myGov frustration for Centrelink customer

Not all people who need Centrelink support are as lucky as Ms Smith.

myGov frustration for Centrelink customer

Spending time with your new baby should be all that concerns a mother, but as reported by Fairfax Media, that hasn’t been the case for Bec Smith.

Her interactions with Centrelink and the myGov website have left the new mother frustrated, without maternity payments and living off savings and credit cards – not to mention the strain on her relationship with her newborn.

As is required to receive most payments from Centrelink, Ms Smith set up an online account via the myGov website, but a glitch in the system meant she couldn’t verify her identity, or access any correspondence and payments. After several weeks visiting and contacting Centrelink by phone, she is no clearer on what the issue is, or any possible solution. She was told repeatedly that the ‘system is down’, before being advised by her local Centrelink office that “they had no idea what the problem was”. As advised after this revelation, she submitted her claim by post, only to be told it couldn’t be processed as she couldn’t access her myGov account online.

"I came home from hospital on the Saturday and rang [Centrelink] on the Monday; every single day I called and was on the phone for an average of 2.5 hours a day," Mrs Smith said.

"The worst bit is I'm not getting any communication with Centrelink because all the letters are in the myGov account, and I can't get on to see them or change my preferences for correspondence to be sent by post."

And it doesn’t look as though the issue will be resolved any time soon after Ms Smith was told by a member of Centrelink staff that asking for a timeframe in which her problems would be resolved is “unrealistic”.

However, thanks to the power of the media, the Department of Human Services, which is investigating the cause of this issue, has now contacted Ms Smith. In a statement, a spokesperson said, "We have also contacted Ms Smith to apologise for the frustration caused by this error and we are working with her to finalise her claim as quickly as possible."

Read more at The Sydney Morning Herald  

Opinion: Time for a Centrelink rethink

While we can all understand the frustration of Ms Smith, she does at least have access to income through savings and credit cards, not all people who need Centrelink support are so lucky. Ms Smith is also physically able to visit a Centrelink office, or spend hours on the phone, as annoying as it may be. For those with a disability, physical or mental, whose first language is not English, or who simply have problems understanding complicated technical jargon, the situation could be a whole lot worse

It’s understandable that a large government agency, such as the Department of Human Services would utilise technology to quickly process payments and handle large volumes of correspondence, but when that technology simply fails, why is there no back up procedure in place?

In May of this year, it was reported by the Australian National Audit Office

that a quarter of the 57 million calls made to Centrelink last year went unanswered. That could be over 14 million people in desperate need of assistance. And if you do hang on long enough to have your call answered, you could wait on average 16 minutes, compared to three minutes and four seconds in 2011-12. Who said progress was, well progress?

And we know you have been affected too. Some of the comments we have received in the past include:

“I went into the office and was told to ring. I tried to ring and the calls were unanswered. I emailed a call back to my mobile and they rang my landline when I wasn't there. I uploaded letters to their page and have been waiting five months for a response.”

“I was in Centrelink today for my daughter and was told not [to] send in anything by mail as it would take too long for it to get opened, read & allocated to the correct file.” 

“Self service options are hardly in their infancy and [have] been around for at least the last five years – it's quite a limited service and not always reliable.”

So, if you’ve had unsatisfactory dealings with Centrelink, what can you do? Sadly, other than keep phoning or visiting your local office, very little. You can enlist the help of your local MP, how successful this will be depends on who this is. You can also contact the Commonwealth Ombudsman and hope that it takes up your complaint.

Just remember, it’s often not the fault of the Centrelink customer service staff that you have an issue and, on most occasions, they are doing their best to try and help.

Have you had a major issue trying to contact Centrelink? Do you find the online services easy to use? How would you cope if your payments were stopped due to a glitch?





    COMMENTS

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    Peterrj
    25th Nov 2015
    8:23am
    CentreLink is a B disgrace. I have tried to ring and after hours waiting in the phone the line goes dead! Or, on the rare occasion it is answered they can't, or won't, give me the answer to the question I seek. The final insult was I actually attended a CentreLink office, made my enquiry and they took me to a desk with a phone and gave me a CentreLink number to ring!!! WT?? And the forms are a nightmare. Eventually I had a face to face 'interview' only to be told that CentreLink staff have 'not yet been trained how the new rules after the Budget announcement' will be applied!!! CnetreLink ... Thank You Very Much for Nothing!
    Jen
    25th Nov 2015
    9:44am
    I feel your pain. My retired partner went back to work part time and we were required to report his income fortnightly. One week in two the site wasn't working. It's not like I'm not internet savvy, I run a business online. It just wasn't working properly. He would then have to drive down to Centrelink and queue up. They would always tell him the site is "down."

    Imagine if I ran my business this way.
    buby
    25th Nov 2015
    9:49am
    yes Jen i'm sure you would be in dire straights.....lucky it isn't your business lol.
    Anonymous
    25th Nov 2015
    10:07am
    Agree Centrelink is a B disgrace
    Rae
    25th Nov 2015
    4:51pm
    I tried to get an answer about the changes happening in just over 4 weeks now and no one knew anything about it. I waited over an hour for the phone to be answered.

