11th Jan 2017
Overworked Centrelink staff brace for onslaught of calls

The Centrelink debt recovery saga is far from over, with hundreds of thousands of Aussies stretched to breaking point and Centrelink customer service staff preparing for the imminent onslaught of appeals.

In an effort to recover $4.6 million of debt over four years, the Government has cracked down on welfare recipients by sending almost 170,000 letters, demanding that hundreds of thousands of Centrelink customers provide more detailed information or risk having to repay their benefit.

Despite pleas from the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) to suspend the flawed automated letter-delivery system, the Government is continuing with its controversial plan. The CPSU is now warning that Centrelink’s staff will soon be under immense pressure, trying to deal with an influx of benefit applications from confused students and pensioners attempting to understand the changes to their payments, as well as the anticipated new applications that are made each year.

 Assistant National Secretary of the CPSU, Michael Tull says the agency’s standards have already dropped to “unacceptable levels” due to thousands of job cuts in the Department of Human Services (DHS). He says the latest welfare debacle will place even more pressure on overworked staff.

“Thousands of jobs have been cut in the Department of Human Services and that's why service standards have dropped to unacceptable levels, including 36 million missed calls to the DHS just last year alone,” Mr Tull said.

“This scheme is an absolute nightmare for thousands of Centrelink customers who’ve done absolutely nothing wrong, and the staff who are bearing the brunt of this mess,” he said.

However, the Department says the customer demand is normal for this time of year.

On Monday, the Commonwealth Ombudsman launched an official investigation into the automated Centrelink system, which has seen tens of thousands of innocent customers asked to provide detailed documentation within 14 or 21 days (some of it dating back six years).

Have you or a friend or relative received a letter from Centrelink asking you to provide more information? If so, how have you responded?

Read more at smh.com.au
Read more at canberratimes.com.au

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    COMMENTS

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    Aussiefrog
    11th Jan 2017
    10:25am
    Time to sack this incompetent government
    Fredklaus
    11th Jan 2017
    12:00pm
    LIKE
    jackie
    11th Jan 2017
    1:52pm
    Incompetent is hardly the word for the parasites.
    Sceptic
    12th Jan 2017
    3:58pm
    Having done a quick scan of the comments on this subject from the usual suspects who are attacking the current Government for the reported problems in the mail out. i notice that none have mentioned that this was introduced by The current leader and deputy leader of the opposition when Labor was in Government. The launch was done with a great deal of fanfare of what a wonderful job they had done.

    It seems that the contributors today have very short or conveniently short memories, as suits their agendas.
    TREBOR
    12th Jan 2017
    11:04pm
    Oh - I dunno - I somehow think that three plus years at the helm of this particular Titanic is enough to apportion blame where it belongs.....
    johninmelb
    11th Jan 2017
    11:13am
    Aussiefrog,

    How? Tell us what we need to do to fix this problem today.

    We need action not useless words.
    Oldman Roo
    11th Jan 2017
    11:44am
    johninmelb , Aussiefrog has certainly come up with the best solution to this debacle and , no doubt , many others associated with the present LNP Government . Although LNP followers may find that a bit hard to take .
    johninmelb
    11th Jan 2017
    11:47am
    I agree.

    I hate the LNP as much as you do.

    NOW TELL US WHAT TO DO TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM TODAY.
    Oldman Roo
    11th Jan 2017
    12:09pm
    Physically it can not be resolved to everyone,s satisfaction today . The fastest method would be to withdraw the present way it has been handled and adopt a new approach without demands of repayments until all FACTS have been established in consultation with the people who have received the letters .
    Anonymous
    11th Jan 2017
    12:16pm
    johninmelb, why don't YOU get off your duff and do something? You keep asking other people to do this and that. Show us some action yourself rather than shooting off at the mouth all the time.
    Old Geezer
    11th Jan 2017
    1:38pm
    It will all be over in a in a week or two or when the media gets some better to get their teeth into.
    Rae
    11th Jan 2017
    3:52pm
    Employ a few public servants who can count and realise it might be a very bad idea to sack staff when your policy is adding 200 000 new immigrants each year and the baby boomers are hitting 67.

    Then they can advise the government accordingly.

    The employment of uni grads might save dollars in the short term but the constant mistakes are creating big bills in the longer term.
    HarrysOpinion
    11th Jan 2017
    11:15am
    Many pensioners have dispensed with landline telephone lines in favour of pre-paid mobile phone. When you phone Centrelink you are put on hold. The waiting time for someone from Centrelink to answer your phone call can be horrendous and so is the cost charged by your mobile phone service provider during the waiting time. Last time I waited for Centrelink staff to answer my phone call it cost me $39.80. Many pensioners obtain a $20 pre-paid mobile for one month usage. The waiting time wastes the $20 pre-paid credit. Alternative is to make a long trip effort to go to Centrelink branch and use one of their customer telephones. There may be a long queue for the phone and a lengthy waiting time for Centrelink staff to answer the phone call but it will not cost you an 'arm and a leg'. When the Australian Labor Party was in government the service from Centrelink was very good. If you made a phone call and the phone was not answered within 5 minutes you could opt for a call back. But, not under this shoddy Liberal-National Coalition Party government, this option has been discontinued. This government is oblivious to the fact that pensioners can't afford the telephone waiting time cost to resolve their issues. Many innocent pensioners are suffering at the hands of this callous, inept government.
    Idontforget
    11th Jan 2017
    11:24am
    Hear Hear. Yes, they removed the call back option. But the Minister did not announce this in front of the TV camera with a couple of dummies standing behind him programmed to smile and nod when he said something about the LNP Government and ready to scowl when he mentioned the opposition. No, it was removed in the dead of night. Selfish scumbags with their snouts in the taxpayers trough.
    Mamacrystal
    11th Jan 2017
    11:33am
    " This government is oblivious to the fact that pensioners can't afford the telephone waiting time cost to resolve their issues".... that's because they have a Marie Antoinette attitude......"let them eat cake".
    Triss
    11th Jan 2017
    12:30pm
    Seriously it's time to be businesslike about this. Make up an invoice for the money lost whilst waiting on mobile phones and send it to CentreLink. I'm not being facetious, if CentreLink and the government can send out accounts then so can we. State that it must be paid 21 days from date of letter or it will be put in the hands of the debt collectors.
    In my opinion t's a legitimate invoice that CentreLink has accrued, if they don't pay their bills then we can't pay the ones they send to us. We're not second class citizens and it's about time the government and their departments realised that fact.
    Bonny
    12th Jan 2017
    7:02am
    I've got the NBN and the phone and all calls come as a free addon.
    marls
    12th Jan 2017
    8:07pm
    bonny
    i dont have NBN in my area
    Anonymous
    15th Jan 2017
    8:44am
    Lots of Centrelink clients don't have NBN, Bonny. Many don't even have reliable mobile phone cover. But it's okay, isn't it? Because as long as Bonny is fine, stuff the rest of the population. The arrogance and lack of empathy is really sickening.
    inextratime
    11th Jan 2017
    11:24am
    Centrelink was in disarray before this latest chaotic mess. And to think I voted Liberal until the last election. Never again. Massive pensions, rorting travel expenses. Time for a complete political change, but they're all as bad as each other. Maybe abandon compulsory voting, then no more manipulating minority groups to get the 51%.
    HDRider
    11th Jan 2017
    11:49am
    Whilst you did vote Liberal inextratime, you actually voted for a set PM, that was ABBOTT not the piece of excrement who stabbed him in the back!
    Agreed, They are all the same, liars thieves and cheats and Jongen plus the minister should be sacked immediately!
    eggles01
    11th Jan 2017
    10:47pm
    to inextratime,have you just been born or are you a greens/labor coalition stirer , the same thing has been going on with every federal government as long as I can remember,I am now 74yrs,if you put the labor party in government in the next election remember you are putting in the green party and they hold all the keys to the labor parties handcuffs,with most of these complaints it appears there are a lot of people out there that are dirtying their nappies and praying that they will not be caught
    BrianP
    11th Jan 2017
    11:28am
    Petition required to demand the resignation of the PM.
    johninmelb
    11th Jan 2017
    11:49am
    Where did you set it up so we can all sign?

