The struggles you’ll experience when dealing with Centrelink

March 06, 2017
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Most students have a love-hate relationship with Centrelink. We'll complain about them constantly and scream internally when we have to wait for hours in line or on the phone for them. Yet, even with all the turmoil they put us through, it's worth it for that bit of extra cash to get us through uni life. While that pay feels pretty sweet, these are the moments you wish you didn’t have to deal with.

Unexpectedly cutting off your pay for no reason

For reasons unknown to anyone, Centrelink sometimes decides to cut you off when nothing in your circumstances has changed. Sometimes there's mass confusion triggered by an overseas trip or the fact that you’ve changed degrees and you’re no longer finishing on the date you said you would. But other times they’ll email with some arbitrary reason and unforch it’ll mean you need to call them up to get them to fix it. Speaking of…

Sooo many hours on hold

If you’re receiving Centrelink payments, it’s likely that you’ve wasted plenty of hours waiting on hold. Even if you call the moment they open, you can still expect a wait time of half an hour. But most of the time, expect an hour, minimum.

And sure, you can get other things done while you’re on hold. You can put the phone on loud speaker and let the soothing tones of Vivaldi help you study or sort out life admin. But be prepared to get your hopes up again and again when you think a real human person has picked up, when really it’s an abrupt interruption of the music to tell you that the lines are still busy. Urrrrrrrrgh.

The horror that is going to a Centrelink office

It really is an experience that you need to experience to believe. The lines are long and the waiting areas are the most boring, beige places on earth. If you haven’t had someone shout or scream while you've been waiting, have you really been to Centrelink? When you do finally get served, prepare to encounter staff who can’t seem to find any records of previous conversations or changes to your account. #Cringe.

Emails from Centrelink saying you owe them money (when you probs don’t)

You may have seen the news that Centrelink sent out a whole bunch of letters to Centrelink recipients telling them they owed money when they didn’t. And this wasn’t just paying back of a few fortnightly payments – we’re talking thousands of dollars of debt.

Many of you probably received a stress-inducing letter or checked your MyGov inbox fearfully when you heard the news. But thankfully for many of you, the letters were incorrect and you don’t actually owe any money. But thanks for the heart attack, Centrelink.

Realising that the fortnightly pay won’t get you very far at all

When you find out you’ll be getting money to support your measly part-time wages, it’s pretty exciting. When you see the figure appear in your account though, it’s more likely to be an underwhelming response. If you’ve worked too many hours at your part-time job, your Centrelink pay might not even cover the cost of food you ate during those shifts, and in some cases it’s nothing at all. 

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