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Centrelink fun!

By Root Proboscis - 1 February 2010 35

Just how prevalent is the bastardry of Centrelink in Canberra?

This morning I had the pleasure of being asked to provide a Statutory Declaration for a person that Centrelink requested them to obtain. Simplest option, visit Centrelink, fill out stat dec with all they need, get it signed by a prescribed person (a commonwealth employee with 5 years service) all in the office.

Sorry they say, it needs witnessing and signing by a JP. There is no difference under legislation, there is simply a list of prescribed persons, of which a JP is one. But you have to search for a JP, you have to find one available, you have to make further trips. And the office manager, who can witness Statutory Declarations will not sign this particular Statutory Declaration because they want you to chase around and find a JP.

It is really pointless complaining to Centrelink, you get the impression that they actually give medals to the staff members who do get the most complaints made against them. Welfare by attrition, jumping through hoops is the major criteria to qualify for payment.

Any other horror stories?

What’s Your opinion?

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35 Responses to
Centrelink fun!
Avy 12:55 pm 02 Feb 10

>Any other horror stories?

In truth, I do not think this is a horror story. I have heard of far, far, far worse from other places. This is child’s play.

Thumper 12:30 pm 02 Feb 10

Have a look on the back of a stat dec. It lists everyone who can sign one. If anyone tells you otherwise show them the list.

It really is that easy.

dvaey 12:09 pm 02 Feb 10

My girlfriend needed a JP to witness a document recently and went on the same chase as you did, before someone told us that every police station has a JP present who can witness documents. Quick visit to the copshop, and 2min later we walked out with our signed paper, couldnt have been easier.

If you think centrelink asking you to find a JP is the worst thing since sliced bread, youre surely not going to enjoy the rest of the hoops they make you continuously jump through.

pptvb 11:53 am 02 Feb 10

PBO said :

(helps if you have a job when you say that).


jazza 11:48 am 02 Feb 10

i receive youth allowance payments while i’m studying at uni. disregarding the disappointingly small payments, considering my rental and living costs, three times in the last three months my payment has been changed because someone in their office made data entry errors. my payment has been cancelled (apparently at my request??), and twice my ability to report my income has been spontaneously removed.
each problem requires that i go into the office (dealing with them over the phone is impossible) and spend up to an hour waiting in line and trying to explain what’s going on – which is much more difficult then it should be.

motleychick 11:33 am 02 Feb 10

I know that a lot of people have problems with Centrelink, but do you even think about the amount of idiots the staff there have to deal with? I have a friend that works there and they have to call the cops at least three times a week because people get angressive and violent to the staff. They’re there to help you out so I wouldn’t complain about them. They have to put up with a lot of shit in their line of work.

swamiOFswank 11:19 am 02 Feb 10

Recent story from a friend, less than a fortnight ago. She lives about an hour out of town but took her son into Centrelink in Qbn to sort out his youth allowance payment.

The first step was to book an appointment. Living quite a long way out of Queanbeyan, she asked over the phone about what documents would be needed. They brought everything they were told to. Despite having been in receipt of family type benefits for years, with the son as a member of the family, and despite having brought his birth certificate and bank information, and despite having his name appear on the family Medicare card…Centrelink announced that they would have to bring in a school report as further ID.

So…my friend and her son drove the 200km round trip to get the school report, fuming…only to come back to Centrelink Qbn and be told by another staff member that they wouldn’t need that because there was enough information already on the record. My friend, angry, spoke to the supervisor who offered an apparently insincere apology.

When ordinary country families are treated like that, the Centrelink staff deserve all the deadshit customers they get.

ThatGuy 9:06 am 02 Feb 10

When I was 19 I went to go live and work at a not-for-profit organisation out in Wee Jasper. As the company didn’t have much money I decided to explore Centrelink’s voluntary work payment scheme to see if I could get money to pay for my own food etc.
Before I was allowed an interview with one of Centrelinks ‘consultants’ I was forced to sit through an hour long seminar/video. This video was clearly what I was after as it was all about how to get a job. After that soul draining hour, I promptly sat down in front of the consultant with Centrelink’s voluntary work payments brochure in hand. After a thirty second discussion I was told that Centrelink don’t do voluntary work payments.
I look at the consultant, I looked at the brochure, I looked back at the consultant. He didn’t budge. I politely tore up the brochure and walked out.
At some point they’ll need to employ people who know what Centrelink do, or at least update their brochures.

indigoid 9:03 am 02 Feb 10

Oh pffft, there’s JPs everywhere. Three in my quiet and rather short suburban street alone, last I checked! It isn’t difficult. Did you or the requestor actually read the fine print? Ask for clarification? A little careful homework can save a lot of legwork.

Sorry, my only sympathy here is for the poor Centrelink staff who have to deal with deadshits all day.

Dazzlar 8:52 am 02 Feb 10

We’re lucky to live in a country that even has a welfare system.

I say suck it up and jump through those hoops!

PBO 8:45 am 02 Feb 10

Speak to the manager and advise them that they are not doing their job (helps if you have a job when you say that).

Braddon Boy 8:36 am 02 Feb 10

I love a good centrelink story. I have a theory they staff it with idiots to discourage people from going there and claiming welfare.

Back in the good old days, if you had earned over about $15,000 in 18 months after leaving yr 12 you could qualify for the entire amount of youth allowance while studying at uni.

As it turns out, I earned this amount while living in the UK, which luckily enough for me still counts.

So I went down to centrelink with the piece of paper that said I had earned 10,000 pounds in a given time frame. The centrelink employee was convinced this was only equivalent to $3,500 rather than the $30,000 it was at the time. I firstly tried to politely inform her of her miscalculation and that it was in fact enough for me to qualify. She then got quite aggressive saying she wasn’t an idiot and she should know how much it was worth, after all her nephew was over there on a holiday at the time.

The argument continued for well over 10 mins and finally finished when she called the office that actually processes the claims and they corrected her. So it wasn’t even up to her to process the claim but had to argue with me anyway.

Rawhide Kid No 2 7:14 am 02 Feb 10

Conflict of interest maybe? But then I could be wrong.

JC 3:01 am 02 Feb 10

Do you think they were being bastards for the sake of it, or were doing it for a very good reason? My guess is for a good reason.

s-s-a 11:12 pm 01 Feb 10

What BS (of course you know that, I am talking to Centrelink here)…

A stat dec does NOT have to be signed only by a JP. The reverse of the official form lists a whole swag of people who can sign it. In recent years, I have had stat decs signed by a dentist (where I wasn’t even a patient), a pharmacist at my local pharmacy and my DD’s teacher.

Most Centrelink shopfronts are within a short walk of a pharmacy and/or police station and/or Post Office/bank/credit union etc (although the last group require 5y continuous service).

I do have horror stories but too many, too complicated and too personal to go into here.

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