Pensioners left hanging by unanswered Centrelink calls

Having problems getting through to Centrelink on the phone?

woman on the phone to centrelink

Having problems getting through to Centrelink on the phone? You’re not alone, with the Senate Estimates Committee being told last week that the agency’s performance when answering calls has considerably deteriorated.

The Department of Human Services reported that in the last year, almost 29 million phone calls received a busy signal and a further 7 million abandoned by customers who simply couldn't wait for their call to be answered. In the year previous, 22 million calls went unanswered, which, according to the agency, was largely due to emergencies and a complex payment systems.

Although almost 29 million calls couldn't get through, the Department of Human Services stressed that this does not mean that 29 million individual customers didn't receive an answer. According to Department Secretary Kathryn Campbell, smartphones enabled customers to call back 80 to 90 times in rapid succession.

Western Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert, who was a member of the estimates committee, said the difficulty of getting through to Centrelink via phone was a major cause of frustration for those who most need the assistance.

"Whilst the government likes to vilify people on income support, people are trying to do the right thing and to adjust earnings, and other details or trying to gain urgently needed support.  

"The Government must address these flaws".

In regards to the 7 million abandoned calls, this, according to Ms Campbell may not be a bad thing, with the caller possibly receiving the information they require from the recorded messages.

According to the last Human Services annual report, the average time to answer a call has been reduced to 15 minutes and 9 seconds. However, the committee was told that some lines, particularly youth and student, clocked up an average wait time of 25 minutes.

Read more at TheAge.com.au

Opinion: Centrelink failure more than just frustrating

If the emails we receive at YourLifeChoices are any indication, then Senator Siewert is indeed correct and the non-answering of Centrelink calls is frustrating customers.

The average time to answer a Centrelink call may have been reduced to 15 minutes and 9 seconds, but the caller needs to be able to connect first. It’s staggering that 29 million calls a year can go unanswered and a further 7 million are simply abandoned because the caller has had to wait too long.

As with most Government agencies, Centrelink has moved many of its operations online and, for a large number of customers, this works perfectly well. But for those who find the system difficult to navigate, have technical issues or don't fully understand how the rules apply to them, having someone to talk to can be invaluable in such a stressful situation.

And as anyone who has tried to locate information on the Centrelink website and how it applies to them individually, sometimes a plain English explanation by a real person is all that’s needed.

Of course, for those lucky enough to get through to an actual Centrelink staff member, it’s not necessarily the end of their problems. Many feel that they are not given the right information, or are simply fobbed off with a ‘it will be processed when it’s processed’ response. We are receiving a growing number of emails from our members who have applied for an Age Pension only to have received no indication of when their claim will be processed. For many this means living off limited savings that are fast running out.

Only last week it was reported that Centrelink would be advising individuals, in the weeks leading up to Christmas, of how the asset threshold changes would affect their payments. Not much time to plan and rejig your finances before the 1 January 2017 commencement. Yet, the advice given by Federal Cabinet Secretary Arthur Sinodinos is simple, "Any pensioner who has an issue should get on to Centrelink now and get it clarified, and they're waiting to answer their (pensioners’) questions." Good luck!

Have you tried to call Centrelink recently to no avail? What’s the longest you’ve had to wait to have your call answered? Once connected, has your question been answered satisfactorily?

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    COMMENTS

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    Tom Tank
    24th Oct 2016
    10:18am
    It is quite simple really. When budgets are slashed personnel are reduced so therefore service to customers is also reduced.
    This happens in business as well as government. Perhaps the next step is to send Centrelink call centres overseas to cut costs.
    This will then allow more caustic comment about rising welfare costs due to increased dole payments to unemployed Centrelink staff.
    Hold onto your hats until the real cost of abandoning the car industry hits.
    sidney70
    24th Oct 2016
    10:39am
    Too True Tom Tank.
    MICK
    24th Oct 2016
    3:10pm
    You are on the tip of a very very large iceberg Tom. The car industry is but one of many employers in this country employing AUSTRALIANS.
    Idiot politicians parading around in suits and calling themselves 'representatives' of the nation are simply imbeciles doing what they are told to by the wealthy. Firing working Australians is one of the nation destroying policies they have been left to deliver.
    There will be a heavy price to pay when Australians en mass do not have a job to go to and end up on unemployment benefits. That will hurt the nation as well as the wealthy pulling the strings. Clearly when workers do not have a job business will fail. Just deserts for the greed at the top but inexcusable as this will hurt families and cause huge social unrest.
    TREBOR
    24th Oct 2016
    6:03pm
    I've been through it before - but it needs re-capping. When an industry offshores for profit, to a MUCH lower paying workforce country - they are sticking their finger in the dyke rather than resolving their profit issues. They do this simply because, when they offshore, their new workforce cannot buy their product, and the workforce they left behind can no longer buy their product - and so their actual share of market = profitability - goes downstream like a hilltop sewer system. So their lateral shift offshore for short-term bandaging of their (is it excessive?) profit will inevitably lead to their downfall, and actually increases the rate of onset of Downfall.... (must do one of those Hitler scenes on this one)....

    But you tell the business 'uns 'at these day - and they'll nowt believe yer! These Heroes of Capitalism simply, like their running dogs in government, have no idea at all.
    Old Geezer
    24th Oct 2016
    10:26am
    If you deal with Centrelink you need to learn their rules and then you can take control. It is as simple as that.
    sidney70
    24th Oct 2016
    10:42am
    Centrelink rules are simple Old Geezer. Don,t go to Cetrelink offices ,Don,t Ring Centrelink. Use MyGov.com. Thats their advice.
    particolor
    24th Oct 2016
    11:15am
    This guy has an answer to everything !!:-) :-) I'll ring him in future instead of ringing Centrefire !! :-) :-) :-)
    MICK
    24th Oct 2016
    11:30am
    It's the ongoing trend of not hiring anybody to solve your problems. Online is being pushed on to us all and when we cannot solve a problem it is tough luck.
    Old Geezer
    24th Oct 2016
    1:20pm
    Unfortunately you have to take online stuff with a grain of salt at times.
    Anonymous
    24th Oct 2016
    3:10pm
    Your arrogance is breathtaking Old Geezer. Centrelink is a public service and in case you have forgotten, a public service is there for the public, we are not there for them. I don't care which government stripped Centrelink of staff but I'd love to see a government replace the ones who have been made redundant or moved on.

    Our local Centrelink had in excess off 100 staff and we had access to the local 'phone number. Now, there is less than 15 staff and no telephone access. If all of Australia needs to ring the one 'phone number then, of course there will be a high percentage of calls missed. Firstly, there will be those who get an engaged signal and then there are those who are told, constantly, that their call is important and the waiting time is xx minutes. How is that service to the public.

