18th Sep 2018
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Centrelink under siege with month-long waits on queries
Author: Janelle Ward
centrelink

Pleas for help from YourLifeChoices members trying to apply for an Age Pension, or who are on full or part Age Pensions and are seeking information from Centrelink pour into our office every week. We try to help everyone, but some stand out as deserving special attention.

Take the case of Henrietta*, who emailed on behalf of her husband on 28 August:

“Just so you can warn everyone reading this ... my husband applied for his pension on 16 February 2018 and he STILL has not received it. It’s 28 August! They are just so busy so we’ll just have to wait! If we hadn’t had savings it could have been disastrous!! Centrelink will only put the application to the top of the pile if we have $500 or less in the bank.”

And George*, who emailed us on 27 August:

“I have been eligible for the Age Pension since 25 June and have replied in person with all the documents requested from Centrelink. I am still waiting for a reply from them and do not have a concession card either. I am not willing to make an appointment with my specialists because I will be several hundreds of dollars out of pocket until they approve my pension. I did ring but was told that they are behind with the applications and have no idea by how far. Surely someone has some idea how long I must wait.”

We sought permission from Henrietta and George to pass their details on to Centrelink’s media department, and their pensions were successfully finalised within days.

We do not suggest staff at Centrelink are not doing their best to respond in a timely fashion to the queries, but the system does not work for many.

In our Retirement Matters 2018 survey, which attracted 5932 responses, we asked for your evaluation of Centrelink. Respondents were very measured but the overwhelming number of written responses decried the efficiency of the system.

Typical responses were:

“I have been told that I am getting a pension, but I have been waiting for over five months. I find them hard to deal with.”

“(They) take far too long to answer phones, and don't give enough information.”

 



“It’s always difficult to talk to anyone on the phone, and when I go into an office, the wait is ages again and then you only get a number in a queue. (And) I get conflicting information from everyone I talk to.”

“Mainly, very long waiting times, both in office and phone, due to understaffing.”

“They’re ok, just sometimes feel they do not get it.”

“Depending on who you speak to depends on which answer you get.”

“Long wait times on phone – hopeless.”

“Dealing with Centrelink varies; sometimes you wait a very lengthy time before they assist you, and then you are switched from person to person without getting anywhere. Occasionally, it works just fine!”

“I always found the staff very helpful in person but the telephone waiting times are atrocious. The call-backs are a good compromise.”

We asked the Department of Human Services for a guide on what it believed to be acceptable for successfully concluded applications and queries.

A spokesperson said: “The Department of Human Services processes millions of claims every year and we work hard to do these as quickly as we can.

“The median Age Pension processing time was 49 days in 2017–18.

“The Government recently announced measures to boost workforce numbers by 2750 to improve call wait times and enhance service delivery.

“The nature of Age Pension claims has changed over time and are increasingly more complex. Nearly 60 per cent of rejected claims are because an applicant failed to respond to requests for additional information or documentation.

“People experiencing severe financial hardship should let the department know as soon as possible so we can prioritise their claim.”

YourLifeChoices attempts to respond to all emails, but your first port of call for Centrelink inquiries should be Centrelink.

* Not their real names

Is the Age Pension application process too difficult? Does Centrelink need additional staff? And more training of existing staff?

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    COMMENTS

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    MICK
    18th Sep 2018
    10:15am
    Why does this surprise anybody. The current government has cut huge amounts of money out of public services as well as having come after retirees with relentless attacks. The reason? Tax cuts for the wealthy have to be funded. They are being funded by taking money from every one of us. A bit here. A bit there.
    As I keep saying we are all involved in a class war where the top wants it all and keeps nibbling away at the edges. There latest tax cuts are the canary in the coal mine but it is not going to stop there. If this lot is reelected again then the call from the Business Council of company tax rates of 15% will happen. Not hard to work out who is going to be paying. Your call Australians.....but don't whinge if you are responsible for it happening. Having said that this lot are doomed and even the Murdoch propaganda machine cannot pull them out of the titanic mess they have created for the country.
    olbaid
    18th Sep 2018
    10:40am
    Absolute nonsense

    Prove that the government cut centerlink funding
    MICK
    18th Sep 2018
    10:48am
    Prove that the air you breath exists. Show it to me.
    This government has been cutting services since Abbott was into office. More coming. Deny all you like.
    almost a grey hair
    18th Sep 2018
    10:51am
    How can Centrelink possibly be cutting funds, after all didn't you and every other pensioner in just get an increase ? where do you think that comes from ?
    Adrianus
    18th Sep 2018
    11:25am
    MICK, none of that makes any sense. Your mates in the Labor Party have a plan to make pensioners pay almost the highest rate of tax by scrapping their franking credits. MICK that means that you will pay the 30% on your Medicare shares. So pray tell? Why do you want that?
    Knows-a-lot
    18th Sep 2018
    11:30am
    Olbaid, stop trolling for your beloved scumbag Lieberal Party. MICK is right.