    But it is not the resignation of the PM we need, it is the sacking of the LNP goverment immediately, not in three years time.

    The problem needs to be fixed TODAY, and that means we need ACTION not words.
    Fredklaus
    11th Jan 2017
    12:02pm
    LIKE
    Eddy
    11th Jan 2017
    12:28pm
    If the GG could prorogue (ie sack) the Whitlam Labour government (because the Liberal and DLP opposition blocked supply in the Senate) for the sake of the Australian people then why can't the current GG do the same now so we can have a new election.
    Even if the GG refuses (as he probably would to preserve his knighthood) it would at least give the Turnbull opponents in the LP a boost. Even if we got back the Mad Monk it could be better than the current PM who turns bull into an art form.
    Patriot
    11th Jan 2017
    2:40pm
    Eddy,
    Excellent logic - as it makes sense it is likely to be correct.

    Does anybody have ANY idea of the mechanics to be deployed for such an action to eventuate.
    That is - Petition the GG to SACK this Government because of Intimidating & Bullying tactics???
    Old Geezer
    11th Jan 2017
    2:43pm
    So we call for the sacking of a PM because people have been caught out giving false information to Centrelink? I have never heard anything so stupid.
    Anonymous
    11th Jan 2017
    3:45pm
    johninmelb, you do a lot of talk-the-talk, how 'bout letting us see if you can walk-the-walk, "action man"?
    johninmelb
    11th Jan 2017
    4:47pm
    So you want someone else to do the work, while you sit on your backside and type inane garbage every day on an obscure website, pollies don't read.

    As I stated in another forum where we have debated the same stuff over and over again, I am more than willing to take on the job of PM and start getting this country sorted out quick smart.

    There is only one fly in the ointment, no-one is yet supporting me.

    And as the idle rich, and the pollies of all colours with their snouts in the trough, won't like me taking away their perks to provide for a fairer Australia for all, then I ain't got no chance. And let's not forget the Public Service, they would fight me tooth and nail, lest I succeed in dragging them into the 21st century.

    And once I become PM, a lot of politicians, past and present, are going to end up in gaol, where they should have gone a long time ago. Not only that, they are going to have to pay back to the Commonwealth, every cent they have rorted. How do think that will go down with the current lot?

    So Fast Eddie, what are you going to do to help me help you? That is the $64,000 (taxable) question.
    Anonymous
    11th Jan 2017
    5:31pm
    Sure, you present this forum with a sensible action plan and we shall go from there.
    tatsuo
    13th Jan 2017
    4:38pm
    Old Geezer, I have just received a debt notice for $3,414 that was correctly paid to me when I was unemployed in 2010/2011. I have not been "caught out giving false information to Centrelink" in fact the opposite is true.
    In reviewing Centrelink's figures and calculations relating to my case, I see (in the column titled "Actual income, What you recently told Centrelink") they have altered the amount of earned income I declared each fortnight, inserting an average amount which is just wrong. They have used this average figure for each fortnight, including the two months when there was no work at my temp job and I earned no income (and thus received Newstart allowance). To purport that I told them this fortnightly income looks like fraud to me. I have screen shots of all this and will now give Minister Fudge the opportunity to correct the lies before I take this to the next level being the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. I will fight this as far as the law permits and the bastards will not get a cent out of me in the interim.
    John from Perth
    11th Jan 2017
    11:31am
    Census all over again Gross incompetence. Meanwhile politicians continue
    spending tax payers money on travel, meals, alcohol to save for their early retirement.

    They are thieves. Nothing more.
    cdbstock
    11th Jan 2017
    6:09pm
    Noses in the trough again! Source of the money - simple - go after the poor pensioners! While the ‘rules’ for parliamentarians need tightening for serving parliamentarians - they also need changing for ex-parliamentarians. I propose: increase pay & allowances to parliamentarians (say by 100%) to attract sound people & to compensate existing parliamentarians for their losses of privileges - & pay nothing to ex-parliamentarians (eg: no gold passes, no offices, no drivers, etc); pay superannuation according to the same rules as the rest of us (eg contributory, age of access)
    A third political party that promise such change is necessary - how could the major parties argue against such change - they would lose votes big time.
    There are 2 such parties - 'One Nation' & NXT
    Old Man
    11th Jan 2017
    11:42am
    This is a beat-up. If 169,000 letters have been sent and there have been less than 2% of complaints, how does the comment "hundreds of thousands of Aussies stretched to breaking point" fit in. Please stop treating your readers like idiots, most of us have a memory that lasts more than a day.
    Idontforget
    11th Jan 2017
    11:52am
    I take the Government announcement that there are only 2% of complaints regarding CL clawing back alleged over payments with skepticism. Many, if not all, Members of Parliament would have great difficulty lying straight in bed so how can you trust their words when to tell the truth would show their incompetence
    HDRider
    11th Jan 2017
    11:57am
    Old Man, its not much of a beat-up, this is almost a copy of the ABC report on it all. The important points are, the Ombudsman deems it necessary to launch an investigation into it all.
    One MP has allegedly spoken to 4 suicidal pensioners, if one life is lost due to a blunder from Govt or those acting on behalf of Govt in a negligent way, I'd say that is bloody serious, wouldn't you?
    Beat-up or not, there are SERIOUS problems and it is those that should be recognised, not a bit of math that someone may have exagerated!
    john
    11th Jan 2017
    12:36pm
    Don't be a fool old man. If it was one stuffed up pension , allowance one stuffed up rort to travel its one too much. And the real figure for centrelink is probably a much bigger figure than anyone knows , grow a brain, this is all wrong, this government is making huge errors, and there is a way...... someone who knows how to set up a Sack the Government, and can get a petition sent to the Governor General, then that's the way to go!
    Old Geezer
    11th Jan 2017
    1:12pm
    Old Man you are right it is a media beat up. It has been going over 6 months and it has taken one or two disgruntled people to take it to the media. Since it is a slow period over Christmas they have run with it.
    Old Man
    11th Jan 2017
    1:43pm
    https://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/news/centrelink-debacle-hits-thousands?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Volume%2017%20Issue%206%20Daily%20eNews%20Monday%209%20January&utm_content=Volume%2017%20Issue%206%20Daily%20eNews%20Monday%209%20January+Version+B+CID_1dd10459072591ee10795bf2c78a0c56&utm_source=campaign%20monitor&utm_term=claiming%20is%20fundamentally%20flawed

    This is the link of an article on this site on 9/1.

