A constituent’s Centrelink story

The so-called ‘welfare reforms’ made by the federal government have caused stress and hardship for some sole parents and people with disabilities, but there are many other people who also have to deal with the way ‘mutual’ obligation is enacted through our welfare system. Following is an example I recently received from a constituent:

My son left school last year and immediately got 2 part time jobs which reduced his youth allowance to around $16 per fortnight.

When he first met with Centrelink they told him that he was 1 and 1/2 hours short per fortnight of the requisite time when they would release him from obligations. Then he went through the process of registering with a job network provider ( Mission Australia) .

He was required to attend a meeting at Mission Australia. He rang them and told them that he couldn’t come because he was working so they said that if he didn’t turn up he’d be breached. So he arranged to have half a day off from his employment to go to this meeting.

A couple of weeks later he advised Centrelink and Mission Australia in writing that he now had full time employment. Centrelink insisted that he had to turn up at their office in person. So he arranged another half day off to meet their appointment.

They continued to send him weekly reporting letters saying that he was receiving Zero dollars and if he didn’t return the form they would cut off his benefits. He advised Centrellink and Mission Austalia twice in writing (on the forms they sent out) that he has full time employment.

Last week he got a letter saying that he had to attend an appointment with Centrelink due to his failure to report. He rang them and said that he was in full time employment, that he had already notified them of this fact and that he was not receiving any benefits.

They insisted he attend so he took another half day off work on Wednesday to go to the office. When he got there they told him to wait and after two hours he asked when he was going to see somebody . They then said that the appointment had been cancelled. Today he got a letter saying that they were cutting off his benefits ($0) because of failure to report.

Is that dumb or what? With a less understanding employer my son might well be out of work now because of incompetent bureacracy.

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  1. I don’t get what you’ve done.

    You’ve taken a post responding to someone else, deleted most of it, merged it to another post to you, and told me there was an ‘adjustment’ and to reply to a problem that I never raised.

    Then you end with ‘can you answer these without having a go at me?’

  2. What i hate the most about a “customer” of centrelink now, with a birth defect was it my fault that i was born without enough oxygen? And ended up with only half my body that works properly, is that i work as much has i can in an inapproiate job that involves heaps of walking,study part time @ TAFE to try and get a better job and i have to tell centrelink and DWER all the time what my disability is, how it effects me, and what special needs i have. 10 years ago the centrelink people use to come to my home for appointments together- and now i have to go in the their offices. I think for people with real disabilities that have been known to centrelink since childhood should beable to have the centrelink staff in their home for appointments. One look around my home and even a young child could see how my disability effects me. Gee it could even be part of the new ‘ Welfare to work program’ Considering that i am trying my hardest to be a productive member of the community, Can’t i expect abit of service considering I am a customer? This would also have the duel affect that if people were doing the wrong thing they wouldn’t want the centrelink people around. Then wouldn’t that be good for the customers and good for the government?

  3. hmmm so the world of the “welfare” is changing for the better?
    well perhaps for the “deserving” people in this country it might seem to be.
    what about the people at the bottom of the pile?

    i mean the ones who went to a rotten school where the only thing you had to look forward to was ending up on the dole because there were no jobs

    the ones who this government effectively said remain dependent on their parents until they turn 21 (the so called youth allowance)
    you can drink, gamble, smoke and vote at 18 but the Howard government says you have to be 21 to receive any money in your own right.

    the ones who worked hard at places like target and woolworths only to have their own cut by the time they turned 21 because they dont want to pay adult wages?

    the ones who find themselves in a maze of casual and intermittent work with no hope of ever securing a permanent job and hence having to spend their lives “chained” to the centrelink monolith?

    i mean filling out endless forms ,applying for 50,000 jobs that you never hear anything back from,

    “compliance” interviews with “Job” Network services (thats a laugh) and even if you make one small mistake you risk getting booted off the “drip feed” for 8 weeks!

    the amazing thing is that even if you do squeeze into some lowly paid insecure casual position you still lose about 75 cents in the dollar.

    i mean lets get real here for once despite what the “elite” men and women of this government think no one would CHOOSE to be on welfare if there were any viable alternative that would last.