    aagh, the government cut funding to Centrelink so that their staffing is reduced, and those remaining are overloaded with work. Centrelink is collapsing. And this government is to blame.
    olbaid
    18th Sep 2018
    11:33am
    2 posts by MICK so far and both proven to be blatant lies . Mick has no credibility and Know-it-all Kows-it’s-all-labor-bs
    Knows-a-lot
    18th Sep 2018
    11:35am
    The bs is coming from you, olbaid, and your Lieberal mates. It's you lot who have no credibility. MICK told the truth. But not to worry: the LNP will be destroyed at the next election.
    mogo51
    18th Sep 2018
    11:37am
    Mick.
    If you think it is a small...fight now to your obvious preferred govt gets in!!
    I am a 'no' on corporate tax cuts and want an all out war on 'international companies' paying 17% flat tax! See how much that brings into Treasury eg. Google,Facebook, alibabah etc.
    But I am not too fussed on 'puppet Shorteb' and the strings attached to CFMEU etc. Need I remind you of the record debt left when Rudd/Gillard got the chop and it was in a period of record tax income to the Fed got.!!!! Go figure Mick.
    sunnyOz
    18th Sep 2018
    12:52pm
    olbaid - not my words...
    "Centrelink services have already been run into the ground as the Turnbull Government has slashed more than 5,000 permanent jobs from the Department of Human Services. The number of unanswered call has climbed rapidly as the Government has continued cutting, with more than 42 million calls going unanswered just last financial year alone.”
    They soon realised - too late - this has been a huge mistake - so then in mid 2018 - Minister for Human Services Michael Keenan announces -
    "... the latest external workforce will be boosted ..... by 1500 staff. 1,000 staff announced in April to assist the Department to deal with surges in demand and to ensure our service standards continue to meet community expectations, plus an extra 500 additional call centre operators"
    MICK
    18th Sep 2018
    1:52pm
    I have to laugh when I read cries of 'unfair' from government funded trolls posting BS. To bother responding:

    Adrianus - good try but MOST pensioners do not own shares in their own right. Franking credits? We've been through this. Pensioners under Labor will not be affected. Only self funded retirees will be affected. That includes me....so stick your lies up your repository.

    mogo51 - that's a good start but you are advocating multinationals pay considerably less tax than average citizens. That stinks. Remember also that tax is paid on 'taxable income' which is highly fiddled to reduce it to a shadow of what it should be.
    Shorten? The CFMEU did not run the government in the Rudd/Gillard years and given we were in the middle of a GFC I do not accept the right wing comments about Labor doing a bad job.
    The other bit of information you may want to consider is that the big end of town will be out to destroy any Labor government, rightly or wrongly, and Shorten will have to run a clean and tight ship. So please do not run the big end of town lie about bad government. If you want bad government then look at the current one which has run the national debt to over $600 billion when Labor left it at $147 billion. An inconvenient fact....and this lot of rats did not government in the GFC years so NO EXCUSE. Face the truth unless you are in the same hole as OG, Olbeid, Adrianus, heemsjerk, Big Al and a few others. All of these so called posters are likely one person posting under different names anyway.
    Old Man
    18th Sep 2018
    1:56pm
    MICK, your Labor darlings started the rot with Centrelink back in 2011. It had, prior to that, an independent agency status but Labor made it a part of the Department of Human Services with a subsequent "adjustment" causing the loss of 1100 jobs. I'm not saying that the current government is blameless but, in fairness, Labor has caused the most damage to Centrelink.

    It's not lying if you are telling the truth MICK but if you don't tell the whole truth you are becoming one of those people you continually call despicable; the media. Telling enough of the truth to slant a story the opposite way is almost the same as lying. Not quite the same, but almost.
    Old Geezer
    18th Sep 2018
    2:02pm
    Mick you have such a short memory. The union kicked out Rudd in favour of Gillard. Paul Howes (union boss) was clearly the person behind the axing of Rudd for Gillard.

    The big end of town lobby both governments to get what they want and they get it no matter which one is in power. If you think Labor is not for big business think again Mick.
    Pentop
    18th Sep 2018
    2:28pm
    The record debt was as a result of the "fantastic" budgeting of Howard. When he had a wonderful surplus due to the mining boom, to ensure his being re-elected he gave away money to the middle class. They did not actually want or need it!!! Part of that giveaway was the so called franking credits. If you know how they work they are in fact nothing to do with dividends just a giveaway that he was instrumental in organising to pacify his Liberal supporters and with the knowledge that the baby boomers represented such a large part of the voting public he went ahead with it all. Then fast forward to the Labor government, left with having to fund these policies but without the mining boom!!! Of course, now it is so easy to blame them .... well budgeting means putting away for the hard times... not spending everything in the bank knowing full well that the mining boom is cyclic and it goes up and it definitely goes down.
    As far as Centrelink, well went through the fiasco of applying for a pension. Down to the office, waited in line (which was out of the door) ... or sorry.. apply on line... you can use the computer over there. Five in a line using the computers. All elderly and all not technologically savvy. One gave up and walked out, one had been there for four hours and still could not get help. One staff member trying to help but also needed to manage the line of "walk ins". So to those on this that think it is not understaffed... well all I can say is obviously you have plenty of time on your hands to sit and wait perhaps for weeks to get service. Now if I was a conspiracy theorist I would say what a great way to avoid paying anything... just make them wait and then give up. This will certainly add to the extra payments needed to fund the deficit. When will we have a Royal Commission into Centrelink !!!!
    olbaid
    18th Sep 2018
    2:35pm
    Hahaha Pentop
    Y?our story is full of holes