    Idontforget, the problem I have is that you say that a politician's word can't be trusted yet HDRider tell us that an MP allegedly has spoken to 4 would-be suicides and we are expected to believe that. Either an MP's word can be trusted or not, we can't pick and choose the ones we agree with and disparage the ones that don't suit us.

    @john, I can only comment on the facts placed before me, not make up more to suit an argument. Have you any sort of proof that the real figure for Centrelink is probably a much bigger than anyone knows? I have a brain and I use it to disseminate facts, not enter into the world of fantasy.
    Old Geezer
    11th Jan 2017
    1:53pm
    Anyone threatening suicide is just after attention. The ones that commit suicide just do it and it comes as shock to everyone.

    That said these people are just after attention and it would not surprise me if they have done the wrong thing as well and owe the money plus much more.
    Old Geezer
    11th Jan 2017
    2:31pm
    Old Man below is what is really happening. It is nothing like the media what people to believe at all.

    http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/business/what-happens-when-you-get-a-centrelink-letter/news-story/b6a1ab30d41e82c963fa9b5cdddf579c
    TREBOR
    12th Jan 2017
    9:42am
    Only 2% have managed to get through to Centrelink - many are on holidays with rellies or whatever at this time of year - many likely feel they cannot win against City Hall.. countless reasons the official complaint level isn't quoted as higher.

    Fat Hank has already refuted the Minister's statement that they've 'recovered $300m already' - by clarifying that they've 'identified $300m already' USING THIS SYSTEM THAT, FROM REPORTS, IS BASED ON A FALSE CALCULATION PARADIGM, taking an entire year's income and calculating Centrelink Entitlements from that instead of income during the period of unemployment.

    Lies piled on lies, and any lie will do as long as it fits the official fantasy.
    Stoker
    11th Jan 2017
    11:51am
    Oh dear I had no idea it was politicians of whatever colour that were the idiots working the computers, as you say sack them all.
    TREBOR
    12th Jan 2017
    10:21am
    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1f/Truman_pass-the-buck.jpg
    Tom Tank
    11th Jan 2017
    12:07pm
    Pity they are not chasing the "spend a lot politicians" with the same vigour.
    Triss
    11th Jan 2017
    12:48pm
    When you think about it the only money the government has to play with is Age Pension and disability. By giving a different status to public servants and Age pensioners it has allowed government to bullet proof public service pensions and have a chunk of money left that they have called welfare in which to dip into.
    john
    11th Jan 2017
    12:30pm
    Once again we read about centrelink and sit in absolute amazement at the facts that we all know, that this government have removed many many staff from the centrelink areas they are most needed. They have refused so far to re think this stupid messed up reclaiming of moneys from people and the fact that many being asked to repay money do not owe back anything.
    Then we read one after the other of government and opposition ministers misusing their so called allowances , and they do , by taking trips when there is no reason for them officially, and that makes me think that maybe they are making up reasons to go somewhere officially just to do private business.
    Abbott was a coward when it came to B. Bishop, and Turnbull is a coward this time with Ley , who once again doesn't even understand the concept and defends herself vigorously yet there is no defence for stupidity and not realising that you are well off, pay your own way if youR doing private business.
    Then Labor's Burke ?? Well taking your family on a holiday to Uluru, on my taxes , no way. They are all as rotten as the next. Of course the Vic labor bloke chauffeuring his dog about in government vehicles.
    They have proven to all voters that the standard of people going into politics has dropped , They've gone into the major 2 parties over the last few years through ego and cronyism, and then they follow a party line which means they DO NOT goveern for every one! That is a lie. We've heard them all say that before, even Trump said it in America. Hah!
    I've re booked a meeting with the aged pension Centrelink financial advisers , if there are any less. I think I have been one of the mistakes having been refused aged pension , or part pension, or even a CSHC, I am wondering if it'll be another year or 4 or 5 before I even get an appointment.
    This government and the cleaning out of staff in an area that staff are desperately needed is bordering on gigantic incompetence , the rorts in travel is almost if not corruption by stealth and excuse of work, Computer screen meetings can be held , why fly.
    One last thing , people who want a republic , beware of this fact,the system we live in at the moment called a Monarchy, has nothing to do with the UK or the Queen, if you think that, then your wrong.
    We are a sovereign state who control ourselves, but that system allows us to retain a person with a power to remove a government if something dreadful goes wrong. Its the position of Governor General.
    It is safe and protects us from bad bad decisions, it may protect us one day from fools like this government , and opposition who rort the system and could do worse things looking down the track.
    Thats why we keep the exact same set up for the governor general, call the GG what you like, president what ever , but for me, how we are, is safe , well the safest when you look at the world now and its leaders, also its past leaders, Iraq falls squarely on the head of George W and Cheney and Rumsfeld as does ISIS.
    Bit off the subject I know, but watching these fools at the moment and looking at their scrupples I want nothing to do with any kind of change from this protected one ever!
    Rae
    11th Jan 2017
    6:00pm
    Totally agree john. The only protection we have is The Constitution. The Republican movement has been trying to bring it undone for decades. It cramps the ideas they have of total power and control.
    TREBOR
    12th Jan 2017
    9:50am
    In one sense, the position of GG has been hobbled since the days of Sir John Kerr - since Labour, being on the receiving end at that time, vowed they would never do what the LNP did then - which was cut off supply to trigger some action.

    Remember also that the position of Governor General - or for that matter high ranks in the armed forces or the police forces - usually mean that the person so appointed has political acumen (whether they have real competence in the position is a separate question), which does not readily translate into taking a serious action such as sacking a government.

    My general rule in judging people in office is to ask myself if Her Majesty herself would do, accept or condone the actions these people do - often to Her subjects. I believe the title "Not a Fit And Proper Representative of Her Majesty" fits the majority.

    Would Her Majesty knowingly accept perjury as the norm from prosecution witness in the courts? Would Her Majesty flout the rights of individuals who were poor?
    Charlie
    11th Jan 2017
    12:37pm
    Hell I only want to get my pension put into a different bank account. It seems like I leave myself open for a massive stuff up, if I even go near the place.
    Old Geezer
    11th Jan 2017
    1:18pm
    Just simply change it online.
    Old Geezer
    11th Jan 2017
    1:36pm
    No wonder Centrelink staff are over worked with request like this.
    Rae
    11th Jan 2017
    6:08pm
    OG people have continually stated that they can't get online. Unless you have an up to date browser I suspect that is true.

    I don't get a pension from them but I did seek info once and after the 68 minute wait on hands free I got on. No one could answer a simple question and I was again put on hold and then disconnected. What is with the appalling music they use?