    I don't blame the Centrelink staff for one minute, I blame the government that started the stripping of the public service and the government that continued the rot. Are politicians so far removed from the public that they don't know what is happening? Have they surrounded themselves with sycophants who continually lie and tell their masters that there are no problems?
    Old Geezer
    24th Oct 2016
    5:11pm
    No problem. Just put your phone on hands free and get on with your day while waiting for them to answer.
    TREBOR
    24th Oct 2016
    6:06pm
    We could get away from all this petty bureaucracy by simply paying everyone the full Pension and taxing all income over and above that, including fringe benefits (to be determined).....

    Oh... wait! That would un-employ (is it dis-employ?) countless seat warmers in Colonel C'Link's employ...... damn - just can't win with any policy these days - ask the political giants in Cambra..... they know that full well. EVERY way is a lose-lose without a major overhaul.
    Oldman Roo
    24th Oct 2016
    9:00pm
    I am surprised so many of you still take notice of O G . He would tell us the devil is a nice fellow if he was a Liberal .
    Triss
    24th Oct 2016
    11:20pm
    I agree with you, Trebor. It would be interesting to know how much the pension administrative costs are. Probably as much as the pension.
    TREBOR
    25th Oct 2016
    1:23am
    Triss - if you work out the number of well paid public servants needed to service the endless queries about pensions and unemployment benefits - the cost of running the show is astronomical. If one public servant is paid three times the pension rate, and answers ten queries a day.... and their salaries are just the tip of the costs iceberg.

    A look at the budget for Department of 'Human Services' should tell how much it costs and should give a comparison with the cost of pensions on their own. Even if it costs as much as pension payments, it is lost money, since most of the queries are so petty and absurd that there is no real value in them.

    I finished working earlier this year, and honestly, the value of the income hardly merited the clerical work to figure it out. Under my system - pay the pension and tax income above that - I would only need to put in my tax return at year's end.
    TREBOR
    26th Oct 2016
    5:48am
    Oh - I must add that, in keeping with the disaster that industry management has become in this country over the past forty years - my point is not directed at the ordinary public servant making a living - many of those are now part-timers and casuals, especially in 'front-of-house' operations like C'Link.

    The biggest problem is that for every ten or so of those coal-face workers, there is an amazing superstructure of over-fat cats above them, who do nothing but organise meetings etc and 'implement policy', but apart from that are paid and kept handsomely to do essentially buggar all.

    The old industry that to fix a problem, you sack twenty workers at the coal-face and put in a 'trained and educated expert' instead, holds as true with government bodies as with industry.

    You can teach monkeys to fly - but unless they have the natural ability, they will never get off the ground - same applies to the current over-focus on 'education' as the yardstick to get a job.

    You can also add that the public service has become an ideological playground with the advent of Affirmative Action in 1982, meaning that its intent is no longer to be a service to the people, but to be one avenue through which the parties respective push their social and economic policies.

    For my part, having resigned from the CPS over affirmative action as a policy in action and its outcomes, when a government uses the money entrusted to it by its people to further some foreign ideology founded on calculated inequalities and based on generalisations rather than facts, which ideology has often dire consequences for a huge number of those people - that government is out of control and needs whipping in the public stocks.

    Another such policy was the move to the contracted senior public service brand, by John Howard.
    MICK
    24th Oct 2016
    11:01am
    This is the tip of a very large and growing iceberg. I find it mildly amusing how the messages routinely say "our menus have changed recently", "we will be with you shortly" and "we value your call". The truth is that you can't change menus every other day, you can hang on for hours (done that) and big businesses do not value their customers preferring to lie to and deceive them.
    Oldman Roo
    24th Oct 2016
    9:17pm
    Centrelink performance appears to be a reflection of the ruling Party
    and we know only too well what their attitude towards the elderly and less fortunate is . No disrespect to their employees , but in these days the message is coming across clearly that we are beggars and undesirables in the eyes of the present Government .
    TREBOR
    25th Oct 2016
    1:26am
    You will find the same with Vet's Affairs. I am on record as having a letter published in the VVAA newsletter about changes coming in pension applications there, at the time the Howard government was put back in, and you could hear the numbers crunching under the treads of the Liberal tanks......
    particolor
    24th Oct 2016
    11:19am
    "All our Operators are busy at the moment" "Please call back Next Week " :-) :-)
    Young Simmo
    24th Oct 2016
    11:23am
    We have been on the Pension since 2005 and never rang Centerlink, what's the problem????????? Maybe a name change from Your Life Choices to, Your Bellyaches might make more sense.
    I couldn't go fishing this morning, so I thought I would try and get a bite in here.
    MICK
    24th Oct 2016
    11:28am
    Buy a fishtank.
    MICK
    24th Oct 2016
    11:28am
    With fish.
    particolor
    24th Oct 2016
    11:33am
    BEWARE OF SHARKS !!
    Young Simmo
    24th Oct 2016
    2:47pm
    Thanks I just caught a BIG MOUTH Gobble Guts which swims around Parliament House all day.
    MD
    24th Oct 2016
    2:53pm
    Nah, don't waste yer money onna fish tank Simmo it's more expense, just kick the dog, he might bite back! Tetanus needle recently?
    Young Simmo
    24th Oct 2016
    3:14pm
    No Tetanus MD, just a beer fridge that needs restocking.
    TREBOR
    24th Oct 2016
    6:07pm
    I feel you on that last, Young Simmo.. truly I do.
    Tib
    24th Oct 2016
    11:25am
    It's a waste of time calling Centrelink. The government has money to send people to Paris to discuss cost saving but couldn't care less about answering the phone. I've waited more than an hour and had them hang up without answering. That's your tax dollars working for you. I'm sure Paris was very nice!
    TREBOR
    24th Oct 2016
    6:08pm
    Typical flaunting of their ability to conspicuously waste, when they are the top dogs.... trip to Paris - bring my government in and they will be required to repay it.
    Loozit55
    24th Oct 2016
    11:29am
    In process of reclaiming aged pension after less than 12 months and am told that it could be 10 weeks.
    particolor
    24th Oct 2016
    11:34am
    I can send you a Food Parcel !!
    Rae
    24th Oct 2016
    6:03pm
    Don't joke particolor as I've thought for a while we might need to set up soup kitchens the way it is going. Another three years of this and there will be homeless everywhere.
    TREBOR
    24th Oct 2016
    6:09pm
    Go to the Welfare agencies - that way you can get a food drop plus also get a first hand look at what actually constitutes Welfare as opposed to Social Security.....
    NannyMac
    24th Oct 2016
    11:29am
    It is interesting to see this article. Last week alone, I had to wait on hold for over 50 minutes on three occasions and still not be answered. I am disabled. I received a letter that requested me to call a particular Centrelink Dept.At one stage, I received an option to be placed in a call-back queue but I never received the callback. A 4th call, via MyGov, I was eventually answered but needed to be transferred to the Centrelink department anyway, only to be again put on hold but was never answered by the second department even though it was an internal transfer!! I understand staffing and general non-interest from government departments, but this is beyond acceptable. For anyone who has never had, or doesn't need, to deal with Centrelink, you need to keep your comments to yourself if you don't have to suffer this particular stress.
    Tib
    24th Oct 2016
    11:36am
    This is the same experience I have had as well. If I have to speak to Centrelink I have to drive for a hour then wait in their line up then drive back an hour. Their staff is often unhelpful or not trained properly so the information is often wrong.
    particolor
    24th Oct 2016
    11:39am
    I wonder if Mal has to wait 50 Minutes or so to talk to his Pal OB in the US ? :-)
    particolor
    24th Oct 2016
    11:43am
    And yes I do have to call Centrefire on Occasions ! But I don't now ! I just drive down and sit in the Audience till called :-) Its SLIGHTLY Quicker !! :-)