    The Minister for Human Services should be sacked.
    Sceptic
    26th Nov 2015
    1:26pm
    Rae. Would they be the changes happening in January 2017?
    Aussienan
    25th Nov 2015
    9:15am
    I feel so lucky I have been a Centrelink customer for 15 years and only once have had to contact Customer Service re a problem. I had received some money from a family estate and wrote a letter to Centrelink to explain how I got the money and what I had done with it. Someone pressed the wrong button and my spouse and I were $400 p/f less (combined). One 10 minute visit to local Centre ..problem solved, pensions back to normal. MyGov works like clockwork and my snail mail is always answered. My spouse has part Super pension and we both receive part age pensions I guess it is just luck that we don't have issues with Centrelink like others. May all your Centrelink problems be solved asap.
    buby
    25th Nov 2015
    9:48am
    aUSSIE nan you were indeed lucky, that your centerlink i assumed were trained where you live. Well it seems like it.
    Mine where i live aren't too bad either.
    but try ringing, and its a bloody nightmare.
    Obviously they haven't got that one down to a tee yet.
    And try to get online Access via my computer also seems to be totally usless. I have to actually go to Centerlink to do it.
    bigpella
    25th Nov 2015
    9:55am
    I'm wondering if Aussienan is Hank DeJong's mother!!
    Aussienan
    25th Nov 2015
    1:15pm
    Hi bigpella, Who is Hank DeJong???????
    Aussienan
    25th Nov 2015
    1:17pm
    Oops sorry should have scrolled down further, Hank is obviously an employee of Centrelink. Sounds like a nice guy!!!!!!
    Anonymous
    25th Nov 2015
    5:06pm
    Have to agree with Aussienan, the service I have received is as one would expect. I'm sure there are pockets within the Centrelink system where an attutude change or a retraining schedule is needed. When the number of clients dealt with each day is considered, I would think that the majority are happy with the system.
    gillie
    25th Nov 2015
    9:58am
    Had numerous problems with new myGov website: wouldn't recognize my password, and by the time the change code email arrived it was too late for it to be used. Tried writing a letter 3 months ago: still waiting for an answer. Finally figured out a way around the problem without having to try phoning (knew that would only raise my blood pressure). However after new password worked twice, it was no longer recognised. Changed it again and it's now OK, but I try logging at least once a week make sure it's still working. If it's security policy to make us change the password regularly, surely we should be warned - or is my problem another manifestation of a more general glitch?
    mogo51
    25th Nov 2015
    10:39am
    It is very simple regarding writing letters to C/line, don't waste the ink, as they will not reply. A friend wrote objecting to a decision they made over 18 months ago, still no reply. There must be a pile 10 miles high of letters, maybe they are trying to get the Big Boss upstairs to answer them!!!
    Scrivener
    25th Nov 2015
    10:30am
    The times I have most come to think suicide is a real option have mostly occurred after or related to a Centrelink contact. It is like being face-sucked by a Dementor.
    Pass the Ductape
    26th Nov 2015
    1:05am
    Face sucked by a Dementor! Yeah - I'd pay out on that one.
    mogo51
    25th Nov 2015
    10:34am
    I am a disability pensioner, soon to move to Age Pension, living overseas. I tried to set up Mygov as they insist you do, but it would not recognise my o/s mobile number, end of action. Will have to try and fix it when I get back in a few months.
    My Medicare card was sent to the wrong address, even though my updated address was with C/link and I assume, all its divisions which include Medicare. Obviously not, rang International Services, put me through to Medicare and a recorded message told me they were inundated and not taking call, hung up on me.
    C/line staff are always very busy and indeed probably short staffed consistent with the staff carnage whilst trying to balance the budget. But you can ring and ask the same question several times and get a different answer each time. The staff are undertrained.
    Speaking to other aged people always brings the same result, there is no consistency in answers to questions. Their attitude to anyone who is overseas, is appalling and this is obviously coming from Government policy 'invokers'.
    Alula
    25th Nov 2015
    11:28pm
    I think working for Centrelink would be a nightmare.
    *Imagine*
    25th Nov 2015
    10:37am
    myGov is another example of how Govt. Departments "Public Servants" (generally information technology experts and administrators) are out of touch with the community that they are set up to "serve". I have a name but my myGov identity is a mish mash of numbers that I have to record somewhere to remember. I need to be computer literate to access the site or give all my details to somebody else to do it for me. I do not get trained on the system like the public servants do, and my internet connection that I have is what I pay for, it is not efficient and often drops out owing to the poor service in our area. How is any of this efficient or secure?
    Because I have a taxed super pension account, I have to lodge a tax return each year and pay a tax bill. This is now only available to do through myGov and they don't send the account by mail, I get an email telling me to log on to find out how much I owe. When I log on I get a letter that even tells me to look at the reverse side for important information. myGov is set up for the sole reason of making things easy for the Government Departments with no thought or understanding of the frustrations that it causes for the general community. When we all have the connection speeds that Government Departments have and can access the technical training that the payed employees have access to, then perhaps it will work. Until then please bring back the simple letter that I can deal with, and file away in my records.
    Tom Tank
    25th Nov 2015
    11:56am
    The basic problem is not Centrelink staff but the fact that there simply isn't enough of them.
    This is largely due to Government cutbacks to save money. My nearest Centrelink office has been amalgamated with the Medicare office on the same site which is not serviced adequately by public transport. How infirm people are supposed to get there is in the lap of the gods because the pollies don't care.
    Personally I have always found Centrelink is usually easy to deal with and reporting income, provided we have not been removed from doing so via the internet, is very easy.
    My wife works sporadically and after a short period without reporting via the net we are stopped from doing that and have to phone in. Added work for Centrelink staff and a long wait on the phone.
    I do think the MyGov site leaves a bit to be desired as it is confusing to use at first.
    Anonymous
    25th Nov 2015
    5:13pm
    Yes Tom Tank, of all the responses here, yours has hit the nail on the head. My local Centrelink had about 40 people on the floor (there were many behind the scenes) and over the years this has reduced to about 8. The clients have increased because of the amalgamation with Medicare so it's not rocket science to work out that the remaining staff can only do so much in a day.
    missmarple
    25th Nov 2015
    11:04am
    I know its been a long time since we have had to deal with centre link, but I can remember when it was "Social Security" and we didn't have the problems encountered these days either on line or in c/l offices
    Ginty 01
    25th Nov 2015
    11:36am
    Yes, Social Security was so much better and they could even find you a job
    Charlie
    25th Nov 2015
    12:13pm
    Yes that must have been the old days, before the "new you beaut corporate management" took over to make these lazy public servants more efficient. Well something went wrong didn't it.?More often than not there is some politician with his finger in the works, preventing the public servant from doing his job, because providing services to the public costs money.
    BB1
    25th Nov 2015
    11:19am
    The person to contact at Centrelink, Hank Jongen - email is hank@centrelink.com.au or hank@humanservices.com.au
    He has helped me many times, he gets in touch with the department concerned and finds out what is going on.
    Great guy, he comes on Radio 2GB and 2UE many times and gives the email address out for people to contact him.
    Give him the problem and he will either sort it himself or put you onto someone who can and will.
    Joan
    25th Nov 2015
    12:42pm
    Thank you for the email address, I will be passing it on to my daughter.
    Mike
    25th Nov 2015
    11:28am
    Soon it wont be a problem anymore. Joe Hockey's solution was to call disabled people rorters and an estimated 580000 part pensioners wealthy and will soon be no longer be Centrelink customers, so its simple. Too many clients for Centrelink to handle, instead of putting on more staff, so much easier to remove clients. Also more money for Hockey ( Remember his house in Canberra travel rort) and B Bishop expenses ( $88000 for a 14 day trip to Europe)
    Charlie
    25th Nov 2015
    11:59am
    We've already written lots of things about Centrelink and it was all bad.
    I cant get registered with Mygov either because they say it is conflicting with my Centrelink identity. I don't need them for my age-disability pension, but I wanted to have my name down for casual work with one of the government employment agencies Max Employment. I succeded for a few weeks and they then they changed everything and put it thru through My Gov. That's when everything became unworkable.
    Lyn
    25th Nov 2015
    12:17pm
    Sometimes it is the fault of customer service staff at Centerline. As it was in my case when I visited the Bendigo office and asked to speak with a consultant, I was told not to bother they will just tell me to go online or contact by phone. However I demanded that I speak with a person and when I did that person was very helpful and polite and able to satisfy my query. So the customer service officer was wrong....
    Charlie
    25th Nov 2015
    1:27pm
    Actually they wont speak on line, because they claim it is a security risk? Often the only way to make progress is to go to the office, wait for as long as it takes and speak to somebody directly. I have done this (where I live) and things went ok with the interview.