    The staff are over worked because we are millions more now and huge numbers of boomers needing advice and the dim wits sacked thousands of staff and closed heaps of centres because they thought the technology would work. It doesn't.

    I was in Stanthorpe two night ago and the whole town had slow internet coverage.

    The nut jobs running the place have tried to put 20st Century tech into twentieth century infrastructure and it just don't work.

    I've been in third world countries with better internet speeds.

    I'm not just after your darling LNP either. Labor is just as guilty of wasting resources, sucking up to multinationals and neglecting to build what should have been built by now.
    Rae
    11th Jan 2017
    6:10pm
    That should be 21st century tech into 20th century infrastructure.
    TREBOR
    12th Jan 2017
    9:51am
    They're overworked because they are neither selected nor trained fully and correctly - for ages now the wrong kinds of people have been employed in the PS for political purposes.
    marls
    12th Jan 2017
    8:13pm
    charlie
    i was eligible for the aged pension 6wks ago and i have been told it may take months all due because i have a trust account for my grandson with a lousy $600 i have tried many times to call its a waste of time have to go into the office and wait until they come and tell me its with assessments still and may take months
    Andy
    11th Jan 2017
    12:45pm
    Like the ATO you can bet Centrelink keeps mum when it is clear that they owe money.
    TREBOR
    12th Jan 2017
    10:24am
    Yes - a few refund cheques going the rounds would help their case..... if they were as honest and above board as they claim when labeling people cheats and fraudsters.

    11th Jan 2017
    12:51pm
    Malinger Turnbull should give Alan Tudge "the nudge" - right after Selfish Sussan.
    TREBOR
    12th Jan 2017
    10:25am
    Tudge and Porter seem that kind of politician with two brain cells warily circling one another lest they accidentally connect in some way... and generate sense...
    Annie
    11th Jan 2017
    1:13pm
    My disabled son received one of these letters in early December. I didn't ask him what was in it until this debacle hit the headlines. When I looked into it he had gone to the local Centrelink office and was told he would have to pay approx $2K from his pension at $80 fn.so he agreed. He couldn't remember what happened as the "amended calculation" was from July to November 2010 - six years ago! The form letter said he earned $10K during that period which is correct as per his tax return and he was a casual worker at an oyster farm for only four months that year and did not have any other work for the rest of that financial year. He did not have any payslips from then as the employer was pretty slack with his paperwork and basically issued a cheque (no electronic payment) and then would write the details on a piece of paper if he was asked!! Based on my son's bank statements for that period (luckily the bank gives access to past seven years of records online for free ) my son had received reduced Disability Pension payments over the period he worked at the oyster farm so he must have been declaring his income...right? So for the rest of that financial year 2011 he received full pension each fortnight. So how can he owe more that $2K in overpayments??

    What I would like to know, is if I made a complaint on his behalf ( I am his carer) will that commence a review of that assessment or does he have to go through the whole process again himself. He would be too stressed by that as he really doesn't want to talk about it. He does have a serious mental illness and I fear that he may revert and become unwell again. When Allan Wilkie said he had heard from some people who expressed suicidal thought from this debacle I can totally understand as the stress can be devastating for people with no support from family to fall back on financially and emotionally. It's not fair either on the poor staff at Centrelink who have to cope with the fallout from these 'incorrect' letters. They will also have some employees who will probably have to take sick leave as they will be unable to cope.

    The minister responsible took his own sweet time before making a comment on this issue cause he was on holiday!! Well he gets paid a heck of a lot more than a person on a Disability Pension and is working for us, the public, and should be available to make decisions to take actions 365 days a year. After all, he will be paid a healthy pension himself when he leaves office and yet can still go get another well paid job...a la Joe Hockey! This is one old swinging voter who will never vote Liberal again! Rant over!!
    KSS
    11th Jan 2017
    1:24pm
    Get in touch with the employer, ask for a written statement of the periods your son was employed including dates and wages amounts. Get that signed by a JP and take it and the bank statements (and any other paperwork from Centrelink that relates to that period) and take it all to Centrelink. They should be able to sort it out on the spot.

    Oh and get there early and take a packed lunch. It could take a while.
    Annie
    11th Jan 2017
    1:33pm
    Thanks KSS - will have another chat with my son! Has to be worth following up even if it means some stress.
    KSS
    11th Jan 2017
    1:57pm
    Here is a link to the Commonwealth Stat Dec forms. This is a legal document. The employer still just writes the statement on this form and gets it signed by a JP (or one of the other listed permitted people). Centrelink should accept that document. Otherwise you can go the the Administrative Decisions Tribunal and get a judgement there.
    Old Geezer
    11th Jan 2017
    2:34pm
    If it happened to me I would just submit a stat dec with the information stating my case.
    Rae
    11th Jan 2017
    6:16pm
    I have a son, fortunately never on centrelink benefits still trying to get information from the farmer he worked for. Again it was a check each fortnight but I doubt any super, tax etc has been paid. This is happening everywhere and instead of insisting employers do the paperwork the government pulls this little scam. Absolute proof they have no idea of how the employee is being ripped off and hassled.
    eggles01
    11th Jan 2017
    11:01pm
    hey annie,i can tell you now that my cousin that worked for the commonwealth bank as a roving teller rang my moth at work in the mid 80s to tell her to make sure she did not make any mistakes of her income and also make sure that any claims she made on her tax to keep the receipts,that is the years that the banks and taxation dept joined forces so they have been watching for many years,the only other problem is,were they or are they still watching you
    Bonny
    12th Jan 2017
    7:26am
    There are many people around where I live on welfare and willingly work for cash. Farmers and others love it because they pay considerably less for labour and as most get cash for their produce and there is no record of all these transactions. So people get welfare and a bit extra speding money and the farmer gets his crop in. Everybody is happy.

    None of ths shows up at the ATO or Centrelink unless some one volunters this information.

    Occassionly we get a crackdown but nothing much comes of it.
    Rae
    12th Jan 2017
    8:25am
    Well my son isn't happy Bonny. He needs that documentation to prove he worked 40 hours a week for the past 3 years.

    I'm not at all happy with the rip offs of business people not paying workers correctly and not paying taxes either.

    I owned a farm for 18 years and paid wages, super and taxes. It isn't that hard. The ATO have the paperwork to help make it real easy.

    I don't know how the employers ripping off the workers can justify it to themselves. It is biting the hand that helps feed you.

    Then when there is no one willing to do the job for them don't they scream bloody murder.
    TREBOR
    12th Jan 2017
    9:53am
    I am official carer for my ex - Centrelink got her to sign a form saying I could represent her with them....
    Old Geezer
    12th Jan 2017
    11:09am
    Rae you need to contact Fairwork ombudsman for advice. I did recently for a young lass and from their advice she got a good outcome. It seems employers can get away with doing the wrong thing so many times it is worth the risk but cough up when Fairwork becomes involved.
    marls
    12th Jan 2017
    8:18pm
    rae
    my granddaughter worked extremely long hours doing a traineeship she was only allowed to record her 8hrs per day. on her time sheet by the end of a year working no group certificate and no money paid for super and she was to terrified to complain. these young kids are being truly ripped off by many employers
    TREBOR
    12th Jan 2017
    11:11pm
    Amazing how many people 'know' all these people who work for cash - they must follow them around, tap their phones, check their cash outlays... what need do we have of Centrelink cross-checking declared incomes when we have the Social Security Police on the job....