    Its like the so called skills shortage…unless you are a 16 year old forget about doing a trade despite Workchoices and all the banter about this no employer will take on a 26 y/o male as an apprentice because of the wages. in other words you are too “expensive”
    put it this way it doesnt work in the REAL WORLD im afraid

  4. Tina and KK

    Bloody good posts.

    Articulated the deficits in the system in a way I couldn’t.

  5. Nems,

    Re post 97. U say that psychologists, etc, are used for job capacity assessments, however, this was not my case. I was told that I had an appointment for a medical assessment for an application for a disability benefit. This occurred as a result of my doctor’s advice, given a number of health problems that i have previously elaborated on.

    On the day of this assessment I was invited into an interview room, where the person introduced themselves and told me that they were there to assess my application for a disability benefit. I made a point of asking them if they were medically qualified and they answered in the affirmative. I then asked what their qualifications were and I was told that they were a psychologist, which i found rather surprising, being that none of the medical results that they had with them at that time had any hint of a psychological nature, although a number of questions that i was asked were definately of a medical nature. i would also query a psychologist’s professional ability to assess ‘range of movement’ in parts of a person’s body, as this is definately a medical, and not a psychological area. So, with respect, are you saying that centrelink assesses disability applicants based on their (centrelink’s) ‘own preferred choice of assessor’, rather than the use of a person who is properly trained in assessing physical problems? I was also asked, towards the end of the assessment what i understood regarding one particular ailment which is of a very serious nature. I found that to be an unecessary question, given that it was obviously asked in order to gauge reaction. Nems, i ask you, if you were on your own with a child, and had not
    one, but a number of ongoing health problems (all provided to centrelink), one of which had the potential to be immediate life threatening would you not be concerned enough to be perhaps surprised, and upset at having to answer such a question? Of course I was.

  6. Nems,

    further to my last post I would be interested to know how you define a disability. I have known many disabled people who suffer no pain. I also know a few people who are disabled, and live many days each week in pain. I wonder (again, with respect) how centrelink can expect those in the latter category with medical issues that are ‘not’ going to change for the better to go out and work, either in paid, or voluntary capacities. Who takes the responsibility for this if a person’s condition worsens as a result? I just don’t see how centrelink is basically able to go over the top of a medically trained specialist’s opinion, especially when they are provided with all of the medical documentation to support it. I can promise you Nems, people who are on a disability benefit and live like that don’t do so happily, or easily. Why do they have to live with the extra worry of whether or not, at some time, some centrelink office will decide that they can go out to work? I think that another ‘look’ needs to be had in this area. Or is it going to be legal for people to be working under the regular effects of painkillers, anti inflammatory drugs, etc. Your opinion would be appreciated.

  7. Hi Jan1
    I’m assuming that you know how your ‘ongoing health problems’ impact upon you extremely well, that you understand the conditions involved and what the prognosis/treatment is for them. Actually i’d be surprised if you couldn’t teach most of us a hell of a lot. My guess is you gained this knowledge through your own research and the advice of your doctor/s. The allied health staff employed by all JCA providers (they are not all from Centrelink, so no not its own preferred assessor of choice) gain the knowledge to assess the impact/s. They combine this with information from the customer to make an assessment. I will stay on course that it’s a JCA, but would happily be willing to accept that someone told you it was a medical assessment. but I think you made the point well that that wasn’t what actually happened. As for the later question.. yes can understand concern. We often have to ask questions that some find difficult/infuriating. I am speculating as I don’t do JCA’s, but often in my roles I have found many (not all) custs don’t understand their own investments, situation and yes medical condition.. Not everyone is as educated about their condition/s as you seem to be. Maybe it is a standard question, I just don’t know, but again yes can understand concern.
    The answer re overriding doctors is simply that they are medically trained, not work capacity trained. Doesn’t mater if i agree with that, but its the reason.