    That was ok till I asked the (customer service staff) to use the public toilets as I had been waiting a long time. They then started stone walling and saying there they didn't provide public toilets or they only provided toilets for mothers and children. Eventually I got the key, but what a load of rubbish I had to go thru just to use the toilet.
    Anonymous
    27th Nov 2015
    3:43pm
    I know a young mother who went in to the Centrelink office 4 times, pushing a pram and carrying feed and nappies for her baby. On each occasion, after a four hour wait, she was told they were closing now and didn't have time to see her so come back tomorrow. I didn't believe her at first, but I went to that office myself once and had precisely the same experience.
    Rosebud
    25th Nov 2015
    12:26pm
    The last three times I have needed to contact Center link I had a 2.5hr wait before it answered. Pathetic.
    Rosebud
    25th Nov 2015
    12:26pm
    The last three times I have needed to contact Center link I had a 2.5hr wait before it answered. Pathetic.
    Joan
    25th Nov 2015
    12:39pm
    My daughter is with Centrelink, but trying hard to move on, we have had to support her and her two children for up to 3 months before Centrelink sorted her paperwork. It is study paperwork. I don't know what would have happened to them if we could not have helped.
    Caz
    25th Nov 2015
    12:42pm
    I have received two emails from Centrelink telling me that there is important correspondence waiting for me. Problem is, I have to access it via the mygov website. When I try to do this, it won't recognise my user name or password. I hope it's not too important. Carylap
    gillie
    25th Nov 2015
    1:10pm
    Sounds like the problem I had. See above. I was lucky in that I worked out how to keep the page open while waiting for new access code to change my password. Trying to get onsite help just left me going around in circles.
    Pass the Ductape
    26th Nov 2015
    1:09am
    And here is the best part - Centrelink or Human Services,
    or whatever they pass themselves off as - they don't really care!
    geofftuke
    25th Nov 2015
    12:48pm
    Somewhere in centrelink there is a staff member responsible for the system. When you say it is not the fault of the staff, this is not quite correct! It is probably certain that it is not the fault of the staff dealing directly with the public in person, by phone or computer, but looking UP the food chain, there certainly has to be someone who must accept responsibility for the fiasco.
    It was told to me many years ago that in the public service staff are no longer promoted when they reach a level where they no longer do their job to a level where they would be up for promotion. This very sadly means that any managerial positions in the public service are filled with people who will not be promoted further as they are now struggling in varying degrees with the duties of their current position. The real though unfair solution to this would be to downgrade those promotions or alternatively, put two people into those positions to split and ease the workload.
    I won't go on from here as I have much more on this subject with personal experience of a father and brother who worked all their adult lives in public service
    Rose
    25th Nov 2015
    2:16pm
    geoftuke - As a recently retired DHS staff member having served 10 yrs with Centrelink & 3 yrs as a DHS Manager prior to retiring I must say your views on DHS career pathways & how Performance Assessments effect are greatly misguided.
    Rae
    25th Nov 2015
    5:06pm
    Rose, I assume then DHS is the only gov service provider that does not now promote on merit. If your CV is up to scratch and you present well at interview in you go. No need to prove anything nor work your way up through a system.