    A bit like the KGB having an informant in every apartment block, don't you think?

    Did you know there are people who actually believe that people on Unemployment Benefits drink bourbon and coke, smoke ciggies all day at $20+ a packet, and drive V8s?
    floss
    11th Jan 2017
    1:15pm
    The Head Eunuch has to go, perhaps the Cayman Islands as he is well known there.
    Patriot
    11th Jan 2017
    2:54pm
    Loony,
    He can than "Nurse" the billions he "Tucked Away" there during his stint as a BANKSTER!
    If he took up residence there (Naturalise off course) he then would at least not avoid/dodge the TAXES due currently in Australia.
    He simply is a TaxDodger who expects us to "Do the right thing" all the way and submit to their Bullying & Intimidation whilst "Tightening the Belt" all the time.
    HYPOCRICY !!!!
    TREBOR
    12th Jan 2017
    9:58am
    Indeed - hence the Trebor Party principle that offshore cash pays taxes here on departure and they claims it back as an operating expense in their tax haven.... fine with me...

    Also that the Future Fund be returned to our shores and pay its way, and be absorbed into a National Sovereign Wealth Fund to benefit all Australians in retirement and not just their chosen few.

    Check it out - Peter Costello and mates operate this fund at fantastic remuneration, while some are already copping pension from it, and primarily for the benefit of retired politicians and public servants. The Fund slings a few lazy mill to a couple of funds apart from that, for window dressing, but the entire aim of that Fund is to provide a safe-havened and non-Australian tax paying fund for old mates.
    Midge 57
    11th Jan 2017
    2:22pm
    I'm on a part age pension and received this letter from Centrelink at the end of September. It related to casual employment in 2011-2012 with my meagre earnings apparently not corresponding with the ATO. After waiting the usual 45 mins to speak to Centrelink (home phone fortunately), a very pleasant woman informed me that I owed $1,000. I'd always kept Centrelink up-to-date with my earnings, so I didn't understand how this was possible. She asked me to print all 52 pay slips from that period and forward them to their Business Integrity Unit in Canberra. I questioned the need to print out 52 A4 sheets of paper and was told that another customer had been required to submit 250! Very fortunately, I had kept all but two pay slips in a computer file and I contacted my employer for the others. Some weeks later, I received a letter from Centrelink to say that all was well and no money was due. What a waste of time and money at both ends!
    Old Geezer
    11th Jan 2017
    2:30pm
    It would not be necessary of all people were honest but so any aren't now.
    Rae
    11th Jan 2017
    6:19pm
    You should do as Triss suggested and invoice the government for the costs. I'd be complaining to the police about defamation too if I was accused of fraud I hadn't committed.
    Anonymous
    15th Jan 2017
    8:50am
    It would not be necessary, OG, if Centrelink employees DID THEIR JOB - that is, if the INCOMPETENT GOVERNMENT funded and authorized C/link employees to do their job instead of relying on a crap faulty computer system to abuse the disadvantaged in our society. C/link already have the correct data on file in most cases. All they have to do is LOOK.
    Old Geezer
    11th Jan 2017
    2:25pm
    I really can't see a problem with what Centrelink is doing at all. They send a review letter saying they have found discrepancies in what you claimed and what you told the ATO. All you have to do is prove you gave the right information to Centrelink> if you ignore this letter or don't reply in time you get sent a debt notice. They have been doing this for years now.

    ATO has a very similar system.

    As a taxpayer it is good to see they are checking up on people and I don't have any problems at all with what they are doing.

    http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/business/what-happens-when-you-get-a-centrelink-letter/news-story/b6a1ab30d41e82c963fa9b5cdddf579c
    dougie
    11th Jan 2017
    2:43pm
    Old Geezer,
    At last someone with a sensible outlook who is not forever spitting venom because he can. I agree with you- if you are asked to do some thing, either do it or query it. After all it is our money that people are asking about.

    Seems to be so often we hear of Centrelink rip offs but when we hear that some action is being taken, out comes the vitriol. Such is life!
    Anonymous
    11th Jan 2017
    3:09pm
    I had a similar experience with the ATO, forgot to transfer my interest from rough copy to the one I sent in. They sent me a letter re the discrepancy, I checked and found they were right, if I agreed I didn't even have to reply they fixed it automatically and sent me a bill which I paid, problem solved.
    Old Geezer
    11th Jan 2017
    3:23pm
    If you go into the ATO from your MyGov account and follow the links to doing your tax online you can now see what information they already have. Best time in about the end of August each year. Good check to make sure you haven't missed anything.
    Old Geezer
    11th Jan 2017
    3:25pm
    ATO and Centrelink have been following same procedures for many years now so for the life of me I can't see what the media hype is all about.
    Rae
    11th Jan 2017
    6:25pm
    I've never had a problem with the ATO either. They answer the phone within a reasonable time and can answer simple questions.

    A good idea is to keep all payslips and annual info in a folder.

    I keep at least the last ten years for my own benefit.

    Italy had a great idea that helped the budget. They simply stopped all luxury vehicles and boats and visited mansions and then cross checked with the tax department re assets. Apparently it caught out a whole heap of business people who were not able to explain where the assets came from.
    TREBOR
    12th Jan 2017
    10:01am
    Not as simple as that, OG - they send an intimidating letter which increasingly is suspected of being fraudulently based, demanding a reply within fourteen days, and offering no hold on 'recovery' even if a submission is made within fourteen days, compound it by saying they will add costs for non-adherence, and will send in the storm troopers to collect.

    Are you really saying that hundreds of thousands of Social Security recipients have deliberately taken money to which they are not entitled? I find that very hard to believe.
    Anonymous
    14th Jan 2017
    9:41pm
    Trebor, I suspect there are a lot of SS recipients taking money to which they are not entitled, but NONE of them will be caught by this system that only averages income declared for tax. The cheats don't declare income, or just don't bother to try to earn any. The flawed system is making life miserable for honest folk and leaving the guilty well alone!
    grounded
    11th Jan 2017
    2:43pm
    Having dealt with Centrelink for some time, I can only say that I have found this organisation to be one of our Government's exemplary, and most efficient of its' agencies.

    I have only had the need to speak with them on two occasions, and on both, the service was par excellent....unsurpassable. Of course, I don't expect Centrelink or Government, to fund my life for me.

    Equally, I do understand, and also accept, that one of Centrelink's fundamental responsibilities is to maintain a close; very close, watch on 'welfare bludgers'.

    Obviously, Centrelink and the Government have again identified this as a concern of late, thus implementing their surface, and emailed audit.

    Full and first marks to both identities for ensuring that taxpayer Treasury funds are kept out of the hands of the 'free riders'.

    It is partially regrettable that some bona fide welfare recipients are inconvenienced by this audit...though a very small price to pay, when recouping taxpayers funds...just like those Pollies who have to pay back the dollars when they are also caught with there grubby hands in the cash register drawer.