    24th Oct 2016
    11:35am
    That Centrelink's shoddy performance is even seen as worth discussing is a sign of how bad things have become.

    Of course it's unacceptable. And the government simply doesn't care.
    floss
    24th Oct 2016
    11:36am
    DON'T CALL US WE WILL CALL YOU.Sounds a bit third world with more to come.
    mIKER
    24th Oct 2016
    11:43am
    Government Departments with any interface to the public (that's us) are tying to get users (that's also us) to use the internet for contact. Phone not answered, so we use the internet in desperation and you have followed their cunning plan, that will enable them to further reduce staffing levels and costs. Even more diabolical is that many of the people who have to resort to Centrelink to subsist lack access to the internet. They are not not computer literate, can't afford it or live in rural communities that don't have full time access. So guess what, they give up saving this Government the expense of paying welfare. However, that was the choice that many pensioners made when they voted. If you think it is a conspiracy theory there's 29 million calls to prove I am telling it like it is!
    particolor
    24th Oct 2016
    11:54am
    Well they had better give Pensioners a Bit of compensation soon for using the Internet ! Or I for 1 wont bet on it much longer, the Price is a Gouge and I cant afford it :-( :-( Christmas is My Deadline ! I'll give myself a Pay rise seeing the Government wont !! :-( :-(
    Anonymous
    24th Oct 2016
    3:18pm
    I agree particolor, I have a good 'phone plan with Telstra that allows me free local calls but that doesn't include 13 numbers. Dealing with Centrelink (or other government departments) necessitates a 13 call which sometimes drops out, sometimes gets cut off or I have to be somewhere else at the same time after waiting for more than 50 minutes. All government 13 numbers should not attract a fee.
    Play Fairly
    24th Oct 2016
    4:02pm
    Good idea Particolor about Centrelink giving us a bit of compensation to defray costs for using the Internet to "serve ourselves". I have waited over an hour on the phone on a number of occasions to speak to a Centrelink person. This useless government only knows how to reduce worker numbers. They could easily employ more people to provide the service that Centrelink is there to provide. Our population has increased, and there are at least 30,000+ new comers to Australia this year, most of whom will be Centrelink clients.
    The more I think about the overall mess this country is in, the more difficult it is to believe that the LNP are capable of pulling us out of the quagmire. It is rather depressing when you can't muster the confidence to believe in our leaders.
    trired
    24th Oct 2016
    11:50am
    I'm still waiting for two letters to be answered, one from 7 weeks ago and one from four weeks ago.
    particolor
    24th Oct 2016
    12:00pm
    I've learned neve to get your hopes up too High when dealing with a Government Department or the Postal "Service" ! :-( :-(
    Troubadour
    24th Oct 2016
    12:01pm
    We find it better to go down to the Centrelink office in person,
    usually get to see someone in less than half hour, or the person
    on the desk can answer our query.
    Yes we have had to wait anything from 15 - 45 mins previously,
    hence our taking a trip to the local office these days.
    particolor
    24th Oct 2016
    12:04pm
    Yes ! That's exactly what I do ! I Wouldn't even bother Ringing them any more !
    Jennome
    24th Oct 2016
    1:06pm
    Centrelink/Medicare set up these huge new offices in Bendigo not so long ago, but forgot to increase the staff. There's a whole pile of empty desks there - or was when I last visited over 12 months ago.

    I once waited on the phone so long that my (landline) phone ran out of battery puff.
    particolor
    24th Oct 2016
    3:08pm
    Jennome.. I've had that happen TWICE !! And I was ringing Telstra :-( :-(

    When you go in next time to that Centrelink, If there's empty Desks there Sit down at one and Set Up A Business :-) :-) Free Internet :-)
    downunder
    24th Oct 2016
    12:15pm
    I avoid to call CL like the bubonic plague, but once in the blue moon I cannot avoid it. Last time I was 100 minutes on hold and then the line went dead. Thank God I have a speaker phone so I can do other stuff. If I have to deal with them only by snail mail or email as the website is a typical non-event. It is just pathetic. This has nothing to do with the ppl that work there as they normally are very helpful and friendly, I feel sorry for them as they must cop a lot of verbal abuse - it is the bloody system. BTW the phone app works amazingly well for general stuff.
    Sundays
    24th Oct 2016
    1:12pm
    Yes working there must be very stressful as you would be very aware that you just can't help everyone who rings due to lack of staff and training. I'm always surprised that you can still get Centrelink staff who do their best.
    downunder
    24th Oct 2016
    12:15pm
    I avoid to call CL like the bubonic plague, but once in the blue moon I cannot avoid it. Last time I was 100 minutes on hold and then the line went dead. Thank God I have a speaker phone so I can do other stuff. If I have to deal with them only by snail mail or email as the website is a typical non-event. It is just pathetic. This has nothing to do with the ppl that work there as they normally are very helpful and friendly, I feel sorry for them as they must cop a lot of verbal abuse - it is the bloody system. BTW the phone app works amazingly well for general stuff.
    dweezy2176
    24th Oct 2016
    12:28pm
    Not having to contact CL for several years is a joy but on this question of phone calls, surely, what needs to be prioritized is, "why are there so many people needing answers?" If the system is so complex then looking at the cause(s) is the first step towards a solution .. a Gummint dept that can act so blase about so many enquiries is a Gummint dept that needs a severe overhaul!
    KSS
    24th Oct 2016
    12:48pm
    You have to question the numbers though when there is a population of around 24 million and 29 million unanswered phone calls to Centrelink about welfare of one sort or another. And that is an increase of around 30% on the year before. Of course some people make more than one call but even so it indicates a level of welfare that is quite ridiculous and clearly unsustainable.
    Tom Tank
    24th Oct 2016
    1:24pm
    It seems, KSS, that you are blaming the "victim" by pointing the finger at too much welfare.
    I suggest the calls are being made because the system is very complicated, deliberately to cut welfare, forcing people to make queries because they don't understand the complexities.
    If the system was as simple as the politicians "expenses" system then there would not be the need to have some many employees at Centrelink.
    Rae
    24th Oct 2016
    1:44pm
    Or a population way more than 24 million.