    Performance Assessments involve ticking a lot of silly boxes.
    The whole thing is a joke when you look back to how well it worked decades ago in the bad old pen and ink days. It should be so much more productive now but it isn't.

    Many of the gov computer systems are failing. Opus, TAFE,the new mygov. Whoever was contracted to provide these networks needs to be made to fix them up.
    Rae
    25th Nov 2015
    5:07pm
    Sorry not opus I meant Opal which is a shambles in NSW.
    geofftuke
    25th Nov 2015
    6:21pm
    Sorry Rose.
    Dad had 45 years in public service, brother had 35 and I've had much of my working life dealing various govt departments and it's not every manager who can't quite handle the job they're promoted to, but there are/were quite a few. The main thrust of my comment was that it is evident that somewhere in the upper levels of decision makers in the PS, there is someone, at least one person who has made some poor decisions regarding the methods of handling centrelink customers
    bandy
    25th Nov 2015
    3:57pm
    I feel for that poor woman as i went through a similar situation a few years ago but was fortunate enough to meet a centrelink officer who knew his job & was able to get things done.These people are few & far between.
    My opinion on most of the "front counter" people is that they cannot think outside of the square or because of lack of training or experience cannot understand peoples problems.Centrelink certainly wants to take a good look at some of their personnel
    Anonymous
    25th Nov 2015
    4:38pm
    Your right about that bandy I actually know a person who was on the phones for Centrelink and a bigger dope you could not find luckily she was given the boot and was even too stupid to sort out a disability pension for herself.
    Kato
    25th Nov 2015
    4:37pm
    When I first started using the my gov web site it was great. Then about seven months ago I couldn't change any of my details. After a two hour wait on the phone It just rang out. Got a friend to drive me over to My local Centre Link forty minute trip. Waited over an hour to see a customer service officer who changed some details was then advised they can only change so much for the rest I would need to ring and get them to change it?
    I still cannot change details online. Cant say I have ever had problems with staff but the system is shocking.
    Dragonfly
    25th Nov 2015
    5:12pm
    Hi!:)
    I've been a Client of CentreLink for several years due to my health issues.
    I find the Online site way too confusing, too much information and it doesn't really address my specific requirements.
    I use the self service for things like checking or getting an Advance Payments, but anything I need a specific answer to I ring ,Place the phone down and listen on speaker to that crappy music.
    On occasion they do have a call back system if the wait will be over 45mins then I do use this .Both of those alternatives are great.
    Once I reach the Person They couldn't be more supportive Friendly and informative Thanks to all who have received My calls I really appreciate you.:)
    We need to deal with our Local Office and have more access to People not machines to make it run more smoothly. Thanks :) Lynda
    Pudding
    25th Nov 2015
    5:30pm
    I must be lucky. I am a nominee for my daughter and also a Financial Administrator for a friend of ours, so I am also his nominee. So when I login to mygov, I can say who I want to use this session. ie myself, my daughter or my friend. Also have to login on my hubby's account as he does not know how to do so. I have hardly had any problems yet and don't want any in the future either.
    Fran
    25th Nov 2015
    6:06pm
    I had problems getting onto my MyGov account to get my messages. Even when it is in their favour, the Tax Office and MyGov can't get it right. I guessed that the latest message must be my tax bill and managed to get on to the Tax Office and get it sent snail mail. Should I have bothered to chase it?
    andy mack
    25th Nov 2015
    6:45pm
    First I would like to comment on MyGov - which give me access to Centrelink Tax Office and Medibank records. There never was a system like MyGov - it is straight out of Get Smart - it incorporates a laughable degree of security features - this idea of telephone passwords to access the most innocuous correspondence is quite pathetic. Here is a sample password - B271363811. This in itself is quite moronic - if you have access to MyGov and access to your mobile - then you password may as well be 5 or 2...etc.
    Here in Goulburn we have an excellent Medibank/Centrelink office and last time I was there the wait was about 3 minutes.
    One more thing - if you ring Centrelink on their general number you should bring a cut llunch. But if you ring them on their COMPLAINTS number the service is blitzschnell and the client services offices are truly professional and motivated to help.
    Finally - the concept that one must have a fully functioning MyGov account to qualify for Centrelink benefits beggar belief - the obsession with arbitrary security walls by Centrelink and others is testimony only to the fact that this department is obsessed with illusory security imperatives - and slick salesmanship on the part of their software designers.
    eggles01
    25th Nov 2015
    10:34pm