    Dividend imputation was introduced by Hawke-Keating not Howard/Costello

    Yes Howard /Costello had enormous surplus budgets even after helping the poor and middle class. Rudd was in the midst of an even bigger mining boom, yet he ran our finances to the ground

    As for Centerlink - if those who dont know how to use the on line system cant be bothered to wait a couple of hours to be served, then perhaps they dont actually need OAP after all
    Old Geezer
    18th Sep 2018
    2:36pm
    Pentop you are on welfare and obviously have no idea what franking credit are let alone that they are a fair way of not taxing people twice for their income from shares. At least what Howard did was fair to all taxpayers. What Labor proposes is anything but fair. It rewards high income earners and taxes low income earners 30% of their income that attracts no tax if earnt anywhere else. Now if that isn't Labor helping out their wealthy mates I don't know what is.
    Old Man
    18th Sep 2018
    4:41pm
    MICK, again you are confusing the debts owed by Australians. There are two levels of debt, public and private, with the public debt being the one for which a government is responsible. Your quoted figures seem to be comparing apples and oranges. The government debt at the end of Labor's rule was $216.3B and the current government debt is $326B.
    Rae
    19th Sep 2018
    7:52am
    As far as I can see both your favourite teams are in need of a complete overhaul.

    Blind Freddy must have seen the huge numbers of retirees aged 67 coming. Wouldn't any organised administrator employ more staff to deal with the influx rather than cut staff.
    And a bit of training to establish knowledge of the rules so all staff were on the same page and not stuffing clients around.
    With this sort of mismanagement neither Party can claim to be anything but incompetent.

    Most of this is pure data entry. You pump the info in and if the data sets add up then bingo out pops the pension.

    If the problem is the clients not filling in the forms correctly then get some staff to help there.

    Are there no intelligent managers left these days or was employing smart young inexperienced young people so rampant nothing seems to work anymore.

    I know the Public Service was decimated by Credlin and replaced with IPA hacks and young Liberal staffers. Maybe the problem lies right at the top.
    Old Geezer
    19th Sep 2018
    11:35am
    With over 20 million people over 65 not on the age pension and at least 25% of them likely to have a gutful under a Labor government and apply for the old age pension how is the system going to cope? How is our budget going to pay them? It is going to be very interesting especially with a recession on the cards as well so therefore less government revenue coming in.
    Rae
    20th Sep 2018
    11:42am
    OG how can we have 20 million over 65when the population is only 25 million all up?

    There are a lot of baby boomers suddenly applying for pensions but the other culprit is the wage stagnation now with millions of workers having to be subsidised by welfare because their wages have not improved and casualisation, a government policy, is out of control as is under employment. All these people have to submit paperwork every fortnight.

    It's an insane system.

    Can it, let people get really angry, join unions and sort the mess out.

    It should not be taxpayers subsidising the wages of business employees but that is exactly where we have ended up under these crazy human resources government policies encouraged by employer unions such as the Business council, Property Council, IPSA, etc on and on. There are some pretty powerful employer groups causing lots of problems and they don't pay most of the taxes at all. We do.
    blackpearl
    18th Sep 2018
    10:33am
    I applied on line six months prior to my age approval date and had no trouble at all. i will receive my first payment this week.
    olbaid
    18th Sep 2018
    10:42am
    You’re story sounds like the norm. I take the above anecdotes with a wheelbarrow of salt
    MICK
    18th Sep 2018
    10:50am
    You likely did the right thing blackpearl: applied well ahead of time. That's what you have to do when the public service is having money sucked out of it as anything less puts you on a queue.
    Even if on a queue the pension would be backdated so no actual loss would be incurred. Just inconvenience and having to fund your living for 6 months.
    olbaid
    18th Sep 2018
    10:58am
    Mick - you cannot apply “well ahead” of time
    Stop your lies
    Radar
    18th Sep 2018
    10:58am
    It seems they've now decided you can no longer apply that far ahead of time. You now have to wait until you are basically entitled to receive it before applying.
    Having applied over a month ago for my husband's pension, we hopefully find out next week if it's been approved. I'm not holding my breath. Nor will I be holding my breath waiting for the first payment if it is actually approved.
    Mad as hell
    18th Sep 2018
    11:50am
    Received a part pension six weeks after applying. Queried their assessment and they over estimated my wifes income by six times to what it was, received a reference number and still waiting, that was five months ago.
    MICK
    18th Sep 2018
    1:35pm
    Blackpearl wrote: "I applied on line six months prior to my age approval date".

    Don't shoot the messenger olbaid. Oh yes...that is what trolls do. Forgot about that.
    Old Man
    18th Sep 2018
    4:32pm
    olbaid, MICK is just quoting what another has said but even so, if MICK had made that statement, he would have been 100% correct. I was advised by an older mate to get in early because Centrelink had a habit of stuffing around so I applied about 6 months early as well. Incidentally, when I applied, Labor was in government.
    olbaid
    18th Sep 2018
    4:40pm
    Rubbish Mick

    You can register your INTENT to claim 13 weeks before you reach eligibility age
    Greg
    18th Sep 2018
    11:31pm
    olbaid - no, you can apply for the age pension 13 weeks before, no mention of "intent"
    Why do you keep coming up with BS on here, above you wrote in reply to MICK:-

    "Absolute nonsense

    Prove that the government cut centerlink funding."