  8. Hi Nems

    Many thanks for your informative, and understanding reply. I wish that I had been lucky enough on a few occasions to have been dealt with by someone with your reasoning ability, rather than some whom I allowed to intimidate me whilst unwell so much that I found part-time work that lasted just a few months before I was seeing the doc for treatment most days for three weeks before x-rays, then being told that working was now out of the question. Yes, I have done extensive research on a few of my medical conditions – the others I accept that I can live with. When raising a child on your own I believe that you should be totally aware of medical issues that are serious enough to take your life in an instant. In that nems, I sincerely believe that only a few officers have shown me the support, respect, or correct advice. If anything, I have found a few of the others to be domineering, rude, and evasive in giving out information. It seems too easy for centrelink to stop a benefit ‘before’ getting info, moreso when it turns out that the error was theirs. It is a useless exercise to make formal complaints. We obviously don’t deserve an apology if it is shown to be centrelink’s error. Nems, I believe that, when people provide willingly medical reports, test results, etc that show without doubt that they have medical issues, some of which will not improve, they at least deserve respect, rather than tactics designed to intimidate them into making decisions that are not in their best interests, although made out of fear of losing payments. I know that people do wrong things, but, if you have nothing to hide you should not have a problem with proving a disability with reports, results, etc. I don’t need someone to ask me what I understand about a certain condition, which just happens to be the most serious. Of course there has been an impact. I don’t need to be reminded of it when they had also obviously researched it. Take care.

  9. I have been reading the above with astonishment. Centrelink now employs private psychologists to do “assessments” for Disability Support Pension? (I wonder how muich this is costing the Agency?)

    When I was at Centrelink, eligibility was determined by a Commonwealth Medical Officer’s (Doctor of Medicine) assessment.

    Having made many determinations myself from the Doctors reports, it was quick and easy and rarely ever involved appeals.

    I would have a good deal of concern over eligibility being determined by a psychologist who is not qualified to judge on medical grounds who can or cannot work.

  10. Hi Allison!
    Thank you so much re the above post. Now you may see how confusing, and frustrating it was to me, moreso being that I do have knowledge of the different ways that questions can be placed, asked, and the impact guage of certain questions, being that I was trained for that. However, I still fail to see why medical problems that are likely to get only worse, rather than better require the assessment of a psychologist, moreso when the doctor’s report and backup info was all of a medical nature. Also, whose opinion holds weight at the end of the day on medical problems? I was told that the psychologist was asked to do an assessment in order that centrelink would then decide if I qualified for a DSS. If the application was based on ‘medical’ grounds, should not the doctor’s opinion be the deciding factor, or should not the assessment be carried out by another doctor on behalf of centrelink. I still will happily debate a psychologist’s actual level of ‘medical’ training, particularly when it is relative to medical problems, let alone those that have already been confirmed from other medical sources apart from the client’s own practitioner.

  11. Alison:

    Let me tell you about doctors.

    Anyone who doesn’t want to pay you (whether it be Centrelink or Workers’ Compensation, etc) knows which doctors will say there is NOTHING wrong with ANYONE.

    I have experienced this both as an injured employee and as a medical secretary working for an orthopaedic specialist.

    There are plenty of misogynistic doctors around. Some are misandrists as well.

    As long as they’re reeling in their millions, they do not care who else suffers.
    They want to maximise their incomes and minimise their tax bills by making injured workers suffer.

    I have no problem with Centrelink using Psychologists and Occupational Therapists for assessments.

    An Occupational Therapist, for example, is best able to interpret the relationship between a particular injury/disability and the likely effects of a particular job.