    HI,i am quite curious about the majority of people having trouble with the new site,i am 73 yrs i was born when we did not even have calculators and the first computer i saw was when i was 47 we had to use our brain and i have not had any trouble with it so it looks like the need for some is they should get some education so they can upgrade their brain
    andy mack
    26th Nov 2015
    7:38am
    What a gratuitous, self serving letter. I guess the syllogism is: I have not had any trouble with MyGov so it must be exemplary. But, in deference to your great age, I say "good luck to you!"
    Theo1943
    26th Nov 2015
    10:52pm
    Hmm, I am 72, 73 in January, and have been working on and with computers since I was 24. I can assure eggles01 that the MyGov system sucks. My desktop tells me it can't handle the multiple redirects to get me to Centrelink to report my earnings. I was able to do so on my android tablet but that doesn't allow me to have a printed copy. Nor will it email me one. It will not allow me to see what I entered, I will need to keep a record of my transaction in pencil. This is crap! The only reason I use it is because I have no option.
    My dad was sent a lettter three years ago that he would need to log on to get future letters or go to a Centrelink office. He is 101. Bloody morons.
    Sandy
    27th Nov 2015
    5:33pm
    eggles01. Your rude post does not reflect seniors in a good light I am a senior and do not have trouble with MyGov, but my daughter, who is a single mum nowadays has heaps of trouble, with them paying her benefits, then deciding to take them off her and so on. Her ex refuses to pay child support and causes other troubles behind her back so it is a nightmare for her. I have no doubt it is a nightmare for many others in her position. PS: There is nothing wrong with her brain so she does not need to upgrade it but I suggest you need to upgrade your manners (or lack thereof)!
    russm
    25th Nov 2015
    11:02pm
    I have my own ms smith, who used to be someone else's mrs smith. That in itself didn't prevent direct comms with centrelink pre-MyGov. With the new MyGov, she can't link with DVA (I am also a DVA recipient) because of name differences. Also ATO cannot be linked as she is known as miss smith.
    Regarding comms with MyGov when overseas, I successfully found all that's needed is for one of those international sims (I used a CoverMore one), that allows forwarding or even aliasing your Australian number, thereby enabling forwarding-on anything that comes in to your Australian number. We were in Paris, when I needed to do something MyGov, and received my sms accordingly, on my international sim.
    Regarding Centrelink, I avert internal frustration upon myself - by thinking of any Centrelink worker as simply being an unemployed-person-with-a-job. I pity them...
    Some people have mentioned service at particular locations: I frustrate myself at Watergardens, and Broadmeadows. If I want to achieve anything, and in a timely fashion, I travel out of town, namely Warragul, West Gippsland. They all seem to know their job well, and efficient, and saved us lots of heartache - several times!!.
    Another way to get quicker service, although for relatively simple requests only, is to go along to a stand-alone-Medicare office (I go to AltonaGate)
    Dealing with Centrelink: I find my best outcomes stem from being pro-active. Always go to them in the first instance, not waiting for them to query you and demanding you attend an appointment with them - on their terms. My dealings have all been positive when I take the lead, mainly relating to House ownership, relationship changes. over seas travel types of concerns.
    Ohyes! about logging into MyGov: Take care to remember if you do/or not have Capitals, Spaces etc in your secret answers. This caught me out several times in the past.
    Pass the Ductape
    26th Nov 2015
    1:18am
    I know it's probably the most convenient way to handle the volume of people attending Centrelink Offices, but I still can't help thinking I'm being treated similar to a cow queuing up to get slaughtered - or to be processed like a WW2 Jewish prisoner, simply waiting for my place in the gas chambers!
    andy mack
    26th Nov 2015
    7:34am
    The most efficient way to handle the huge volume of Centrelink clients would be a) tear gas; or b) A computer system so exasperating and so Orwellian that all customer resistance evaporates.
    Robin7
    26th Nov 2015
    2:19am
    MY MyGov account got "glitched" so badly that it had to be erased, and all the letters in the "account" (that I had not been able to read) went with it...
    Luckily all I was getting were notifications, and the only payment I get (for an infant daughter) gets put into my wifes account.
    the whole MyGov system is Pathetic.
    Argydubbaya
    26th Nov 2015
    10:16am
    Do pollititions draw their super from their ceinm account?
    Sandy
    27th Nov 2015
    11:04am
    Trying to sort things out with Centrelink is enough to make you bang your head on a brick wall out of sheer frustration. I cannot talk about it - it makes me feel suicidal! The 'phone only' system for some departments such as Families is useless.
    Adrianus
    27th Nov 2015
    2:58pm
    I have had absolutely no luck in making contact with the Australian Taxation Office or Fair Work Australia, so when I hear that 57million calls have gone unanswered at Centrelink there is no way I am ready for that. I often hear about clients of Centrelink going to gaol for defrauding the Government. Is it possible that they are part of the 57million who have been trying to report an inaccuracy in their benefits?

