Centrelink measures

Centrelink received over 44 million calls in 2011-12 and at last it has realised people need to speak to a real person, but it is also increasing data matching with the ATO.

Improved call centre service

The Department of Human Services received over 44 million calls relating to Centrelink enquiries in 2011-12 and will receive $30 million to provide improved call centre services.

While there has been a push by the department to direct customers to online, mobile and self-service options, complex rules and a new, difficult to navigate website mean more people need to speak to a real person.

Increased data matching

The Department of Human Services will move to match income reporting data with PAYG summaries submitted to the Australian Tax Office in order to highlight cases of incorrect income reporting.

The additional scrutiny is expected to highlight an additional 19,000 customers who are being over-paid benefits and is predicted to save $67.5 million over four years.

Increased income threshold

Those on Newstart Allowance will be able to earn more before their payments are affected. The limit will increase to $100 per fortnight from 1 July 2015, the first increase in 10 years.

Written by Debbie McTaggart