    More BS, sunnyOz wrote out a quote and the government HAS admitted they went to far with the cuts.

    Your constant crap on here is getting boring and you have no credibility with all the BS you sprout - you can't even spell, it's Centrelink, this is Australia NOT America.
    olbaid
    18th Sep 2018
    11:36pm
    Greg I’m right and you and Mick are wrong
    You can apply but the records have to show your income in a certain period before your eligibility date

    Apology accepted should be decent enuff to do so

    By the way , why is your party spelled labor instead of labour ?
    Hobbit
    18th Sep 2018
    11:23am
    When they said:
    "The Government recently announced measures to boost workforce numbers by 2750"
    They were referring to the year 2750
    Knows-a-lot
    18th Sep 2018
    11:33am
    They were talking about farming it all out to Serco. The mind boggles!
    Old Geezer
    18th Sep 2018
    11:32am
    Most people fail to fil out their application correctly and then fail to supply the documents required so it is not surprise they have to wait. Fill your form out right the first time and send it the required documents and you will have no trouble.

    The ones I help with go through in a couple of weeks max.
    olbaid
    18th Sep 2018
    11:34am
    And that readers is the real and only reason for any delays
    BoroBoy
    18th Sep 2018
    1:04pm
    If you fill the application in right the first time, plus send the required documents you will have no trouble, WRONG.

    I filled in the application and enclosed all documents on the 20th September 2017, my age at this time was 65y 5months. Centrelink informed me that it would all be processed by 5th November.
    On December 21st I telephoned Centrelink as I had not heard anything from them. I was informed that my application was still being processed and I should hear something in January 2018. January came and went so did February.
    March 2nd I phoned again, this time they said they wanted documents which I had previously enclosed with my application on the 20th September, I asked them to check my file which was now on their web-site as all documents were placed there. They still wanted the document, I visited the local Centrelink office with the document which they photo copied and guess what they lost the photo copied document.
    I telephoned Centrelink and was given a direct number to one of their staff as the wait time in phoning ranged from 45min to 1h 15mins. This lady whom I was now speaking to was superb, she gave me a date of when I will receive the part pension which was May 4th, also the total amount of back payments. It was only sorted when I was given the direct phone No, as I was only speaking with the same person each time I called.

    I don't think anyone in Centrelink had looked at my application before March 2nd which was 5months after submitting the application.

    As for your couple of weeks max, speaking with a few RSL members who receive the aged pension, no-one received the pension in a couple of weeks, more like 10-12 weeks
    sunnyOz
    18th Sep 2018
    1:16pm
    Never thought I could actually agree with OG... but this is so right! What astounds me is the number of seniors, approaching age pension age and wishing to apply - who think it just magically appears. Like anything, you need to educate yourself about your entitlements, how MyGov works, and get ALL the paperwork correct.
    Time and time again I read people say they have applied for the Pension, and when they ring up months later are told 'you haven't answered our queries'. Applicant says they never got any letter. But 99% of the time, they HAVE. They applied through MyGov, (for which you need an email address), they then get an email stating they have a message in MyGov. Either they are not reading their email, or not checking the MyGov site!

    I claimed the Aged Pension in May this year, with some far from simple points. When I applied exactly 13 weeks before becoming eligible, I clearly noted all the paperwork required, spent a week getting everything, lodged it - and was granted within 7 weeks.
    I am also the nominated contact to act for 2 people with Centrelink (non computer people), and in both cases, pension was granted within 6-8 weeks.
    Old Geezer
    18th Sep 2018
    1:25pm
    Agree if you submit the right information and right paperwork and follow it up on mygov website you will know what is happening with your application. It will tell you if you need to submit extra information etc but if you ignore the requests your application goes no where. Most people have no idea of the right sort of information they need so just put in their applications with whatever they think is the right information.
    greygeek
    18th Sep 2018
    11:32am
    In February 2017, friends, a husband and wife applied for the Age Pension. They were finally approved in November 2017, he received backdated payments in December and she received hers in February 2018. They complied with every request every step of the way, the delays were with Centrelink. Two other friends have just been approved after a 8 month wait. Centrelink quoting an average turnaround of "49 days" is curious indeed!
    patti
    18th Sep 2018
    11:33am
    So what does an applicant do if they don't have enough money put by to see them through. Is the pension paid retrospectively from the application date? Waiting that long is simply unacceptable. It is not the fault of the Centrelink workers, but I bet they are the ones copping the abuse, not the politicians who made the decision to cut back on services
    Old Geezer
    18th Sep 2018
    11:37am
    Looking at this realistically if these were anything but isolated cases the media would be having a field day with this. Nothing to worry about at all.
    Joanbsails
    18th Sep 2018
    11:40am
    I meant to say in my comment below that the Centrelink workers we met in person, have been extremely helpful and a pleasure to deal with. Nor have we had to wait more than a few minutes before being attended to.
    Rae
    19th Sep 2018
    8:11am
    You need to make sure you do have enough money. I also have friends who waited a few months for processing but had the paperwork correct. There are hundreds of thousands applying now as the boomers hit aged pension eligibility.