    27th Nov 2015
    3:37pm
    I have just received a ''second request'' for information that I supplied five months ago in response to a first request, and another 3 times in the past five months. I've provided it by posting online, by mailing registered post, and by handing it in at a local agency and watching them fax it through.

    In addition, we are being underpaid because Centrelink have completely ignored advice of a major change in circumstances that was advised and of which legal evidence was provided. The change was advised over 6 months ago and reminder letters have been sent on 5 separate occasions, twice enclosing copies of what was originally sent.

    A friend has received a bill for refund of overpayments because she was paid a lump sum by Comsuper after they realized they had failed - for 8 years - to pay her entitlements. No problem refunding the overpayment of the aged pension, but they've demanded more than she ever received and refuse to explain how the calculation was done.

    I know someone, aged 64, who was genuinely disabled but had lived off savings for 8 years, until they ran out. He was interviewed by a 22-year-old just out of university and dripping diamonds who giggled the whole way through the interview, then wrote a report saying she didn't think he was genuinely disabled (despite the doctor's and specialists' reports) because he didn't appear to be in pain, and even if he was with physiotherapy, counselling, and compelled to do voluntary work 2 days a week, he could be ''phased back into permanent employment within 3 years'' (2 years AFTER he qualified for an age pension!!!!)

    I could go on and write volumes about Centrelink failings and stuff-ups, and the arrogance and rudeness I've encountered when dealing with some of their staff. But I would also, in fairness, have to acknowledge the many dedicated and diligent staff who show kindness and compassion and do all in their power to make things right. I think the problem lies in the fact that jobs at Centrelink are far too secure. Staff who don't perform need to be sacked and replaced, and there needs to be clear penalties for messing things up and a compulsion for the staff who messed up to face the victim, listen to their story of the damage done, apologize, and ensure that the victim is properly compensated for their loss.
    Sweet pea
    27th Nov 2015
    4:10pm
    Last time I needed information from Centrelink, I had tried for 5 weeks even though I had the special seniors number.
    Can someone help me out with the wording on their website, "only one login is required for all three websites!" yet you still need a different password for each?
    Pudding
    27th Nov 2015
    5:42pm
    I spoke too soon. Checked my account and found that my Newstart had not been paid into the bank account. Could not log into Centrelink from MyGov so ended up ringing Centrelink. Gee thought that I was so lucky getting through in a few minutes. Sees that my Report Income to centrelink did not go through even though I did do it. Checked my receipt that I had printed but it had printed the date of the previous fortnight. My fault for not checking. I won't do that again. Hubby also did not notice the date when he checked it. Told the lady that I tried to log into Centrelink but was told that centrelink was down. So she said she would put me through to the right dept. After being 65 mins on the phone, at 4.30pm they hung up on me. Will now have to wait til Monday.
    Bobho
    28th Nov 2015
    2:48pm
    My wife and I have just spent over an hour trying to use the MyGov website to renew her Low Income HealthCare card.
    We have been unsuccessful - and were subjected to a 'round-robin' of links which continually took us back to the point at which we had started.
    The website is a user-unfriendly mess.
    We couldn't even submit feedback!
    When we tried we receive the message:
    " 404 Not Found...Error: Not Found .... SAP Technology. Troubleshooting Guide.... Details: No details available"

    Surely someone needs to be held accountable for this?
    It doesn't matter which political party is in power - this is an issue for which senior public servants/s should be held accountable. Somebody commissioned and supervised the creation of the MyGov/Centrelink website and they should be at least demoted (in private enterprise they would probably be fired).

    However, what the Government in power ( and the Minister responsible can be held accountable for) is their failure to fast track a solution to the mess and let voters know what is being done and how long it will take to be 'fixed'.