    The people you perceive as “non-medical professionals” are also more likely to take into account other responsibilities in the person’s life that might affect their ability to work e.g. whether or not they have a spouse or parent to help them; whether or not there are other people they have to look after (children, elderly parents).


    Here are some suggestions which I hope you will find useful.

    Firstly, you can stop insulting the clientele via this blog.

    Secondly, you can help us vote John Howard out. It’s about time he received the final solution.

    Thirdly, you can find a way of stopping the government from fudging the unemployment statistics and using them to bludgeon people who cannot find work.

    Fourthly, you can start listening to people like Tina and KK, instead of sitting in your ivory tower taking home a much better level of pay.

    Fifthly, you can cease showing no interest in the opinions of past Centrelink employees. If nothing has changed, or things have changed for the worse, their opinions are still relevant.

  12. Again this government says the unemployment rate is 4 or 5%, well where I live in Launceston in the top part of the apple isle I find that hard to believe, 10 years ago the official unemployment rate here was 11%. Now they reckon it is 5%! If you look on the AJS website on any given day you will see that the only jobs that are effectively there are for tradesmen. Well perhaps if Messrs Howard and Costello had actually not ripped the guts out of the TAFE system 10 years ago there might actually be tradesmen to fill these postions.
    What is their solution? Build an “Australian Technical College”!

    What hipocrisy….I remember when Amanda Vanstone was the Minister for Education when they doubled the HECS fees the first time she stated “we don’t believe in training for trainings sake”

    All these ATC’s are is an expensive duplication of the state run TAFE system that this government had gutted for the past decade….even now the ATC’s cant reach their enrolment quota!
    Talk about hipocrisy…..well as far as 5% unemployment it’s a fantasy. (The queue at the local Centrelink office still seems just as long!)

    I go out and do seasonal work here cutting vines in a local vineyard….yet the wages are so low that I still receive part Newstart.

    So what am I? Employed or unemployed???

    Well at least I am willing to take the jobs when they are there.
    It’s like a local abattoir here…well the only one left they employ their people through a labour hire company and yep you are casual….no holiday pay, sick pay or public holiday pay and believe me the wages aren’t much good either.

    Well Mr Howard all I can say is if you think people have never been better off in Australia….I would hate to see what happens when the inevitable next recession happens!
    Because every bubble bursts in the end.

  13. KK:

    In answer to your question, you are being exploited, lied to and financially abused. Soon you will be gastronomically abused also.

    When John Howard talks of people being better off, he is only thinking of the rich exploiters he aids and abets.

  14. Unfortunateley I know that I get exploited, but what can you do?

    I still believe I am a victim of this malicious system. No matter what Howard or co says it is a soul destroying set up.

    When the Youth Allowance was first brought in I think the income level then was around $23,000 to qualify for the maximum amount you could get living at home.

    My father was a cleaner earning $28,000 with two children to support so I could only get around $50 a week off the government, supplemented by a few casual hours here and there (I did try to go to uni but had to pull the pin after one semester), the only other way you can get any money off the system is to have both parents sign a piece of paper basically saying they disown you.

    Then unfortunately the only real alternative you have is to take whatever low paying retail job you can get , then it was abount $7 an hour!

    Well at least John Howards kids have had the benefit of “a booming economy”, I guess you only get ahead now if you are born in to the money.

  15. It’s moving more towards that every day, KK.

    Yesterday I attended a conference at the Child Support Agency, which is investigating why I haven’t received an increase for 3 years.

    It seems that paying parents can engage in Salary Sacrificing – i.e. putting part of their gross income into superannuation where it does not form part of their taxable income for the year.

    Since child support is calculated on the taxable income, it seems my ex-husband may be putting part of the child support into super and earning interest on it for himself.

    If so, he is in effect landing other tax payers with his child support bill via Family Payment from Centrelink.

    Since Centrelink has a finite budget, I want to know why the Taxation Department has not been providing the Child Support Agency with details of Salary Sacrifice.

