    1:16pm
    Most people do not know anything about the 20s and 30s BElle. History is no longer taught at school, there is now more emphasis on getting the blokes to use the sheilas' loos and vice versa.
    Snowflake
    25th Jun 2018
    1:31pm
    Well, seems there are a scattering of right wing tossers on this thread. For all you smug xxxxxxxx just hope you don’t get ill, have an accident, become a carer for someone in your family, lose your business and many other scenarios that will throw you onto welfare, though the age pension is not welfare, and let’s see how you go. You have no social conscience whatsoever with little compassion and a great sense of self security. But we all know how fragile that is.
    Rosret
    25th Jun 2018
    2:20pm
    Ouch - make a point not a denigration. It is possible to be Liberal and have a social conscience just as it is to be Labor orientated and be concerned about business markets.
    Knows-a-lot
    25th Jun 2018
    4:38pm
    Goodonya Snowflake. I hope the Rightard tossers do experience hardship that forces them to go cap-in-hand to Centrelink. Only then my they lose their nauseating smugness and wake up.
    BnT
    25th Jun 2018
    1:39pm
    Old Man - Spot On! Forcing older and elderly people to use computers and newer technology is almost a silent form of elder abuse! Many people in their 60s and up have had little of no contact with computers especially if they have lived in more regional areas where technology has always been later to arrive. Everything is moving to Aps, mobile phone access etc...how does the old fashioned person with a dialing telephone out in a remote area connect? And that's only if their connection stays connected too!!!! And unfortunately, many of these people are too polite and respectful to complain or comment - they simply suffer in silence! Meanwhile our pollies give themselves a pay rise, Telstra changes all of its plans again, banks close down and move out of regional areas and younger people demand more driving tests for elderly people to ensure they are safe to drive.....I'm not retired yet (not quite) but where we are heading is scaring me!
    Rosret
    25th Jun 2018
    2:22pm
    I don't think they realise how many poor people don't have the internet at home either - regardless of age. Communication is a very expensive commodity these days.
    morrowj1122
    25th Jun 2018
    2:11pm
    I hereby christen OG "PITA" :)
    Old Geezer
    25th Jun 2018
    3:38pm
    Call me whatever you like but I can tell you I have been called much worse when I am right and others don't agree.
    Knows-a-lot
    25th Jun 2018
    4:39pm
    Yes we know you're "right" OG - as in Rightard. And actually, you're dead wrong.
    morrowj1122
    25th Jun 2018
    6:26pm
    Sorry OG, I meant "St PETER"
    Dancer
    25th Jun 2018
    4:03pm
    Everything old is new again! Over 30 years ago my husband and I wanted to adopt a young man who we had been fostering. The lad was over 18 years old, and working so he was financially independent, but he wanted to be a real part of our family and he asked us to formally adopt him. We were happy to oblige. The system to adopt a child then was such that if you didn't fit into neat little boxes (determined by the Government) then things became difficult, clumsy and frustrating. In the end we had to obtain character references from 2 different sources, then go to court and promise to support and educate the young man - as though he was a baby! We didn't fit into the system …
    I feel for those people who have to navigate the automated Centrelink system, it is indeed complex and difficult (and I'm reasonably tech-competent). I have found that going to a Centrelink Office is much more satisfactory and simple these days because I speak to a person, not a machine.
    Knows-a-lot
    25th Jun 2018
    4:25pm
    The fault lies with the scumbag Lieberal government, who have slashed and slashed and slashed the public service, while expanding their already over-lavish entitlements.
    Cowboy Jim
    25th Jun 2018
    4:32pm
    Hey Knows-a-lot - would you mind playing a slightly different disc. The one you are using is slightly old.
    Knows-a-lot
    25th Jun 2018
    4:41pm
    I'm going to play the same disk until the Lieberal Party trolls sod off, and the LNP is booted out of office.
    Cowboy Jim
    25th Jun 2018
    5:00pm
    I am in a Federal Labor seat and National State, suits me quite fine as the parties, either of them, do not upset me all that much. Have a beer and think about it!
    Anonymous
    25th Jun 2018
    8:10pm
    knows-a-lot, your banal, uneducated gutter language only shows the waste of your parents money's attempting to give you a civil upbringing, just make an effort to get the money back they spend on your education so you can reimburse them for the funds they absolute wasted
    niemakawa
    27th Jun 2018
    5:41pm
    And you think Labor will be better at the job? Think again. Libs/Lab/Greens are frauds and of the same cloth.
    Marian
    25th Jun 2018
    8:58pm
    The Centrelink & Human Services ( not for Human ) & the corrupr minister m.Keenan is more fascist every day against life Australian Citizence the work whith the Governments to destroy human life & dignity every day & nights
    Elizzy
    25th Jun 2018
    10:19pm
    Allenmack, I agree with your comments. I am pretty computer literate and used to public service administrations, but applying for a pension was stressful and sometimes frightening. I truly thought I would never get there. But, I had ample time available and I am persistent to a fault so finally made it through the hoops. Advice: Keep a phone call diary, always ask for ref numbers for calls, keep copies of all papers, send all mail by recorded or reg delivery. But, yes, the system is not designed to serve citizens and residents of Australia, but to create despair, fear and hoplessness.
    chrissy
    25th Jun 2018
    11:00pm
    The service is dreadful Waiting over 4 months for a basic health care card. Not even a pension card. Tied up somewhere. Waited well over one and a half hours on more than one occasion to find out what is happening at centre. Forget trying to reach someone over the phone they don"t even bother to answer. The portal on my gov equally bad. It is so wrong to treat people this way. Good luck leaving them waiting if you owe them mony. Will not give up on principal
    Marian
    26th Jun 2018
    5:44am
    The is not more criminals & rotting as is the all Governments system electorate system Human Services Centrelink & the all Social security system who is the most corrupt system in the all word that is to see also in Europe Unaided Nation were we life in Spain Courts Spain Police & is refer the all crime to Interpol by Spain Court & Interpol in Australia we also have evidence fabrication International law Documents medical records also to be claime compensation for all the Crime minister & Australia Governments the is not in any others Governments Country social security crime & abuse as is in Australia Mr Raphael you life in paranoia the crime in Human Services & centrelink is against any law & the rotting minister m,Keenan or the solicitors as is Gabrielle Doyle from Human services were is all corrupt services not for human The fabricate also evidence to A.A.T.& whith others
    Crazy Horse
    20th Aug 2018
    6:57pm
    The Human Services Department’s computer is so unfriendly it couldn’t be accidental.

    Add in deliberate understaffing of Centrelink Offices and Dulles heartless designed to eliminate as many claimants as possible and what you get is a deliberately mean and nasty government intent on redirecting as much money as possible to their rich mates.


    Join YOURLifeChoices, it’s free

    • Receive our daily enewsletter
    • Enter competitions
    • Comment on articles