    It is all very well to have staff at CentreLink behaving well under trying circumstances and for someone like Hank DeJong acting promptly when contacted but that is treating the symptoms, not the cause. We shouldn't have to go to the Ombusman to fix this -or to our local member - senior public servants and the Minister should be taking prompt action without having tbe pushed. I believe it is time to stop being understanding and start being impatient.

    Please let me know.
    Pudding
    28th Nov 2015
    4:37pm
    I certainly agree Bobho.I wonder how our Pollies would cope if they had to get their payment through Centrelink?
    Sandy
    28th Nov 2015
    5:19pm
    Haha, the mind boggles, Pudding. It would have been fixed in two minutes flat if it affected the pollies' payments. The older I get the more cynical I become and I have discovered we have to fight for ourselves because nobody else will.
    Chris
    30th Nov 2015
    8:23pm
    I have attempted to contact hank regarding a Centrelink problem. Unfortunately both email addresses shown on this website (by BB1) are not existing.
    hank@centrelink.com.au and hank@humanservices.com.au

    Chris
    andy mack
    30th Nov 2015
    8:44pm
    Chris - the email address is not .com.au - it is .gov.au
    that is
    hank@humanservices.gov.au
    happy corresponding !
    Libby
    30th Nov 2015
    10:43pm
    I hope this will help you all. I go over Centrelink's head to write direcly to the big boss Hank Jongen, General Manager, Dept of Human Services. I got my answer 2 days later from Centrelink office! He's even got a Facebook page - facebook.com/officialhankjongen or try writing directly to Marise Payne, Minister for Human Services. If she's no longer there, it will be passed on to whoever's taken over, or the Commonwealth Ombudsman but they take ages. It can't hurt to try. The stupid thing about MyGov is I can't log in on Google to get to my details. I HAVE to use internet explorer.Why didn't they leave well enough alone? Stupid government do stupid things, KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid!)
    andy mack
    1st Dec 2015
    4:35am
    Hello Libby - Marise Payne is the newly appointed Minister for Defence - you'll have to Google the Minister for Human Services.
    Gypsyfeet
    1st Dec 2015
    12:42am
    The 'My Gov' is a nightmare, especially as someone pointed out, if you are elderly, not techno savvy, have a disability physical or mental. This aged pensioner with a disability, had to go to the office because My Gov was not working, I wanted to apply for the 6 monthly loan, only to be put on a computer with some young man instructing me, with very little privacy & then told the reason I could not get in to apply for the loan (which I have been doing for years( was because I have my young son down on my file as able to deal with things on my behalf!!! He has been down for years & never before had this come up. Does this mean that now I am on aged pension I need my son's permission to apply for a loan? I certainly have not received any notification that this is now the rule, has anyone else come across this?
    Pudding
    1st Dec 2015
    6:15am
    Gypsyfeet, I am a nominee for my daughter and it is mainly to contact Centrelink if she is unable to do so. She gets her loan by herself. I do not have to do it for her. Cannot see why it would be different for you. Maybe the person you saw gave you incorrect information.
    PIXAPD
    1st Dec 2015
    7:46am
    I have No trouble with the MYGOV site...been using it since it's inception.....never been given the run around by Centrelink BUT I have always made sure I had all the info they asked for. Keep them updated on any changes but really none now that I been on the pension for years. Don't know the answer to that ladies problems...but I do know if you set up MYGOV correctly and keep your passwords and secret questions stored away you should have no problems with the site.
    eggles01
    2nd Dec 2015
    9:30pm
    it is great to see another person commenting hear that backs up my theory that if you things the right way and take notice of what is required to do you can do it
    Chris
    1st Dec 2015
    11:27am
    Dear Andy Mack

    Thanks a lot for providing the correct emails for Hank Jonken. I received an initial response to my "diminishing" age pension (income stream related) enquiry this morning.
    Pudding
    1st Dec 2015
    4:51pm
    I cannot agree with you PIXAPD. Just because you have had no problems, it does not mean that other people have not. I myself had never had any serious problems until last week. One problem I have come across is that the MYGOV website works better using Internet Explorer or Edge (the new one replacing Internet Explorer). I have found the MYGOV does not like some of the other browsers. Found this searcing for Insurance quotes. One will work fine with Mozilla but not with Internet Explorer and vice versa.

    2nd Dec 2015
    8:36pm
    I've been highly critical of Centrelink, and for good cause. But I have to praise ''Sally'' who spent over an hour on the phone with me today going through dozens of issues and was amazingly helpful. She is to be highly commended for her patience, kindness, and careful explanations.

    Mygov, however, failed the test dismally. Sally told me the steps to go through to achieve a result and at every turn I got messages that a function was unavailable at this time or access to this is not available. Most of the issues I brought up with Sally resulted from me trying to use Mygov to submit documents and it consistently failing.