    This is just another way in which John Howard is robbing the poor and giving the money (plus interest) to middle and high income earners – while also sending sole parents and disabled people out to work.

    The female solicitor who interviewed me at the CSA said my ex-husband probably didn’t know he was depriving our son of support.

    So I asked her what she thought was the likelihood of a woman with an IQ of 150 having been married to someone that dense.

  16. I busted Centrelink fabricating evidence & hiding evidence from the DPP & The Federal Courts.
    I posted a website in the USA located at http://www.centreflunk.com :: Hiding Your Options.
    Centrelink have been trying for over 2 years to close it, however, this is what they told The Privacy Commission after I complained to them about data from other websites found in my file –

    ” I wrote to Centrelink seeking further information on its alleged collection of information published on your website; http://www.centreflunk.com.
    In its response to this Office, Centrelink have advised the following:

    It has collected your website information for inclusion in your Centrelink file.
    Centrelink became aware of your website and the information published therein, through your reference to it in your interactions with Centrelink staff.
    Centrelink has statutory obligations under section 8 of the Social Security (Administration) Act 1999 to deliver services “under the law in a fair, courteous, prompt and cost-efficient manner”.
    The collection of your information from the above-mentioned website is for the purpose of managing its delivery of services to you.
    The information is necessary for the management of this ongoing relationship with you, as it gives a sense of what issues you have raised with Centrelink, and your past interactions with its staff.
    It is Centrelink’s intention to retain this information on your Centrelink file.

    I intend to decline to investigate this matter under section 41 (1)(a) of the Act on the grounds that there does not appear to have been an interference with your privacy in this instance. ”

    So there you have it, Centrelink are watching this site & any other site they can find (Hi to all @ media@centrelink.gov.au) where people criticise them, downloading data & placing into clients files, on the grounds of “managing their delivery of services”.

    Centreflunk Forum :: Discussing Your Options

  17. Centreflunk:

    Yes, it’s reaching a point where we cannot trust any person or government organisation to do the right thing.

  18. I left my job 2 months ago due to poor wages and NO chance of a “raise” ever – was getting 400$ a week as a Juinor Cinema Technition but was Designing, Building, installing and servicing Very Very High End Computer Systems for over 30 cinemas to screen the movies you see today, in addition i had to purchace a new laptop to do my job. so natually as at least half of my WPA was being “neglected” by management i left. They paied me the 4-6 weeks they owed me. and that was that I thoght. so i applied for Newstart so With my New experiance and stacks of IT certificates to my name i thought it would be an easy task.

    After paying many bills with the money i got though my (own) redundency i applied for newstart with no money left and only the goverment for help.
    I was rejected twice for no good reason.
    i was told that leaving work due to WPA’s not beeing met by enployer is NOT GOOD ENOUGH.
    so now after endless meetings with centerlink I now have Newstart. BUT..
    I will not start to recive it untill the 1st week in september which is 6 weeks away.
    I have lived for the last 2 months on selling all my posessions (Bar my laptop).
    so i have 6 weeks thats 600$ rent, and god knows how many other bills to pay with nohthing. I asked centerlink what i sould do with this (4 Months) of no payment. they said the 2 grand i got from my employer should cover it. which i used 1 and a half months ago to pay back rent with.
    So my question is this. Im 33 soon to be homeless. WHAT DO I DO?>
    Do i turn to Crime ( an idea ive been seriosly thinking about)

    so if this seems a bit hard to understand I havent eaten for 3 days . im sorry.
    and so should centerlink when i *go*

  19. Adrian Gregg:

    Here are some suggestions:

    Ask Centrelink to apply hardship provisions to your case. Take an older adult with you and go back immediately, with your request for hardship provisions in writing. Set out what you have told us here. Keep a copy.

    Contact your Federal MP and see what he can do. Don’t wait for a decision from Centrelink before doing this. Phone first, and also send (or preferably hand) him a copy of the letter you personally handed to Centrelink staff.