    The government figures on anything are pretty suspect.

    And yes it is unsustainable as it the three levels of government, the amount the government pay contractors and the HECS debt that will eventually blow up.

    Privatisation and neo liberalism isn't even logical in theory and in practise it doesn't work at all.
    Young Simmo
    24th Oct 2016
    3:00pm
    I know I'm a slow old bugger but, 29 million missed calls, and a population of 24 Million people, tells me there is only a max of one person working at Centrelink. Boy that means a lot of bludgers getting paid more than my pension!
    MD
    24th Oct 2016
    3:08pm
    Don't overlook the possibility of 'ghost' welfare recipients Rae, which would fit with your mention of dodgy figures. Look at the numbers of 'students' claiming low interest loans, or licensed 'Education Providers' with lists of 'students' on book that the institution receives a Govt kick back for 'training'. Not to mention the 'carers' and their associated 'list' of 'clients' - in one instance a chap of Sth African extraction had successfully milked the system to the tune of $1.3M, oh the 'lists' go on interminably. Lawdy but we and our wonderful country are becoming the equivalent of every immigrant's heaven. Praise gawd from whom all blessings flow eh ? Bless y'all.
    Rae
    24th Oct 2016
    6:12pm
    Yes MD although I don't think the government has a clue as to how many people there are here anymore.
    TREBOR
    26th Oct 2016
    5:52am
    As elsewhere - the number of calls is inflated times over by the number of people having to call more than once.

    It's not that hard, people.
    Dolly
    24th Oct 2016
    12:40pm
    When I have called Centrelink, sometimes I get an option where I can leave my phone number & they call back. It works OK but you only get the option sometimes as I said would be good to have option everytime so there would not be a problem.
    Old Geezer
    24th Oct 2016
    5:18pm
    How would you know it was them that called you back? I would ask them security questions before I answered any of their identity questions. Big security risk otherwise.
    Rae
    24th Oct 2016
    6:15pm
    OG I'll swear the entire world knows my birthdate. That is what they use right. Really imaginative of them don't you think. All of them including Facebook.
    Old Geezer
    24th Oct 2016
    10:01pm
    I use more than one birthdate so as to confuse the whole world. Definitely use a wrong birthdate on Facebook and not even my real name or photo either. I sometimes have to remember myself what is the real one.
    TREBOR
    26th Oct 2016
    5:55am
    We all have that last problem sometimes, OG. My computer crashed a while ago and shut me out, requiring a major input from Windows (thanks you, boys and girls - I am a writer at times and my HDD is filled with works and work in progress) - remembering all my passwords was near impossible, especially the ones that ask you to change every while or so for 'security reasons'.

    I only want my basic one or two that I can easily remember - being an absent-minded professor is no help sometimes....
    KSS
    24th Oct 2016
    12:43pm
    Given that the changes to pensions have been known for several months already, anyone who is concerned about what the changes mean for their pension should have already taken advice even if the actual specifics are still unknown. There are on-line tools that help you work out the likely outcome of the new rules so many could have already taken steps to 'plan and rejig their finances'. People may be old(er) but that does not make them helpless or incapable. But I suppose it is so much better to use the emotive imagery of little old people left hanging all alone at Christmas with no pension a week later isn't it?

    Yes Centrelink's telephone performance is woeful and getting worse but that is not news either. People have been complaining about that for a number of years. For the vast majority, a trip to their nearest Centrelink Office would be a better use of their time (who has time to wait an hour for a hang up) leaving the phone lines free for those who absolutely can't get to an office.
    MICK
    24th Oct 2016
    1:04pm
    Many older people barely use a mobile phone let alone a computer. You are making some assumptions which may be partially true at the best of times.
    KSS
    24th Oct 2016
    1:09pm
    Re-read my post Mick it is you who are making assumptions.
    MICK
    24th Oct 2016
    2:19pm
    Don't believe so.

    "People may be old(er) but that does not make them helpless or incapable." In many cases it actually does. Your cognitive processes may be great. Those some older folk may be great too. But MANY are not capable of online searches and some not even capable of turning a computer on let alone the service one has to do to the software to keep it functioning.
    I think I might have it right KSS. Go to a senior Cits and check it out.
    Anonymous
    24th Oct 2016
    3:40pm
    KSS, your post suggests that it's us old age pensioners who are clogging up the system because we should have known about the changes before now. Centrelink is responsible for carers, families, indigenous Australians, job seekers, people with disability, remote and rural Australians, students and trainees and visa holders as well as us oldies. Are you saying that all of these groups are having their payments altered on Jan 1?
    Rae
    24th Oct 2016
    6:17pm
    KSS the government is still having problems with some of the changes.

    Some may very well be unconstitutional.

    Did you honestly think they could get anything right?
    TREBOR
    24th Oct 2016
    8:47pm
    Well - with fewer changes and a more simplified system without all this political fiddling of the numbers, there would be little to no need to ever contact the Good Colonel at home....

    Once you are pensioned, your contact with them should be minimal.

    Of course - if they paid everyone the pension and taxed all income and fringe benefits over and above that according to the income tax scales........ most current pensioners would never need to contact The Colonel.... (Colonel C'Link).
    KSS
    24th Oct 2016
    8:52pm
    Old Man It was the opinion writer who linked the woeful performance of Centrelink to aged pensions not me. I merely commented on that.
    No where near as much emotive collateral in many of the others on your list as there is in imagining little old people left without a pension over Christmas and New Year is there?
    Rae
    25th Oct 2016
    7:51am
    We'll get through Christmas KSS but I wouldn't want a small retail business come February.
    TREBOR
    26th Oct 2016
    5:58am
    You mean, KSS, none of us out here in Ozistan give a rat's about the poor struggling unemployed who will never own a home etc, or have job stability and a good life without stress and early death from preventable illness they can no longer afford to get treated by the local doctor due to cost increases?