    This was always going to be the case although maybe the Government thought more would have saved a bit for themselves over all the working decades instead of spending everything.
    Joanbsails
    18th Sep 2018
    11:36am
    My husband and I applied for Age Pension in March or April this year. Were told it would take 28 days to process. We supplied all that was asked for (our financial advisor filled in the forms. When we took them into Centrelink we were told that they should have been done online - but they accepted them anyway). We were told we would receive a letter but to ignore it. (As I recall). I don’t remember the details in between, but, at one stage we were asked for bank statements and share details (already supplied at least once). The letter stated these could be presented in person, online or posted. I chose to snail mail. Some weeks/months later we got a letter from Centrelink stating that, as we had not supplied the info requested, our application for the Pension was being cancelled. A hurried trip to the local Centrelink allowed us to learn that posting documents to Centrelink is definitely not a good idea, as likely not to arrive, which is what happened to us! Again, we found and printed the docs requested and drove them into Centrelink. Apparently, we have had yet another request for more info in the last fortnight, which my husband responded to (I was away). I haven’t even bothered to find out what the last request was for. I now regard the whole thing as a sort of a lottery.
    olbaid
    18th Sep 2018
    11:37am
    Privatizing Centerlink is long overdue . Public servants can only do so much in their allocated paid for 6 hours a day but only work probably all of 20 minutes
    Old Geezer
    18th Sep 2018
    11:44am
    How are they going to cope when 500,000 more self funded retirees apply when Labor gets into government if they have problems now?
    MICK
    18th Sep 2018
    1:54pm
    Start with politicans. Not us?????
    Pentop
    18th Sep 2018
    2:36pm
    Olbaid!!! all I can say is of all the jobs in the world one could wish for Centrelink is not one of them. Oh Yes, privatise it and then let's see the result.... funny I am thinking AMP, Banks, Insurance Companies etc etc. Perhaps let's give the staff bonuses for every person they can turn away without anything... KPI's for also reducing as much as possible to zero so the person does not get anything. Privatisation is sooooo wonderful. The ethical and honesty thermometer is just so wonderful. Make it "profitable" and all will win... trickle down economics straight into overseas CEO's pockets.
    Rae
    20th Sep 2018
    11:52am
    You realise Centrelink is subsidising wages too now because business is obviously a great big failure so can't increase wages over time or employ people properly.

    It's left to the taxpayer to pick up the slack of all these failing businesses. Perhaps they need to be got rid of and competent private firms replace them as they did public services.

    Some job providers receive millions in tax payments from us but barely place anyone in a job. They need to be shut down and replaced by competent operators.

    If we can replace public service with private service that is incompetent then it's time to replace those firms with ones who give value for our tax dollars.
    mogo51
    18th Sep 2018
    11:39am
    Good one Hobbit.
    olbaid
    18th Sep 2018
    11:43am
    Next - labor will be howling for an RC into Centerlink pension and other welfare payments
    MICK
    18th Sep 2018
    1:40pm
    What Labor needs to do is hold a RC into online posts. I'd advocate jail sentences for those who are paid to post political lies and misinformation.
    Thanks for the idea olbaid. I'll pass it on. Your day is coming.
    olbaid
    18th Sep 2018
    1:42pm
    Ill come visit you MICK
    Might even bake a cake with a file in it - a file full of your on line lies :))
    MICK
    18th Sep 2018
    1:55pm
    The only malicious lies come from the paid group posting here. You are one of them. Not comment. Just paid spew devoid of comments with claims which can never be verified. I have your measure olbaid and no real posters believe you.
    Pentop
    18th Sep 2018
    2:39pm
    Royal Commission into Centrelink sounds great!!!! But hey, then we will wait and wait and wait and wait... till the hounds are baying in the distance... does this sound familiar .... AMP, Banks etc etc... all on the eve of the Libs deciding they had to give them huge tax cuts. Don't worry a Royal Commission into Centrelink will NEVER HAPPEN....
    Nerk
    18th Sep 2018
    11:52am
    6 months ? I bet it isn't backdated to the first application.
    sunnyOz
    18th Sep 2018
    1:23pm
    It is backdated to when you applied.
    You can advise Centrelink that you will be applying for a pension. But any backdating will only be to when you officially applied.
    Tzuki
    18th Sep 2018
    11:56am
    Services SA is closing their offices in at least 2 suburbs here. They are large offices and will be REALLY MISSED by all here. People either have to travel much further and wait in line - if they don't have cars or cannot drive, they have to catch multiple buses to get to the nearest one - or they have to access a computer (being told they should learn to manouver the website) or wait on the phone for 40 + minutes. It is atrocious that the State Government is doing this!
    olbaid
    18th Sep 2018
    11:59am
    The labor SA government has sent the state bankrupt

    Victoria next then Queensland

    Voters have only themselves to blame

    Just wait - they’ll be putting their hand for a bailout from the central government
    Old Geezer
    18th Sep 2018
    11:59am
    Seems to me like it is a lot easier to do it online so what is the problem?
    BoroBoy
    18th Sep 2018
    1:48pm
    It is ok you saying what you have said but all my documents and information was in my file on the MyGov/Centrelink website from 20th September when I applied. The first letter I received on the web-site was when I would receive my first payment and back payment which was a week before May 4th.