    Grubby, money grabbing hands are found in every strata of society!

    If one doesn't wish to have 'difficulties' with Centrelink...then simply don't use the service. If you do, then expect to be audited...constantly!
    Old Geezer
    11th Jan 2017
    2:46pm
    Well said grounded.
    Rae
    11th Jan 2017
    6:27pm
    I agree grounded.
    roy
    11th Jan 2017
    9:00pm
    So so true grounded.
    Idontforget
    11th Jan 2017
    2:45pm
    Maybe Old Geezer and Old Man are just too gullible for believing what a Politician and the Newspapers say
    Old Geezer
    11th Jan 2017
    2:52pm
    Yes I am too gullible to believe all the media beat up.

    I posted that newspaper article because it is the closest I have seen to the truth of what is really happening.

    Auditors look for unusual things and then question them. All Centrelink is doing is an audit but if people don't defend themselves then they rightly assume that the information they have is correct. If you don't take the chance given then you are a fool to yourself.

    No media sob stories will make me change my mind in that I think it is all fair and reasonable.
    TREBOR
    12th Jan 2017
    10:03am
    That's 'closest to the truth you wish to see', OG. I've already said - let's wait for an independent look by the Ombudsman....
    Rodent
    11th Jan 2017
    4:19pm
    Very Interesting

    6.7.3.08 No Time Limit on Debt Recovery

    Summary

    As of 1 January 2017, legal proceedings or any action to recover a social security debt can be commenced at any time. The former 6 year statute of limitations no longer applies.

    A debt that was deemed irrecoverable at law prior to 1 January 2017 cannot be pursued, however, Centrelink can still accept voluntary repayments of the debt.

    Even when a debt was deemed irrecoverable at law due to the former statute of limitations, the debt still exists. The debt may be waived where appropriate.


    Act reference: SSAct section 1234B No time limit on debt recovery action
    disillusioned
    11th Jan 2017
    4:26pm
    Great start to the year! First they chop 300,000 elderly people off the part Age Pension, then they send out demanding letters for back-pay of benefits, rightly or wrongly, when it was probably their stuff-up in the first place! Meanwhile, in Parliament House, Ministers are queuing up for another grab at the taxpayers' purses to fund their lurks, perks and polo matches. What a government! How on earth did this mob get voted back in? Russian hackers again??
    Old Geezer
    11th Jan 2017
    4:31pm
    Please get your facts right. These OAPs should not have received OAP in the first place and those sent those debt letter have ignored the review letters sent.

    Government has nothing other than misinformed people to worry about here.
    Patriot
    11th Jan 2017
    4:41pm
    I had a Flat Tyre" myself last week, and I think Putin was nearby so he must have "put the Nail".

    The other side is - unfortunately - not much better.

    Richard di Natale just sent an e-mail to inform me that he wants to propose a "WatchDog" when parliament returns. I have sent him the following response:


    Hi Richard di Natale,

    Thank you for your e-mail conveying (hopefully some) of the actions you are proposing to take against the "Alleged" corruption by our "Well Paid" parlementarians.

    Under the Australian Constitution, if is my "Right & Duty" to inform you of "My WILL" so here goes:

    Establishing a "WatchDog" does go "SOME of the WAY" towards prevention.

    However, if I break a traffic rule quite accidentally or potentially by NOT knowing a new rule - the "Law of the Land" finds me guilty and convicts me (Even when no harm has been inflicted on ANY OTHER PARTY)!!!!! In other words, our inherited COMMON LAW is NOT Applied but the currently implemented MARITIME LAWS are applied.
    After all, The Justice Department is registered as a Business with ABN so it - like all other Corporations - must "Turn a Massive Profit" at the expense of the populous!

    Bronnie, Julie & Suzanne (and that's being very nice to them) have Stolen from their employers (US - the Tax Payer) it would seem and - IF proven guilty of embezzlement of public funds - they should be put on trial for such a crime and be judged by a jury as required by the common Law System inherited from the UK and as per the Australian Constitution.

    ALL other politician's "Expense Claims" should be examined as I find the expenditure as "claimed" by some of our Elected Representatives to be suspect of being Highly Extravagant when looking with an Unqualified & Superficial judgement!
    (I know in the past some Pollies were renting offices overlooking Sydney Harbour - I find such an "Act of Extravagance" because of the excessive rental paid by US for such an office).
    Examinations of such records should be "Overseen" by a team of Scrutineers drawn randomly from the Tax Payer population in order for us - the citizens - to trust the integrity of the results!

    Those Pollies convicted by OUR JURY COURT System should be immediately SACKED and their Pensions, "Lurks & Perks" and any other privilege stopped indefinitely.

    FAIRNESS MUST PREVAIL & THE RO(R)T MUST STOP!
    THEY MUST BE JUDGED WITH IDENTICAL RULES TO THOSE IMPOSED ON US.
    IF NOT, AUSTRALIA IS NOT A DEMOCRACY BUT SIMPLY A TOTALITARIAN DICTATORSHIP.

    To conclude, it is very difficult to understand how an individual who supposedly works on our behalf is able to spend $800,000.00 as an "Unplanned Whim".
    How can we expect that such an individual has ANY Understanding & Compassion for the "Human Condition" in Australia can even expected to be connected to "Those in Need".

    Come On - They all should be forced to live on a pension for a few month to "Gain some understanding" of the limitations they force upon the majority of the Population Via Bullying & Intimidating tactics.

    During the past 1 1/2 year, I have written to yourself and MS waters - and followed up on these writings a few times via phone - with NO RESPONSE from either of you.

    I am Looking forward to your response to this current matter and would be very happy to discuss ANY matters raised in much more detail.

    Best wishes,
    KSS
    11th Jan 2017
    5:50pm
    And you seriously think you will get a response Patriot?

    If this 'missive' is of the same ilk as the others you say you sent with no response, I can see why they were ignored.
    Patriot
    11th Jan 2017
    7:36pm
    KSS,

    During the past years I have met with quite a few of my so called Elected Representatives on numerous occasions (and at all levels of Governing Administration) under circumstances which were less confronting than my response to di Natale.

    During such encounters, I have become somewhat nauseated by their patronising attitude extended towards me expressing the following: "Lovely & ever so admirably Patriotic old Geezer" who means well but who "should get with it" as this is not how the world currently is ticking.
    In other words, they interpret when you're not as Forceful & Rude as they are when threatening &/or implementing their "Draconian Measures" that you're a "Push Over". Therefore, they continue as if there is no opposition to their "Power Grabbing" actions of UNADULTERATED GREED.
    In other words, you're ignored as we are collectively!!!
    Being nice "Does not cut it". Been there done that!!!!!

    SO, these days, I am just expressing and informing them that I have the "Right & Duty" to inform them of "My WILL".
    That is whether they like it or not. AND THEY HATE IT!!!
    "Fancy telling me what to do"!!!!!

    When the time comes to "Reset the Pieces on the ChessBoard" (and that is not far away I hope) they can never claim that they were not told in very direct terms which could certainly not be misinterpreted!

    Being nice is just their Excuse & Opportunity to ride "Rough Shod" over the population as they are - and have been doing - for quite a few decades now.