    Demme - I am forever commenting on those things, and many others.
    grounded
    24th Oct 2016
    1:04pm
    I love it when the term 'Customer' and 'Client' is used to describe a person on the Dole or receiving Welfare/Pensioner Benefits - in one of its myriad forms.

    We simply just haven't built a big enough bureaucracy yet to satisfy the finger snapping 'Entitled Elite'. (Snap, Snap...Click, Click...Hurry, Hurry) another 20,000 Public Service telephonists post haste - minimum, we can't keep 30,000,000 'Customers'....err, 'Entitled Beneficiaries ' waiting.

    Stuff JFK, I never intend to stop asking and lamenting, what MORE can my Government and Country give and do for me....I am one of the 'Entitled'...I want and demand one on one service, at the end of the fifth ring tone of my 1800 call.....da Government's got plenty of money. Just look, the taxpayers are giving it to 'em every week.

    The 'Customer's' are never wrong!
    Tib
    24th Oct 2016
    3:24pm
    Maybe they could find some money for telephonists if they have another trip to Paris I'm sure they came up with some great cost cutting ideas. I'm sure it was $250000 well spent. While they're there they could take a few helicopter flights just to save time. But let's not waste any money answering the phone after all we have a budget emergency.
    thommo
    24th Oct 2016
    1:20pm
    This LNP government is treating its pensioners with contempt. This lousy service is deliberate. I've had to wait about one and half hours generally to speak to Centrelink, and when I complain about the wait, they just say ring your local MP. They simply don't care, and they don'[t want you ringing to get advice about rejigging your finances as they want to cut off as many as they can from the age pension...
    But it's our right to have an age pension. The UK gives everyone a pension, but not here. They're mongrels.
    Anonymous
    24th Oct 2016
    3:31pm
    You may be a bit harsh with your criticism thommo. This problem with a lack of staff at Centrelink has passed through the hands of various governments for a number of years. The problem hasn't just started in the last three years. Various governments of both sides have boasted that they have saved us, the public, money by reorganising (read stripping staff) the public service.

    If I was working for Centrelink and continually copped an earful from angry people when it wasn't my fault, I'd get angry too and snap back. The advice to ring your local MP is the right answer except your local MP will do nothing. Your local MP is a part of the original problem but doesn't want any part of the proper solution.
    KSS
    24th Oct 2016
    8:56pm
    It is also NOT Centrelink's role to help you rejig your finances. Their role is to apply the legislation to the facts you give them. There are other outlets for that and I doubt you would spend an hour waiting for them to answer their phone.
    Jilly B
    24th Oct 2016
    2:11pm
    I have a recent episode with Centrelink when I had to report for the first time. At the end of the call it asked if I had any other information I wanted to discuss. I decided to stay on the phone to ensure that the details I had discussed the previous week with a new member of staff were recorded correctly. When Friday arrived the next week I received NO PAY. I phoned a weekend number and the person who answered stated that he would not pass my message on to Centrelink and because I had hung up after 20 minutes my report would not have gone through but to ring on Monday. I was left in a new town knowing not a person with no money and my rent payment bounced. I simply contacted the Ministers Secretary and did it get fixed swiftly. So staff are being paid on Saturday and Sunday to answer the phone and they do not even report that customers have not been paid. Some service.
    MICK
    24th Oct 2016
    2:57pm
    People are simply there for votes and paying taxes Jilly. never changes. The only time we seem to matter is when an election is coming up. And people keep voting the same morons and misfits in.
    particolor
    24th Oct 2016
    4:43pm
    Sad aint it :-( :-(
    KSS
    24th Oct 2016
    9:00pm
    Frankly I am surprised to hear that Centrelink staff work weekends and answer the phone then. Likewise the Minister's Secretary - and in the Secretary's case that you even got put through!
    disillusioned
    24th Oct 2016
    2:28pm
    The staff are probably off on their morning tea/lunch/afternoon tea break, and can't possibly answer incoming calls. The myGov webnsite is a pain in the watsername to get around, and often requires a person to answer the question. Then we get back to the first part of this paragraph!
    Jilly B
    24th Oct 2016
    2:29pm
    Young Simmo,

    You need to ring Centrelink if you receive a part pension, or do any work even one day. You need to report these earnings in the fortnight that you earned the money. When you say to Centrelink you would like to work and get some pension their

    answer to me was "Most people want to do some work" When you then ask if any is available they just smile at you!!
    MICK
    24th Oct 2016
    2:58pm
    Ain't that the truth. Now what do the words 'lip service' mean again?
    Rae
    24th Oct 2016
    6:25pm
    No wonder so many are working cash in hand or selling at market stalls. It must be a whole lot easier.
    particolor
    24th Oct 2016
    6:30pm
    YES ! I've noticed that :-) :-) Some of the Local ones here look like a Retirement Village Fete :-) :-) :-)
    Rene
    24th Oct 2016
    2:33pm
    I would hate to say how many times I have tried to ring Centrelink, given up...now I shall have to make an hour trip to nearest office as I live in country, to see if I can get some service.
    My granddaughter hung on for 4 hours one day, come 4.30pm they just cut her off...I suppose you can't complain about the service as there isn't any.
    TREBOR
    24th Oct 2016
    8:52pm
    Yes - we're an hour away from the local branch too.. but since I'm calculatedly poor and have no extra income, I have no need to contact them.

    Shocking service and no respect shown.
    KSS
    24th Oct 2016
    9:01pm
    You don't have to live in the country to be an hour away from the nearest Centrelink office.
    TREBOR
    26th Oct 2016
    5:59am
    .. and the queues are longer in the nitty gritty......
    Boomah52
    24th Oct 2016
    2:52pm
    Oh but we are a wealthy country... plenty for us politicians and hangers on and oodles for anything to help us grandstand on the world stage... we just have to get below South Korea so we can pay the least on welfare of any OECD country.
    MICK
    24th Oct 2016
    3:00pm
    Good observation. At least some of see the forest for the trees on this website.
    You can add to that 'tax cuts always available to the rich' and 'tax shelters and tax avoidance acceptable to those who can afford setting these up'.
    particolor
    24th Oct 2016
    3:01pm
    Ring up and Get an Interpreter You'll be through in no time :-(
    Tell them your from Syria !! :-) :-)
    Young Simmo
    24th Oct 2016
    3:07pm
    Maybe there is a light on the horizon. We never got any Parental Assistance or first home buyers freebee present so:
    If Malcom brings those things back to a fairer status, he will have a choice, more staff at Centrelink, or an increase in the pension. The latter would be the fairest.
    particolor
    24th Oct 2016
    3:15pm
    After reading all that Disgruntlement up there I'm now in a State of Depressin !! I hope the Pension is better here in Depression ! :-) :-)
    Young Simmo
    24th Oct 2016
    3:22pm
    Yeh Parti, just imagine life back in the 50s and 60s if we got First Home Buyers lottery win and then getting a Bonus for having a good sexy night. We would all have spent 6 months a year on luxury cruises.
    MD
    24th Oct 2016
    3:10pm
    Don't overlook the possibility of 'ghost' welfare recipients Rae, which would fit with your mention of dodgy figures. Look at the numbers of 'students' claiming low interest loans, or licensed 'Education Providers' with lists of 'students' on book that the institution receives a Govt kick back for 'training'. Not to mention the 'carers' and their associated 'list' of 'clients' - in one instance a chap of Sth African extraction had successfully milked the system to the tune of $1.3M, oh the 'lists' go on interminably. Lawdy but we and our wonderful country are becoming the equivalent of every immigrant's heaven. Praise gawd from whom all blessings flow eh ? Bless y'all.
    particolor
    24th Oct 2016
    3:17pm
    "Allan" be with you MD :-) :-)
    Rae
    24th Oct 2016
    6:37pm
    Yes MD there is certainly a lot of fraud. Government sponsored private enterprises are notorious for taking tax funds not earned and governments are pretty good at squandering other people's money.