    When Centrelink "lost" my photo copied document I did not re-submit it as like I said all documents were in my file, they only had to look for it.


    Since receiving the part pension Centrelink must send me on average 8 letters/month
    Old Geezer
    18th Sep 2018
    1:53pm
    Did you check all documents were uploaded correctly? Many people fail to upload them correctly.

    You need to read all those letters and take all action before their cut off dates. If you don't your pension will get suspended.
    BoroBoy
    18th Sep 2018
    4:01pm
    Like I said, I submitted all documents. Then was asked for a document which was already submitted. They still asked for that document.
    I then visited the local Centrelink Office and photo-copied the said document.
    Later I phoned Centrelink and I was informed they had lost the photo-copied document.
    I was then given a direct phone number to speak with a lady, I did NOT re-submit this document as the lady must have looked in my file and saw it, then the lovely lady proceeded to let me know how much part pension I will receive, how much back payment I will receive and when the payment will start.

    Nothing changed from anything submitted from the 20th September.
    I assume they only looked at my application in March when I was given a direct phone number.

    YES I submitted everything and uploaded them correctly.

    I read, download and print all letters from Centrelink

    As for letters from Centrelink I have just checked my file.
    20th Sept - 1 letter, Welcome to Centrelink letters online
    21st Sept - 1 letter, Copy of SMS
    April - 11 letters
    May - 6 letters
    June - 7 letters
    July - 30 letters
    August - 16 letters
    Sept - 6 letters, last one on the 12th September, so a few more to come.

    I am just stating that everything was submitted and uploaded on the 20th September.
    Nothing else was submitted as they LOST the photo-copied document, but it took nearly 8 months to receive a part pension
    Rae
    19th Sep 2018
    8:29am
    When they lose the document you have to resubmit whether you are right or wrong. This is called dealing with bureaucracy.

    I'm so glad my investment platform isn't run this way. They don't make mistakes thank goodness.

    What were all the letters about? Seems like a waste of money and effort or is it yet another failed IT system from a failed contractor.
    BoroBoy
    18th Sep 2018
    1:52pm
    SunnyOz
    It is ok you saying what you have said but all my documents and information was in my file on the MyGov/Centrelink website from 20th September when I applied. The first letter I received on the web-site was when I would receive my first payment and back payment which was a week before May 4th.

    When Centrelink "lost" my photo copied document I did not re-submit it as like I said all documents were in my file, they only had to look for it.


    Since receiving the part pension Centrelink must send me on average 8 letters/month
    Cowboy Jim
    18th Sep 2018
    2:41pm
    BoroBoy - I hardly get any letters from Centrelink; once a year I get a letter detailing my
    overseas pension income in $A. Not much but it helps out. Went to a C/Link office dealing only in age pension and Medicare issues without any dole lines and single mothers with kids in tow. If over 65 try one of those, ask your local branch for the address of one. I travel for an hour and a half to get to it but it is well worth it.
    fairplay
    18th Sep 2018
    3:31pm
    Our personal experiences with Clink have been a mixture of bad/frustrating/ok and good , but mostly frustrating.We were not applying for the OAP, only the health cards.We were told we could not apply until our eligibility date had come up ie you cannot apply beforehand ( can only assume this is a stalling tactic)..In anycase we were persistent and went to Clink about 7-8 times in about 6 working days (sometimes twice a day as we were trying to piece together all the bits of info that was needed)At the end we asked if we had supplied all the info needed and was told I THINK SO...the staff member was not sure as our applications were being processed elsewhere in Australia ( convenient perhaps !!)...In any case rang about 3 times over 4 months and was pretty much fobbed off each time.In desperation decided to talk to our local talkback radio program in Adelaide and the phone rang almost immediately.The service was excellent,although there were still a few things we had to do and got our cards about 6 weeks later.....just dread what will be involved when they near expiry and we have to reapply.Not sure if the Govt.in power will make much difference.Like some others have commented i do not necessarily like what Shorten's mob want to do with Franking credits as i understand anyone who has any investments(including Super) will be affected.Having said that the latest debacle in the Liberal camp was disgusting....they are in the main part there to line their own pockets with little regard of fixing the real issues.Seems they are unable to fix Electricity (too complex due to previous decisions),the ACCC are weak on issues such as petrol pricing and the list just goes on and on ....sorry to get off topic
    Rae
    19th Sep 2018
    8:36am
    It is general ineptitude and needs fixing. The Public Service was pretty much destroyed when Credlin was Chief of Staff, That needs fixing. They may need to drag people back out of retirement to sort the messes out all over the public service and legislate to fix issues.

    I don't think the several million more citizens have been accommodated either. You can't just increase the population willy nilly without increasing the services people need.

