Five things that happen when you get cut off from Centrelink

July 12, 2017
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Being on Youth Allowance is a nice way for the government to tell you they’re here to help while you study your butts off full-time. But what happens when you get cut off? Lucky for you, I’ve been there, done that.

Initial panic levels = over the roof

A letter from Centrelink comes in the mail – again! “What is it this time?” you say. Have they slashed your payments by another 50 bucks? Is it another health care card? No, it’s those dreaded six words: “Your Youth Allowance has been cancelled”. Fuck.

Once you shake it off just like Taylor Swift and Mariah Carey taught you to, you suss out what jobs are available. And while we’re at it, your resume needs some love. You’ll likely receive an influx of “Thank you for your application but the position has already been filled” emails. And you know what? It’s their loss. Rejection will direct you towards something better.

Showering in more dollar bills

Most of your Youth Allowance budget went towards topping up your concession travel card and mobile credit on the reg. The rest? Enough to live on two-minute noodles for the rest of the fortnight. Tragic, I know.

Now you struggle no more. Yes, you may get taxed if your pay reaches a certain threshold. And yes, you may no longer reap them concession perks. But one thing remains the same: looking forward to that sweet, sweet money entering your account on payday. Except this time, you’ve earning way more than what Centrelink gave you.

Treat yo’ self sessions are on the rise

Speaking of which, earning more dollar bills mean more opps to treat yo’ self, brought to you by the professionals over at Pawnee, Indiana: Tom and Donna. Massages, mimosas and fine leather goods may be their kind of thing, but yours could range from chowing down a halal snack pack to delighting your earbuds with a new album from your fave artist.

Maybe you’d like to take that step further by seeing said artist live onstage. Heck, it could even be a trip to Europe. Whatever it is, do it. Just don’t do it too often. You’ve seen the memes, right?

Praying to the roster gods for shifts

Every Thursday, you wait for that Facey notification from your HBIC to pop up so you can see what shifts you’re working the following week. In one week, you have four shifts, and you only have one the next. Shoot, there may be one week where you don’t get rostered at all.

A second job may be tempting, and so does a side hustle. But in the interim, you make sure you have coins from your previous pay check. At the same time, you low-key hope one of your faves hits you up on Messenger to cover one of their shifts. More cash money for you!

Centrelink is no longer your second home

The Youth Allowance days are over. And you know what that means? The odd visits to your second abode are no more – you loathed going there in the first place. That also means no longer having to wait in line (or on the phone) to be served by one of the Centrelink staff, no longer reminding yourself every fortnight to report how much income you earned in your casual job, plus no more knowing your Customer Reference Number and secret passwords off by heart. Even better, you can uninstall the app on your phone. Look at that storage space!

It’s been a good run but, to paraphrase Gabriella Montez, you gotta go your own way. I know I did.

Ryan Bautista

Ryan is an Arts (Media, Culture and Technology) student at the University of New South Wales. Don’t @ him but pineapple belongs on pizza. 

Image: Giphy

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