    If your politician won’t help you, give him a serve through the local papers.

    Be aware that you can ask for a review of all Centrelink decisions. If you are still dissatisfied, you can appeal their decision through the Social Security Appeals Tribunal.

    At the next election, make sure you put all of the Liberal and National Party candidates at the BOTTOM of the voting order for both the Senate and House of Representatives, since THEIR legislation has done this to you.

    Centrelink can send you to an aid agency with a food voucher, I think. Ask for one anyway. It might help your case.

    I once saw an aboriginal woman get a voucher for some milk for her baby, who was clearly starving.

    In any event, try The Salvation Army, Lifeline or the local church. Someone is sure to help out with food.

    Good luck with it. Please let us know how you got on.

    Oh, and next time, try to find a new job before quitting the last. The unemployment rate is much higher than the government would have us believe.

  20. Thanks very much for your suggestions.
    I never knew most of em!!.
    AGAIN centerlink COULD have told me some of those services.
    Im going to appel for hardship. if that dosent work.
    I can’t take an older person in with me. Im 33 so it might look odd.
    and yes I really thought the job situation was a lot better than it was. OK i was unemployed for many years before landding this my 1st job at 30 years of age.
    mainly due to adult adhd which as of the last 4 years has been meicly treated and now im completly “normal”.
    so i know somthing of how centerlink works. but i really think 4 years ago they were a LOT LESS stringent.

  21. Adrian:

    I’d still take another person with me (any reasonably confident adult), who can also act as a witness to what is said – taking notes for example. Make sure you get the name of the interviewer whenever you visit Centrelink.

    Here are some other contacts if you or anyone else needs help with Workplace Agreements not being fulfilled on the employer’s side.

    Workplace Infoline: 1300 363 264
    Website: workplace.gov.au

    You may still have some comeback with your previous employer, but putting food on the table and paying rent are the current priorities.

    Last night, I was speaking with a 16-year-old boy who has just had his Health Care Card cancelled. He has high needs for expensive medication. His older sister, who is quite healthy, still has hers.

    John Howard is a pig towards the sick, disabled, women and children – also men parenting children alone.

  22. well heres my lastest “drama” with centreflunk, you get sent off by a rogue employer to lay a floor in a department store, neither you or the other person doing the work with you is a qualified floor layer or being supervised by someone who is, you refuse to do this and you risk getting kicked off the “drip feed” for 8 weeks. gotta love it huh. this other person is an “apprentice” who has not actually attended TAFE or filled out a training book in 2 years of being there, he has also done 18-20 shifts and night shifts without being paid the proper wage for it.
    they also recieve no supervision for about 3/4 of the time, another employee of this company has been there for 7 years doing the same thing for 7 years and guess what he has no trade papers to show for it, this is bad thats for sure.

  23. kk:

    Sorry to hear it. Have you tried nursing? I think you only need a TAFE Certificate III with on-the-job training to become an Assistant in Nursing.

    According to the Minister for Health, you can earn 7% more if you work as a nurse in a nursing home, but it’s a challenging job requiring plenty of patience.

    Other than that, we just have to try to fix Howard’s workplace abuses at the ballot box and get back to joining the unions – maybe show some solidarity within the workplace as well.

    If this country really had a shortage of workers, this kind of stuff wouldn’t be going on.

    I once made the mistake of suggesting that Chinese workers might receive about $1.00 an hour.

    The Chinese workers making the recently recalled Mattel toys (lead paint and loose magnets that could be swallowed) were receiving between 25 and 50 cents an hour to produce dangerous products.

    Hands up all of those who want to work a 60 hour week for $15.00, while poisoning other people’s toddlers!