    What did they think, that GDP would suddenly look terrific and everything would be just dandy?
    floss
    18th Sep 2018
    4:13pm
    The system is broken but that may be as planned.I could arrange my assets and collect a part pension but then I would have to deal with a system that is just plain stupid.How the name of god do some pensioners handle the system is beyond me.I really feel for some Retirees.Please give it a rest olbaid you are just plain dumb there must be a place in the Liberal party for you as they excel in stupidity.
    Rae
    19th Sep 2018
    8:39am
    Yes floss me too but damned if I even want to go there. The thought of Serco having all my info and then being issued a welfare card that details all my spending does not appeal as we head down the Road to Fascism.
    GrayComputing
    18th Sep 2018
    4:22pm
    Now is the time for discontent, so do something about it!
    It is time to kill off this insane hugely expensive pensioner whacking bureaucracy.

    It is time for all of us (yes that means you) to rant at our MPs and Senators daily to take action for human decency and a huge stress reduction for pensioners

    NO ASSET TEST FOR A PENSION EVER AGAIN!
    A pension is not welfare.

    Most economist say we will save taxpayers money by dropping asset testing because of the massive overheads cost in running Centrelink and the 10,000 conflicting rules.

    Hiring more Centrelink staff will only increase taxpayer’s costs for processing the creeping insane red tape monster system politicians and well paid bureaucrats have created.

    Help scrap it now. Become a hero.

    Even poorer New Zealand has a NO ASSET pension so it is cheaper and user friendly.

    Why worry that few million$ earners get it too. That is peanuts to them, not enough for a good vintage champagne.

    Do retired and retiring people really look forward and want 100++ visits to/from Centrelink and be part of 3 million waiting queues and lost calls?

    Does your MP really like being part of the system that allows this indirect abuse of the elderly?

    This abuse is actually sponsored by our government and forced down to Centrelink and borders on a criminal act.

    Why do MPs normally compassionate persons let this Centrelink abuse happen at taxpayers’ expense?

    Some opposition and independent MPs stand to lose their chance at being part of the needed government changes

    We all (that means you) need to tell our MP and senators every day that these criminal asset tests for a pension must be dropped now.

    DEMAND: NO ASSET TEST FOR A PENSION EVER AGAIN!

    Please help yourself and others today and every day, pass this demand on to all government, opposition and independent MPs and senators who could help us to get a fair deal on pensions
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    20th Sep 2018
    7:45am
    Yes GrayComputing. The answer is to kill the assets test completely. Actually, the answer is a universal age pension. No BS trying to satisfy absurd demands. No delays. You get it when you turn 65. No admin costs. No policing costs. Easy. Sensible. Fair. Affordable - if taxation is applied sensibly and fairly.
    Elizzy
    18th Sep 2018
    4:35pm
    I had to restart my application because I could not get some documents from overseas in time to meet the Clink deadline. I informed them in writing of my difficulty by recorded delivery prior to the deadline date. Did they listen and adjust the deadline? Of course not.
    Thoughtful
    18th Sep 2018
    4:37pm
    Problem - the whole system is too difficult for a lot to negotiate. Waiting times can indeed be extended and in fact there have been a lot of articles in the media to support that. Many are not able to use technology which appears to be the most expedient method - though I agree uploaded documents still seem to "disappear". Then once the pension has been approved it may still be ongoing difficulties for many. Try predicting your income each fortnight when you are a casual worker who can have many different hourly rates and the reporting period does not align to your pay period! Everything is just ridiculously difficult even for computer savvy seniors. I believe the answer is an Universal Age Pension and tax paid at normal tax rates for any other income. Let's simplify the age pension and tax system. Would surely not cost the government any more and would save enormously on bloated impossible to navigate bureaucracy.
    Rae
    19th Sep 2018
    8:44am
    Yes indeed. The ATO occasionally has issues but they seem a bunch of number crunchers.

    The Maths Department in any High School or Uni Campus is always the sanest place to be with everything done by deadline and never any emotional meltdowns.

    Just a single aged pension and all other income taxed according to legislation and this would free Centrelink to deal with the crazy work patterns now that ensure workers often need government support due to under employment and vague hours.
    leek
    18th Sep 2018
    4:48pm
    One solution to all of this- Universal Basic Income- Or Universal Basic Aged pension as is done in the UK & NZ. Even Prince Charles is getting a pension. Everybody gets the pension when they reached the approved age- regardless of income or assests. Then none of you would have anything to talk/winge about.
    Thoughtful
    18th Sep 2018
    5:20pm
    "There is nothing more uncommon than common sense." Frank Lloyd Wright
    Rae
    19th Sep 2018
    8:46am
    You mean "fairness" and "equality"? We're not having any of that here. This is Australia and we'll make it as complicated and inefficient as we possibly can.
    Kali-G
    18th Sep 2018
    5:28pm
    maybe if he told them that he was a muslim, he would have been treated like FIRST CLASS.....AND he would have got a welcome letter from malcolm Turnboll....
    leek
    18th Sep 2018
    6:17pm
    Uploading documents to Centrelink. I had to upload over 100 pages for my daughter. I was meticulus at doing it, and as an ex IT professional, I knew I had to reopen and check every document. that was being uploaded. I then Phoned centrelink to tell them I had uploaded the information. The lady said to me " you would be surpised as to how many people send us in blank uploads". She checked all of mine and said they were great.
    olbaid
    18th Sep 2018
    6:40pm
    Yep - exactly