    I still think there are a lot more than 24 million though.

    I've lived in cities of 30 million that seem less crowded with better service times etc than here. Then again it could be the organisation because we appear to really lack any.

    Possibly the urban planning department may be having a similar problem to Centrelink and just have no staff left.
    K squared
    24th Oct 2016
    3:24pm
    I'm having all sorts of problems. Local staff are not helpful, all they got is ring the 13 no. Usually constant busy tone and when/ if you do get through, youre usually on "hold" for min of an hour.
    All i,m trying to do is get a DSP and they make it ridiculously hard. Stupid timeframes to present forms or documents etc. They're just trying to piss you off so you give up trying- probably a gov directive. Wish I was aboriginal descent or an illegal immigrant.
    KSS
    24th Oct 2016
    9:05pm
    No K squared, they are trying to sort the genuine cases from the multitude of 'back pain' claimants. If they weed those out then there is more for the genuine cases. perhaps you should try the NDIS route so beloved of the 'other lot' instead.
    TREBOR
    26th Oct 2016
    6:03am
    I was on DSP pending DVA way back in the 90's - with fifteen + disabilities (count them) - even when I shuffled in three times a week on a walking stick in response to their endless summonses, nobody at C'Link seemed to notice I was finding it damned hard to get around.... the girls at the RSL had it down pat - they knew it was me on the stairs from the sound of the stick....

    I'm afraid anyone who says getting a DSP out of them to get by on is easy needs to try it some time.
    K squared
    24th Oct 2016
    3:24pm
    I'm having all sorts of problems. Local staff are not helpful, all they got is ring the 13 no. Usually constant busy tone and when/ if you do get through, youre usually on "hold" for min of an hour.
    All i,m trying to do is get a DSP and they make it ridiculously hard. Stupid timeframes to present forms or documents etc. They're just trying to piss you off so you give up trying- probably a gov directive. Wish I was aboriginal descent or an illegal immigrant.
    Rodent
    24th Oct 2016
    3:57pm
    Hey Old Geezer and others apologies for a little divergence off subject

    OG do you remember the lady from CSRI that said the number of people over age 65 was increasing by 700 PER DAY- I did not think so- neither did you

    Note this comment from Senator Katy Gallagher at the CSRI forum

    According to the Blueprint for an Ageing Australia the number of people aged over 65 will increase by 84.8 per cent from 3.1 million in 2011 to 5.7 million in 2031. I am sure I am not telling anyone in this room these statistics for the first time.

    If you divide THESE numbers out I get 474 per day, do you have a view?

    Again apologies to others for being off subject- BUT here is my experience with Centrelink over many years
    Almost impossible to get answered by phone- even on the Seniors Special Number
    I write to CL when ever my Assets change, either up or down. It usually takes 4 to 5 weeks to get a reply IF my assets went down and Pension goes up. HOWEVER it only takes a week if my Assets have INCREASED and the Pension is REDUCED- Seems like they have a system?

    Recently gave a up writing and posting by Snail Mail- Now use a Template Letter and take it to my Local CL office at 8.30am (its combined with Medicare) takes about a max of 1 hour to get it processed- You can only update Bank accounts on line, not super etc
    particolor
    24th Oct 2016
    4:16pm
    Another 3 Happily Disgruntled < ( Is that an Oxymoron ?) Clients of Centrefire !! :-) :-)
    Anonymous
    24th Oct 2016
    4:23pm
    Help me out here please Rodent. 2011 to 2031 is 20 years. 20 years times 365 = 7300+5 leap years = 7305. With an increase from 3100000 to 5700000 that gives 2600000. If we calculate 2600000÷7305=356 (rounded), about half of what we were originally told.
    Rodent
    24th Oct 2016
    4:46pm
    Hey Old Man

    You are CORRECT- I don't mind admitting my Maths was Wrong, thanks for picking this up
    Rodent
    24th Oct 2016
    4:50pm
    Hey Old man I am still chasing the CSRI lady -Patricia Pascuzzo for a reply to my email re the 700 per day figure!!
    Old Geezer
    24th Oct 2016
    5:24pm
    No wonder the OAP age is to be 70 by 2031. They will get a break in a couple of years when they increase the pension age from 65 to 66.
    particolor
    24th Oct 2016
    6:27pm
    And their own Pensions up $66,000 Per Annum while they're at it !! :-(
    Allie
    24th Oct 2016
    4:43pm
    Longest time was an hour and 25 minutes (last year). A couple of weeks ago it was 45 minutes then another 10 whilst the worker checked what I was talking about with her supervisor.
    I was not answered, but give the 'complaints number.
    I was threatened by letter..for....nothing!! I have never made a mistake, ever! I have never lied and I have never withheld info...and they ME to 'dob in a welfare cheat'?
    I wanted to dob in the whole Govt front bench for claiming on average $1mill EXTRA a year in entitlements and they are going after ME? A carer on $15k a year???

    I am angry.
    Because I can no longer go into my Centrelink office to speak to someone. They just point me to a computer!!
    The app does not always work, many times I have to spend time on my phone resetting my password, or just trying to get into the right section to comply!
    When I have tried to comply they then say; Why did I ring when I could have gone on line....It is NOT that easy!!!
    I just want to talk to someone, ask a question, or explain how much they terrified my husband with their AFP threats and to please stop threatening me with prison when they could just ring me or send me a letter to fill in the required info.
    Nothing has changed in our circumstances ( ie address, phone, etc) for 25 years!!