  24. I am not happy to say this at all, but I am comforted knowing that other people out there in the community have fallen victim to the unempathetic, unfair and unjust dealings of Centrelink. I too am currently fighting them and the government over their ridiculous and unfair guidelines, which have left me with a nearly broken marriage, constant state of depression, angry and tired, and highly stressed wondering how I am going to put food on my familys table.

    After recently losing my job very suddenly and under extremely difficult and comprimising circumstances, I approached Centrelink for help. I have a wife and two young children and suddenly found myself out of work. At 43 because there is a need to obtain a certain level of income to provide fr your family, I knew I needed get back into work immediately. I thought in the meantime Centrelink might be able to help with Income support. How wrong I was.

    Because my wife is working part time and her income apparently exceeds the threshold(mind you it only pays the mortgage and some food, and maybe an electricity bill every now and then), Centrelink would only grant me $14 a fortnight as income support. This was an insult and a kick in the guts to us. On this amount, I am supposed to pay for fares and travel to look for work, provide food for my family, and live. I dont think so.

    I am still fighting this decision, it has now been 9 weeks since I lost my job, and the debts are piling up by the day. Apart from committing suicide, there is rarely any other way out when you think about.

    Anyway, I decided to write to my local member who has told me that all they can do is write to the minister on my behalf.

    The problem for out situation is this. We dont fall into a need help category as far as the government is concerned. And that is where the welfare system has fallen down. It is does not cater for short term genuine cases that need assistance, it only caters for minority groups.

  25. David:

    Sorry to hear your sad story. John Howard doesn’t give a stuff about anyone unless they are wealthy.

    Have you asked Centrelink to apply the Hardship Provisions to your case?

    See if you can get some help with food and counselling from Lifeline, Salvation Army, St Vincent de Paul or similar aid agencies.

    Do you have relatives who might help you out temporarily?

    Can your wife increase HER hours of work until the situation improves?

    You didn’t tell us what employment category you belong to. Perhaps someone reading here could help you out with a job. I hope they can.

    Having a chat with “A Current Affair” couldn’t make things any worse, could it?

    A bit of bad PR for John Howard would be welcomed by a lot of people contributing here.

  26. this is just another demonstration of how cold hearted this government has become, theres no humanity there at all.
    Ironically if you seperate from your partner then centrelink will pay you the full amount! you are damned if you do, damned if you dont.
    as i say im 26 and despite a reasonable employment history I aint got no hope of getting any thing full time or permanent.
    even so called adult apprenticeships i would be willing to work for the meagre wage they offer just to be able to get a foothold back in the job market but guess what its not going to happen either, it’s pitiful when you actually are willing to give something like this a go but despite all your best efforts and supposed wage subsidies you are 9 times out of ten unemployable………..well i guess you can be “retired” at 26 in this country can’t you…sad really

  27. kk:

    This sounds like sex discrimination again. I’m guessing you are female.

    You should try dealing with the Child Support Agency. They’re only interested in well-to-do men and their new working wives who have no children – not women and children living in poverty.

    If you submit an application for review of your child support, your ex-partner receives every detail of your financial circumstances, while you don’t receive a single document.


    Is there any chance you could send me a copy of the latest “A Guide to Australian Government Payments”?

    Centrelink doesn’t send me anything. When my payment changes, I don’t even get a letter. If I go in there, the information brochures I need have sometimes run out.

  28. Thanks, togret. I’ve already looked there, but could not find some of the information I needed to know.

    I prefer using guides that I can pick up and use any time. It’s much quicker and easier.


    I am half way through my degree, and centrelink policies have changed so that I now have to report to centrelink every fortnight to hand in ‘activity agreement’ forms to say that I am still studying.

    My friends at uni who are not on parenting payments do not have to do this. I have asked at the centrelink counter as to why this is, but recieve no logical explanation.

    I feel that I am being discriminated against as I am a single mother. There appears to be an assumption that as a single mother, my moral decency is questionable, and I need to be surveilanced constantly so that I dont cheat the system.