    So easy to blame centerlink for ones own mistakes, which seems to the case for those whose applications were delayed .
    Thoughtful
    18th Sep 2018
    6:47pm
    True, but not always the case. I have had missing uploaded documents "reappear" after a phone call. Every human can make a mistake and the IT system is as good as the people using it at both ends.
    Rae
    19th Sep 2018
    8:48am
    And only ever as good as the IT programmers employed by the contractors who build the system.
    Thoughtful
    20th Sep 2018
    9:45am
    Or the bureaucrats who inform the programmers of what is required of the system! We could go on and on. Simplification of it all is the answer - but in a fair and just way. Not everyone in life has had the same opportunities and unfortunately not everyone has the clarity of mind to design, use or understand the system. I would like to think this problem could be overcome by continual improvements in education of modern life but am doubtful.
    Rae
    20th Sep 2018
    12:01pm
    I'm doubtful too Thoughtful but I was assuming the workers should be simply entering data correctly and the system spitting out a result. Letting everyone suddenly become a data entry employee unpaid of Centrelink is dangerous. Of course mistakes will occur.

    Those applying should be assisted through the process by an expert and very few data entry mistakes occurring.

    Making it a free for all to avoid employing people is crazy.

    Let's not forget the millions of workers having to enter data each fortnight for top up payments due to stagnant or falling incomes, as well as the unemployed. I'm surprised the system hasn't completely collapsed.
    Old Geezer
    20th Sep 2018
    12:07pm
    Rae the ATO system works very well so why not have people input their own data and have severe penalties for those who get it wrong? They would soon get it right the first time.
    Big Kev
    18th Sep 2018
    6:31pm
    I wonder where they are increasing staffing by 2750. Friends working there tell me 500 have recently been made redundant and another 500 are due to go. Family tell me of 3 to 5 hours wait on the phone and one of their friends phone went flat just as they got through. They went to local office but after 2 hr wait they were told to go home and ring.
    Eddy
    18th Sep 2018
    10:01pm
    My Centrelink storey is the opposite. We owe them money and are waiting for them to send us a request for payment My MiL entered onto an aged care facility in early March after she became to much for my wife to look after. We notified Centrelink within 14 days that he Carer Payment of $125 per f/n should be discontinued. It took over 4 months before they stopped the payment which meant we had been overpaid nearly $1500. We have now been waiting over 2 months for Centrelink to send us a request for repayment. One thing Centrelink is not is quick.
    Argydubbaya
    18th Sep 2018
    10:13pm
    An easy fix would be to calculate the amount of tax paid over one's entire lifetime then give a percentage of that total back upon retirement. No need for Centrelink, no need for wait times, no need for bus catching or paying for fuel to get to the closest office. All recipients including politicians would get the same percentage. The tax department could handle the payouts. Of course if one paid huge tax they would be entitled to proportionately larger pension.
    Rae
    19th Sep 2018
    8:51am
    I believe the Us works like that. The ATO here only keeps 7 years back apparently. You'd have to keep all your tax returns. I actually have and it's outrageous how much tax I actually paid to not get a pension at all.
    Old Geezer
    19th Sep 2018
    11:44am
    I think I'd do very well out of such a fix.

    In the US you get back what you pay into 401 schemes no matter what income or assets you have after you retire.
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    20th Sep 2018
    7:47am
    So if you are among the disadvantaged who have to work a lifetime for low pay because you were deprived of education or opportunity, or suffered disability, SCREW YOU! You can starve in old age. Is that what you suggest, Argydubbaya?
    Old Geezer
    20th Sep 2018
    11:24am
    OGR that's not what was said at all.
    Rae
    20th Sep 2018
    12:06pm
    OGR that wasn't implied. The disadvantaged receive a pension, health care and other services. Those who worked very hard and paid a pile of taxes often get nothing so SCREW YOU is obviously how people feel about those who have forked out to pay for the true disadvantaged in a caring society.
    Old Geezer
    20th Sep 2018
    12:49pm
    Agree Rae many of those who paid lots of tax get nothing when they retire now. Just shows how unfair our society has become.
    Old Geezer
    20th Sep 2018
    12:03pm
    Centrelink should do what the ATO does. When you apply it is up to you to get it right and your application is automatically accepted. If you get it wrong there are harsh penalties. I bet people would all get their application right the first time.
    Rae
    20th Sep 2018
    12:08pm
    Yes OG or pay an agent to get it right for them. Those unable to enter data should have assistance. It's good you help them as a trained accountant used to dealing with data entries.

    Either the system is foolproof or only qualified data processors should be operating it.
    Old Geezer
    20th Sep 2018
    1:24pm
    They have people that help low income earners with their tax returns for free now so why can't that service be extended to applying for welfare as well.
    eggles01
    20th Sep 2018
    3:37pm
    Hi Andrianus,I would place Mick in a combined class of his own,a member of the fascist communist labor group being led by the gangerous anti Australian greens party who's only mission is to totally bring down the freedom and democracy we Australians have grown up with and believe in, did any body see the black and white movie George Orwells 1984 "Big Brother is Watching you" WE will give you what we know you need,not what you think you need!! google "big brother is watching you" (on youtube)


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