    Australian Citizens are very unimportant & really a pest.
    Our politicians are controlled by the "Global Shadow Government" and we are superfluous to the equation!!!
    Patriot
    11th Jan 2017
    7:41pm
    I am no longer happy to be SCREWED by those who are paid to act in the best interest if Australia & its People!
    Patriot
    11th Jan 2017
    8:09pm
    Whilst "Of Topic", I am also not happy with Australian TaxPayer's dollars donating substantial amount of money (Millions) to the CRIMINAL Clinton Foundation

    http://www.michaelsmithnews.com/2016/02/more-problems-for-dfat-and-the-clintons-over-70m-we-appear-to-have-donated-to-a-conman.html

    And Google provides other links.
    Anonymous
    15th Jan 2017
    8:57am
    OG, you say ''These OAPs should not have received OAP in the first place;''. Says who? The great GOD OG who is all knowing, all powerful and ALWAYS RIGHT?

    Those OAPs were LEGALLY ENTITLED to claim a pension under legislation made to RECOGNIZE that the assets test was patently unfair by comparison with the income test and out of sync with investment return rates.

    Odd how people like you defend rich politicians rorting by claiming it's legal, but then condemn battlers who claim benefits LEGALLY, based on your FALSE AND MISINFORMED ASSUMPTIONS about the affairs of people you know nothing about.
    fordyoot
    11th Jan 2017
    5:15pm
    You LNP supporters must be getting tired of making up stories and excuses for the abysmal bunch in power. Flogging the poor is not going to create jobs and growth, trying to bust unions is not going to create jobs and growth and giving multi-billion dollar handouts for greedy multinationals does not create jobs and growth. Now we have another tranche of money grubbing pollies stealing from the tax payer. These folks are a bunch of incompetent, dishonest losers.
    Anonymous
    11th Jan 2017
    6:37pm
    just look in the mirror
    rtrish
    11th Jan 2017
    6:22pm
    " the Department says the customer demand is normal for this time of year." May I suggest that's because people can't get through on the phone? So of course customer demand 'appears' to be normal.
    Boof
    11th Jan 2017
    7:41pm
    It is incredible that one cannot contact Centrelink by phone. Or talk to anyone on the net.
    If U are an economic refugee. U get a Govt home. More money than a pensioner gets in a year. Home visits from CL staff. + fortnightly payments as well. & They dont have to look for work. Free English lessons. (Which is not bad). Etc.
    eggles01
    11th Jan 2017
    11:14pm
    hey boof,you left out you can have more that 1 wife and you are allowed to send as much money overseas to ???????? so they can kill and maim as many Australian military and other coalition military members that take their fancy
    Romeital
    11th Jan 2017
    8:08pm
    Im sure there are some committed and competent staff in Centrelink
    There are some very incompetant and lazy staff
    They oppose any change to the system they work within and are not prepared to do a fair days work for the good pay they receive
    The office which handles my situation has incompetant and lazy staff
    Their FIS officers give incorrect information
    If they streamlined their operations and trained their staff properly you would be able to have your phone calls answered in a timely manner
    If you have a problem with Centrelink lodge an online complaint with the Government Ombudsman and you will get your problem resolved quickly and it will be by one of their staff who really values their job
    Rae
    12th Jan 2017
    8:33am
    Great advice. I hope all who have been incorrectly accused send online complaints or letters by post to the Ombudsman whilst he conducts his investigation.

    However one of our biggest failures is laziness and always hoping someone else will do it for us.
    eggles01
    11th Jan 2017
    10:34pm
    my only comment is that it should have been done earlier,where I live I know of at least 5 people who are still working today,but,the community housing and public housing do not know anything about the extra income they are receiving as cash under the table on top of their aged pensions and they should not be entitled for any concession or rebated rent as they are almost doubling their pension payment each fortnight,it actually comes down to one thing,if you have not defrauded the government you do not have anything to worry about,
    TREBOR
    12th Jan 2017
    10:08am
    And you positively know this how? You follow them to work etc and check out their bank accounts and wallets? How do you KNOW they are not legitimately rendering up their income?
    Anonymous
    15th Jan 2017
    9:43am
    If it's cash under the table, eggles01, they won't be caught. That's the problem with this crap flawed system. It's persecuting honest folk who declare income to the ATO - not the cash-in-hand-earning cheats no the lazy will-never-work-on-any-terms bludgers.
    eggles01
    11th Jan 2017
    11:20pm
    I have read here that a mobile phone calls costing up to $39 + for a call,I get a $30 prepaid and I get up to 3 gig of internet data and all Australian calls are free for the month no time limit and also a capped allowance for overseas calls
    TREBOR
    12th Jan 2017
    10:08am
    Like Bonny - I have free calls on my internet service.
    Old Geezer
    12th Jan 2017
    10:55am
    Pay Skype or similar a small amount each month and you can have all the calls you want. No data then there is free internet available in lots of places now. I have the data turned off on my mobile and when ever I go into an area with free WIFI it picks it up and I can use the internet for free etc.

    Used free WIFI in NZ to ring one of my kids back in Australia on Skype and it cost less than a dollar to well over half an hour.

    Messenger is another one that comes to mind for free calls.
    Anonymous
    15th Jan 2017
    8:58am
    And what of those who live in areas where the internet service is so poor that Skype etc. doesn't work?
    KeyC
    12th Jan 2017
    5:58am
    It all comes down to us having to take responsibility. There are ways and means to let the government know that we are not satisfied with being treated in any manner that is unfair, callous and heavy-handed. I don't think anyone would disagree that Centrelink or government should ensure debt is collected [and avoided] but this firstly, can only be done if there are staff to serve the community, the People. Not computers spitting out data. I work in a health and regularly people pour their hearts out about the frustrations in getting to speak with Centrelink or if they attend in person there are unacceptable ques and waiting times! It is not until this government starts showing respect for us the electorate these actions will continue. I have never and will never vote Liberal because I have yet to hear about a 'poor', not privileged liberal who would have an appreciation and insight into the plight of the disadvantaged, working class and simply ordinary folk. For Hockey to have made derogatory remarks about poor people who don't drive cars and hide behind his parents' migrant journey - that's fine but he is the one who benefitted most from that but lost the 'plot' thinking this is what everyone is able to achieve. I will leave it here for now.
    Bonny
    12th Jan 2017
    7:10am
    The mentality of people these days is very disturbing. Remember the old saying nothing in life is free. Well if you get welfare benefits you it comes at a cost. That cost is to get off your vackside and follow Centrelink's instructions in their review letters. If you don't then they clearly state what their next step is.

    I have had no trouble getting through to Centrelink for others and find them very aproachable and if they can't answer my questions they put me through to someone who can.

    Patience is a virtue that no one seems to have today.
    Rodent
    12th Jan 2017
    8:52am
    OG

    Your Logic and bias has no end. You said this.
    Yes I am too gullible to believe all the media beat up.

    I posted that newspaper article because it is the closest I have seen to the truth of what is really happening.