    They scare us.
    We have nothing else but DSP...what more can they take from us?
    Just our lives.
    particolor
    24th Oct 2016
    4:50pm
    Goodness ! Don't go giving them Ideas :-( :-(
    Old Geezer
    24th Oct 2016
    5:21pm
    Goodness I would not talk to anyway that threatened me with prison as they would have to be scammers after your money or id.
    Rae
    24th Oct 2016
    6:56pm
    Allie go see your local Salvation Army chaplain. I'm not into the religion but was in the Australian Army for a while and found them amazing. Where they turned up with tea and biscuits would blow your mind.

    I also was helped out once at Sydney Airport during a bit of a crisis.

    They will help you sort it out and at least let you talk about it.

    Life isn't fair but some people understand that a bit more than others.
    And they don't judge you. That's left exactly where it should be.
    Rae
    24th Oct 2016
    6:56pm
    Allie go see your local Salvation Army chaplain. I'm not into the religion but was in the Australian Army for a while and found them amazing. Where they turned up with tea and biscuits would blow your mind.

    I also was helped out once at Sydney Airport during a bit of a crisis.

    They will help you sort it out and at least let you talk about it.

    Life isn't fair but some people understand that a bit more than others.
    And they don't judge you. That's left exactly where it should be.
    Treborho
    24th Oct 2016
    4:50pm
    All I can say about Centrelink is they are dreadful. I have been on the aged pension for only 5 months and they have caused me no end of trouble from the time applied right up to now. The problems have all stemmed from there end but in each instance I have had to chase them up and get sorted.
    Old Geezer
    24th Oct 2016
    5:19pm
    I don't have any problems with Centrelink myself.
    Rae
    24th Oct 2016
    6:59pm
    They just don't have enough staff for the number of clients.

    Same as hospitals, roads, jobs etc too many people and no organisation to cope with them all.
    TREBOR
    24th Oct 2016
    8:41pm
    Heeeeey - wait a minute...... that name is suggestive, bro....
    gravy
    24th Oct 2016
    5:29pm
    I have waited many times for 2 or more hours until I actually spoke to a person, once I waited so long that I got the automated End Of Day message that said basically I could not be answered today and ring back during service hours. This is the normal situation WHEN I can get through. The shortest wait times have been when I have had to ring someone in Compliance (Data Matching) to sort out some issues of a relative, they generally answer withing 10 rings.

    I remember when they introduced Teleservice Centres and the reason they said they did was to speed up client service times by avoiding long waits at the offices. Now it is faster for us to go to a Centrelink/Human Services/Medicare Office than it is to ring.

    And the comment by Ms Cambell quoted here "In regards to the 7 million abandoned calls, this, according to Ms Campbell may not be a bad thing, with the caller possibly receiving the information they require from the recorded messages." Does she mean ring back later or go online are the answers people are looking for? Or is it the calming effect of the music that continues on and on and on and on........... that answers their query? We are paying big dollars to these Departmental Heads and this is the only answer they could give? My 5 old year Grand Daughter could have done as good a job in fact her answer may have been more appealing and had more information.

    Why don't they get statistics to back up these answers as they have statistics for everything else they do or don't do. Ask the callers to complete a survey at the end of the call or if the customer is just ready to hang up have them push a number, for example 7, that registers that they are abandoning the call and then disconnects them or if they found the answer perhaps while listening to the music another number eg 9 that registers that they completed their enquiry and then terminates the call. I don't think that would be so hard and they would soon be able to provide some verifiable figures to support their statements.

    I am guessing they are loath to do it as it may show really how bad the service might be and it might be a nasty surprise for their bonus hopes.
    ex PS
    24th Oct 2016
    5:41pm
    I don't know what people are whinging about, we got rid of a lot of useless Public Servants didn't we? Oops, it turns out that maybe they weren't that useless.
    TREBOR
    24th Oct 2016
    5:58pm
    What can Colonel C'Link do to stop this frustrating lack of effort?

    Why - nothing at all... they are part of the ruling clique here now - they have jobs and they are employees of The Mother Government, and thus has zero obligation to the peons out there who are nothing but a blight on the economy and a drain on the Budget with their unreasonable demands for a Pension as a Right.

    (tongue in cheek, people - tongue in cheek).
    Clover
    24th Oct 2016
    7:36pm
    ArthurSinidinos should try to ring Centrelink and see how long he has to wait to be answered? I gave up ringing Centrelink years ago, after I waited on the line for 40 minutes before being answered. The operator, told me that my wait was comparatively short, compared to some other callers. Centrelink should also employ more permanent staff and train them well, including some lessons in humility. Casual staff will not be well trained enough and morale, will be low, and any training will be waisted because good employees will move somewhere else to permanent jobs when they become available.
    Beeman
    24th Oct 2016
    7:50pm
    Simply give all pensioners the full pension, or the right to it, without any adjustments and then reduce the staff to a level necessary to keep the records.
    That should reduce the number of calls.
    Clover
    24th Oct 2016
    8:14pm
    So much common sense. Apparently this system operates well in a Scandinavian country, can't remember, which one, but everyone gets a form of pension payment, and you can earn whatever you like above that. Saves calculating all kinds of payments, including family payments, and maternity payments. Must save the Government billions, and provide a wonderfull incentive, for everyone to think and act positively to earn money and better their lives and the economy.
    TREBOR
    24th Oct 2016
    8:56pm
    Pay every retiree the pension at 65, and tax all income and fringe benefits over and above that. Will take a while to sort out what 'fringe benefits' are in reality.... but I can see many a retired politician squealing about having the cost of air fares (free) added to his/her taxable income....... as well as a host of other things.