    To be fair, sending the documents by handing them over the counter was no more successful. I asked Sally why updates dating back six months hadn't been acknowledged or acted on and the answer was that they hadn't received them. They got the cover page only. It specified the attachments. Where did the attachments go? I watched the counter staff at the agency fax them and I got a fax receipt specifying the number of pages successfully sent, so not only were they lost in Centrelink's offices, but careless staff didn't bother to follow up after reading a cover letter that referred to attachments that weren't attached. They simply ignored the letter. Not once. Not twice. Three times in three months! And follow-up letters asking why no action had been taken and no response received were simply ignored.

    Who the hell cares if a change of circumstances increases a client's entitlements and they are underpaid because the notice of change is ignored? Bet they'd be in a big hurry to act if it were the other way around though. Imagine the threats and penalties if a change that reduced entitlements wasn't advised.

    The problem with Centrelink is jobs there are totally secure and staff get away with under-performing, while the diligent get minimal reward. It's time to sack the lazy and careless members of staff and replace them. There are enough unemployed out there. I'm sure there would be many well qualified and eager to replace the incompetents.
    Adrianus
    4th Dec 2015
    9:07am
    Rainey they cannot be sacked, they are union members. I have had no experience with Centrelink other than the time I tried to return a stimulation cheque. That gave me an insight into the lack of accountability, poor attitude and insufficient skill sets of staff. Well at least the six staff I had phone contact with. However, I have been around long enough to realise that you only need to talk with two or three people in an organisation to get a feel for its culture. Sally appears to have too much self respect to follow the crowd. She's a keeper!
    Pudding
    4th Dec 2015
    8:25am
    Sorry to hear about your problems with Centrelink Rainey. I needed to update some new financial details myself so I contacted our financial adviser as we had to let them know the changes as well. They updated our details themselves. I would have just faxed the details. A couple of days later they advised us that the details had been updated by phone and conformed. I said that i did not mean for them to go to so much trouble and then they said that even though they upload the info, they then phone to make sure that it gone thought. Apparently, whoever receives it does not open it or store it where it is supposed to go. I see where the Government is going off where people are claiming more that they should and are not updating their details. Maybe they should be checking as to why when people do update their details, they are not being updated by Centrelink itself.
    Blossom
    18th Dec 2015
    7:01pm
    A friend of mine retired from part time work early this year and applied for an Aged Pension.
    She was told she HAD give them an email address or.....

    8th Jan 2016
    5:55pm
    Centrelink keep reducing our payments claiming increased assets. but they have listed an asset that doesn't exist and are overestimating our total by nearly $200,000. They've been sent evidence of their error 14 times over 7 months but just ignore it. How can they do an adjustment that reduces payments in a day after advice of a change, but can't respond to advice that leads to higher payments? Not good enough!
    Adrianus
    8th Jan 2016
    6:50pm
    Clearly they have their priorities which don't match their clients'. What reason did they give for overestimating assets?
    andy mack
    8th Jan 2016
    8:03pm
    You should have brought this to the attention of your local Federal MP long ago - a phone call will do to begin.
    Pudding
    9th Jan 2016
    7:00am
    I asked our financial advisers as to whether they wanted me to update our financial details or did they want to do it themselves. They did it themselves and a few days later they advised me that they had rang Centrelink to update the details. We had to see them a few weeks later, and I said that I did not mean for them to fing Centrelink as I usually faxed them any updates. I was told that even if you send them updates, most times that when the update is received, nobody seems to really care and the updates are often ignored. They ring to make sure that the updates have been received and that they have applied to our account.

    8th Jan 2016
    5:57pm
    And here's a classic. After acknowledging advice of a relative's death and stopping his pension, they wrote to say they are reducing the pension they are not paying him because he's dead to repay a loan that doesn't exist because it was paid in full many months ago!
    Adrianus
    8th Jan 2016
    6:47pm
    They are simply incompetent Rainey.
    There are a few people in our gaols for not reporting the deaths of relatives. They should be grateful that you want to keep the records up to date.
    andy mack
    8th Jan 2016
    8:08pm
    Even this farrago of nonsense could be brought to the attention of your local Federal MP's office - in the interest of rationalising the operation of your relevant Centrelink office. And it's good enough to get a run in your local paper's Letter to the Editor.
    KB
    11th Aug 2016
    10:26am
    Not alone. I had a 2 hour wait and was disconnected.Had to phone again with an hour wait. Not good enough when you are on a disability pension. unable to visit a Centrelink Office. When I do eventually get help then the assistant directs me to someone else. The government ,must employ more people or offer call back on landlines for people with disabilities, This would save time and money for pensioners,
    KB
    11th Aug 2016
    10:26am
    Not alone. I had a 2 hour wait and was disconnected.Had to phone again with an hour wait. Not good enough when you are on a disability pension. unable to visit a Centrelink Office. When I do eventually get help then the assistant directs me to someone else. The government ,must employ more people or offer call back on landlines for people with disabilities, This would save time and money for pensioners,
    Cat
    30th Nov 2016
    12:54pm
    "Just remember, it’s often not the fault of the Centrelink customer service staff that you have an issue and, on most occasions, they are doing their best to try and help." That is right, it is the fault of Kathryn Campbell who is responsible for this continuing never ending MESS.