    If you really believe that that article is truthful, perhaps you should have a closer look at the underlying issue. You might discover that that Journo Emma Reynolds has earlier also written what you must consider to be Media Hype, in fact have a look at her article recent article -Even Doctors are getting Screwed by Centrelink.

    I really doubt Emma Reynolds wrote what you quote from, it reads like it comes from another source? Like you I have NO faith in the mass media to accurately report issues

    Before you dismiss the issue as a media beat up, read a little more to establish the facts.
    Clearly the Automation of an existing manual process was going to be difficult. BUT testing would have revealed ALL. I suggest its working exactly as the Govt intended , knowing full well there would be these outcomes. They have quite deliberately reversed the onus of proof to be so that the recipient has to prove that what CL says is wrong.

    Don't misunderstand what I am saying here all Genuine Debts should be followed up, I have no issue re that, but by any sensible analysis what they have implemented has some systems issues that need to be resolved .

    The Govt claim that they will Save/Recover about a $1 billion per year, which makes me wonder what the Underlying numbers are and the average $ per person.

    As I write this now there is a family member talking on 3AW about her 94 Year old mother being chased by CL for $54,000 , something about her assets after going into a Nursing home. So if that's true these letters are not just about people who have been paid Benefits and have income declared , different for CL than ATO, it may cover other differences?
    Old Geezer
    12th Jan 2017
    10:49am
    Rodent Centrelink has been doing this for years now but it was automated for a reason. It was too big a task to have been done manually. So they automated it and a few people had had reviews they didn't follow up on when they should have done so. They now have big bills due to their own tardiness.

    I guess I'm over all the sob stories by people who are too lazy for their own good.

    I think it is awesome that Centrelink do these audits as way too many people today thinks it's Ok to rip off Centrelink and in some cases it becomes a challenge to see who can get away with the biggest amount.

    Believe these sob stories if you wish but I certainly don't because people are not following Centrelink's instructions.
    Anonymous
    14th Jan 2017
    9:38pm
    Sorry, OG, but you are wrong again! Centrelink isn't giving instructions. They are not providing any clarity as to what they need or want nor why they think the person has been overpaid. They make vague, unsubstantiated claims and non-specific requests for information that they already have on file but they are too lazy to check their own files.
    TREBOR
    12th Jan 2017
    9:32am
    That's $4.6 Bn.... so they say...sounds like a typical Morrison estimate to me. Also typical of this very dark form of government that they would persist with the system while cheerfully whistling into the wind that it's perfectly all right and running like a Swiss watch.

    That kind fear the appearance of failure more than they fear failure itself... shows a very poor strength of character .. and would rather go down with the ship than admit they should steer away from the iceberg....

    Either that or they are simply too stupid to know what they are talking about - which asks the question of us as a voting public - What ARE we doing to ourselves by continuing to vote in Party hacks with no genuine talent, courage, integrity or ability?

    What to do? Halt the system in its tracks until the issues are resolved - stop the threatening letters and demand for coughing up within fourteen days - then et on with the actual issues of 'over-payments'. I find it near impossible to believe that so many people were actually wrongly paid, by any kind of intent on their part, and this ham-handed and heavy-footed approach MUST toll the death knell for these parasites in Canberra and their like.

    I've had enough of their petty, selfish, narrow-minded and short-sighted attacks on the vulnerable as their only means of shoring up their equally petty, selfish, narrow-minded and short sighted constituency.
    Old Geezer
    12th Jan 2017
    10:57am
    Lots of sobs stories from people highly likely to have done the wrong thing me thinks.
    eggles01
    12th Jan 2017
    3:10pm
    hey trebor,no i do not follow them to work, there are 53 townhouses and we have a social club and they start to talk about their affairs while sitting right behind me it is pretty hard not to overhear,as far as my thoughts are,they and everyone can do as they please but,do not winge if you get caught,it does appear that there are a lot of commentors that will be caught or have fears that they might get caught,are you one of them????
    TREBOR
    12th Jan 2017
    11:20pm
    Pub talk - lots of people seek a sense of self-importance by saying things outrageous and suggesting they are sooo smart by getting away with it.

    Me? One of them? Not at all - I always sent in my careful estimates on income earned while on Pension, sometimes over-calculating by a few dollars so as to ensure I didn't do wrong. I'm not stupid enough to think that working a legitimate job with legitimate employer meant there was some chance that the ATO and The Good Colonel didn't cross-check.

    I organised the embryo of this system way back in the 1980s..... when I worked for the Guv.... it's always been available since then, but the advent of high quality computing power meant that it could be used more rapidly, BUT did not obviate the chance that the wrong paradigms would be set in place in the programming, for quite obvious political purposes.
    Anonymous
    14th Jan 2017
    5:13pm
    Today I spoke with an accountant who had major heart surgery and was off work for a year. He received a C/Link letter demanding $7000 they claimed was overpaid. No explanation of how they calculated that or what data they relied on, so he phoned and asked. ''Well, the computer says...'' was the answer. ''But on what basis does the computer assume I've been overpaid? For what specific period(s)? Where is the detail?''

    ''Well, the computer doesn't give that information, sir.''

    ''Well then, you need to check manually because you can't just bill someone and not be able to quantify what you are billing for.''

    "Well, you need to pay and then you can appeal if you wish, but you will have to give us data to evidence your appeal.''

    ''No. You have to quantify your claim. Then I'll tell you why your calculations are wrong''.

    Well, this went on for some time and he asked for a supervisor and then for a manager, and eventually they agreed to give him specifics, which enabled him to quickly prove their claim wrong and they withdrew it.

    At the end of all this, a heart patient has suffered weeks of stress, countless hours of work arguing his case and assembling data (when he should be resting and doing no work!) and everything he gave them was already in their files. If they had just checked what they had on file before responding to a computer flag, the whole debacle would never have happened.

    This man is the most honest man you could ever wish to meet. He's treasurer for several organizations. He's never before in his life been accused of any kind of wrongdoing, and he was more than a little upset by this whole debacle. But disgusting old narcissists like OG will keep insisting people like this are doing something wrong and deserve to suffer pain!
    Young
    12th Jan 2017
    11:15am
    I have found the Centrelink staff very polite and helpful.
    I can understand how they would feel when they get abused by some of the ferals who go there.It is not the fault of the workers in Centrelink fir what us happening.It is government policy.Many elderly people have planned fir their retirement only to find the rules have been changed.
    Old Geezer
    12th Jan 2017
    11:21am
    If you go in and speak to them in a nice manner then like other people they will be co-operative. If you threaten them then they have every right to not to co-operative and call security for their own safety. This happens in many places now.
    TREBOR
    12th Jan 2017
    11:22pm
    I've always found that, too, OG... you get much more honey using honey as the bait than vinegar..... the bees flock to it in numbers.... and work hard at collecting that honey for you...
    PIXAPD
    13th Jan 2017
    10:30am
    It's all very interesting, this passing parade of life.....
    PIXAPD
    13th Jan 2017
    3:06pm
    43C today, Centrelink putting the heat on people?
    Bulla
    2nd Mar 2017
    10:32am
    Overworked???Typical beaurocrats,so called public servants who only serve themselves?


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