    Now I wonder why the Guv won't go for the simple scheme of paying all the pension etc?
    particolor
    26th Oct 2016
    10:32am
    Anything that makes any Sense will not be considered :-)
    Highlander
    24th Oct 2016
    7:55pm
    I have found that wait time is usually in excess of 45 minutes. Many people no longer have a house phone and it is not practical to wait for long on a prepaid mobile phone. Also it is not practical to visit a Centerlink office for people in regional areas who would have to travel hundreds of kilometers. I appreciate that Centerlink call centers are overloaded by calls but there should be a call back option available when the top of the queue is reached.
    Old Geezer
    24th Oct 2016
    10:04pm
    I sometimes hit a certain number multiple times until someone answers.
    TREBOR
    26th Oct 2016
    6:06am
    Just be careful the certain number doesn't hit back.... some people are like that...
    Boof
    24th Oct 2016
    9:25pm
    It's a bloody disgrace.
    Londoner
    24th Oct 2016
    10:05pm
    Gosh, 36 million wasted calls. That's about one and half times the Australian population isn't it? Still I suppose the Aussie Telecoms companies are rubbing their hands with glee.
    I liked the 4th paragraph of the Opinion section. Is there such a thing as a 'real' person working in Centrelink? Every time I've written it has always taken two emails to get a reply, even from the Senator, which had always told me to phone them - clearly they're too frightened to put anything into writing - probably making true what I've been told that asking the same question to five different Centrelink employees will give you five different answers!!
    I did have an experience with your Centrelink when I tried to get a reciprocal health insurance card. What a joke! I was getting so frustrated with the woman who clearly didn't have a clue how to arrange for the Medicare Card that I nearly told her to 'jam it'
    TREBOR
    25th Oct 2016
    1:15am
    Remember - for each failed call - there is a second or third or more attempts.......... if you don't contact The Good Colonel C'Link over many issues, you cash flow will cease and you will notice that on Pension or Unemployment Benefit day..... then it will take several days - IF you can contact them - to get it restored to its proper place.

    So people are going to try again and again to get through and still cop the same treatment over and over again......

    I'm surprised the rates of murder and suicide have not gone up.....
    Old Geezer
    24th Oct 2016
    10:06pm
    I think it works brilliantly in that they know you are desperate and you will ring or hold until they get around to taking you call. I'm very inpatient and hate waiting so I do things to annoy people if I have to wait any length of time.
    TREBOR
    25th Oct 2016
    1:17am
    Whatever you do - don't curse at the phone after your fifth attempt is cut of and you say - "You forken cut me off aga"..... (beeep, beep, beep)....

    Their system is designed to filter out swear words and cut you off if you 'misbehave'.... sort of like cattle prodding inmates at a mental institution.....
    Cat
    25th Oct 2016
    12:35am
    "According to the last Human Services annual report, the average time to answer a call has been reduced to 15 minutes and 9 seconds. However, the committee was told that some lines, particularly youth and student, clocked up an average wait time of 25 minutes."

    This is lying by omission. For the disability line I was on hold for over 40 minutes and the Centrelink operater who answered after all this time then told me that she could not deal with my simple matter of reporting my change of address so she transferred my call which was not answered by anyone because I was put on hold all over again! After a while longer on hold again I could not stay on hold any longer as I had to take medication and go to the loo and I didn't have hands free. There was no call back option. I had no option but to hang up after nearly an hour on hold without achieving anything whatsoever except a shocking waste of time. So I tried to use the online feedback and complaint option to report my change of address but it said that that service is "temporarily unavailable", so no way to report except to upload to MyGov account and hope someone there sees my new info.
    TREBOR
    25th Oct 2016
    1:17am
    I once had to do this when the only phone I had was a mobile.
    KB
    25th Oct 2016
    9:31am
    I have been on hold with Cenntrelink for 3na half hours.Not the fault of Centrelinks staff. There have been times when my call was cut off and I had to rering Centrel Link. Half the time my gov account does not work
    KB
    25th Oct 2016
    9:31am
    I have been on hold with Cenntrelink for 3na half hours.Not the fault of Centrelinks staff. There have been times when my call was cut off and I had to rering Centrel Link. Half the time my gov account does not work
    Rae
    26th Oct 2016
    8:08am
    Possibly the government uses this to support the telcos. Those 26 million 13 number calls is worth around $8 million dollars of ordinary people's money.

    I also feel sorry for the dairy farmers who can't get Centrelink to move on the payments promised to prevent the dairy industry collapsing.

    If it does collapse we will know exactly who to blame.

    The neoliberal policy of the LNP/IPA.
    maxchugg
    26th Oct 2016
    12:22pm
    Add to this MyGov. I have had noting but trouble with that site. Whenever I attempt to log on my password is rejected. Recently I went through the process of setting up a new password, used it once and the next day it was rejected. I tired to use it as a new password and that was rejected too, because it had already been used.

    I phoned the help line and spoke to a woman who did nothing other than read out the instructions which appear on line, so I asked to speak to a supervisor. This was refused, the woman merely began to rattle off the same, identical, useless spiel.

    So, from the government that gave you the online census, you also have Centrelink and MyGov. But try to complain and you get precisely nowhere.
    Old Geezer
    27th Oct 2016
    4:29pm
    MyGov is so much easier than the old systems. I have never had any trouble with the all the accounts I manage.
    Circum
    26th Oct 2016
    8:51pm
    In years gone by,if you wanted to reduce the food shortage say by 10%,you eliminated 10% of the population.These days if you want to reduce 10% of Centrelink enquiries you start by eliminating the numbers of those needing to enquire by eliminating their benefits and therefore their need to have a reason to call Centrelink..starting by reducing pensioner numbers from 1/1/17.And then,the more successful this tactic works,the more Centrelink staff you eradicate
    freed1948
    29th Oct 2016
    6:38pm
    Ahh, Centrelink.
    Since returning to OZ and receiving the OAP I have had nothing but problems with this orginisation. Two weeks after receiving the OAP it was cancelled as the service officer did not believe I would stay in OZ for the mandatory 2 years. I had to appeal my case which after a few months was successful.
    After sometime I rang and advised that I was going OS for a holiday and was informed that my OAP would be paid for up to 6 weeks, I asked for this to be put in writing and duly received a letter confirming that the OAP would be paid for 6 weeks and then would be cancelled. Lo and Behold the next day after leaving OZ a letter in my Mygov account advised that it was cancelled. luckily when I rang to complain I advised them of the letter and was told I would be continued to be paid the OAP when I returned to OZ but would have to appeal to a Service Officer about the lapsed 6 weeks of payment. After 2 months of telephone calls to them and from them the 6 weeks was repaid with no compensation for the stress it caused.
    End of my problems?? NO.
    After the mandatory 2 years in OZ I returned OS to live.
    Since then my OAP has been changed from the 2 week cycle to the 4 week cycle two or three times. This caused a loss of the OAP for 2 weeks on each occasion.
    Luckily I have been able to phone C/link using the free phone number for international calls. The problem each time was the need to talk to a supervisor as the staff were unable to give me a proper answer to my predicament. each time I asked for this I was fobbed off by comments like "to do that first there has to be a need for this" or do you still want to do that after what I have informed you?" keeping my cool and not responding offensively I insisted on doing so.
    Finally the last Supervisor I talked to appologised profusively on be half of C/link for the problems they had caused me over the past 2 months and was able to resolve the issue within 90 minutes of me hanging up.
    So luckily despite the common 30 minutes to answer my calls the problem for me has been the lack of training to the staff to respond to complex issues easily remedied by a more experienced officer.


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