    I dont have the time or the petrol money to go to centrelink every fortnight to do this! But more than that, I feel offended that I have to prove myself to centrelink more than other students just because I am a single mother.

  30. That’s right, Jemma.

    You could take it up with your Federal MP.

    Centrelink could simply check with the university on a regular basis (say 4 times a year) to see if you are still enrolled there and attending lectures.

    You could also lodge an official objection with the Centrelink Manager (also State and Federal Managers) stating your reasons, with an emphasis on discriminatory practices which cost you time, money and energy at the expense of your children.

    I am a disabled sole parent. Because I am now paid a Disability Support Pension instead of Parenting Payment (Single), I have suffered discrimination at the hands of the Taxation Department as well.

    I am required to pay tax at a lower income threshold than a fully able-bodied sole parent, even though my pension is supposed to be non-taxable.

    So what did I do? First I had to go to the trouble of filling out an Income Tax Return. Then I sent a letter in with it, objecting to this discriminatory situation and requesting a PRIVATE RULING.

    Yesterday I received my Notice of Assessment. It appears I have been granted a LOW INCOME TAX OFFSET, which has reduced the amount of tax payable to NIL.

    Next on my hit list is the Child Support Agency, which is refusing to collect arrears dating back 18 months. They have a discretionary power which they have decided not to exercise.

    I was supposed to receive a response to my objection by 1 December. It arrived in the mail today, with my objection rejected. It states that the father is happy with their decision, and the taxpayer can pick up the tab.

    The paying parent (usually a man) can hide all of his financial details while the applicant has to supply every last detail of her financial affairs for HIM to peruse and comment upon. NOTHING comes back the other way.

    Another thing, Jemma. Never describe yourself as a single mother. You’re either a “divorced parent” or “unattached parent”, with the power and responsibility of 2 people!

  31. I have more thoroughly scrutinised the CSA’s decision and read their leaflet in relation to an appeal to the SSAT.

    Apparently they have to lay all of their cards on the table (i.e. respondent’s documents) at that level – not before.

    In effect, my ex-husband has had 2 CSA solicitors working for him at the taxpayers’ expense, hiding his documents and applying new legislation retrospectively by 9 years.

    They have very clearly sided with him, and believed everything he has said – despite the fact he has had a fully self-supporting wife without any children for 7 years, and has been working 3 jobs himself.

    The income from 3 jobs, of course, has sent him BACKWARDS. (His principal job alone is a very tidy income.) His wife’s income is not relevant. He has still not paid off the tiny mortgage on his home. His word alone is the “gospel truth”.

    Bring on the harps and violins!

    By contrast, my son and I have spent the last 11 years living close to the breadline. They say I clearly need all of the support I can get, but then I don’t get it!

    Because they are exercising Information Control, I cannot tell whether or not it is worth taking it to appeal.

    Thanks, John Howard, your legacy is wonderful.

  32. Today I went to a Group Session at a Family Dispute Resolution Centre.

    It seems to me that the Family Court might use this organisation to bully women into entering into 50/50 parenting agreements with men who are both selfish and irresponsible.

    I watched the video and listened to the spiel. I’ve never heard such airy-fairy nonsense.

    I think the main aim is to get all of the women out to work and give men an easy ride financially, while the children become nomads without any kind of stable home environment.

  33. That’s a good question, Ken.

    My 15-year-old son shot through to live with his father nearly 3 months ago, because he couldn’t get his own way. Other teenagers had told him what THEY had done.

    There was some skulduggery occurring involving the grandfather, right after I applied to the CSA for a reassessment of my child support, which had not increased for 3 years, despite his extra jobs.

    I think my ex-husband’s new wife might be extremely financially irresponsible. I don’t know. When he lived with me he was strong, healthy and successful. Now he looks 10 years older than I do.

    Even his own relatives say he is overcompetitive. He was a GPS athletics champion at 15 and an Australian judo champion at 16. He is used to winning.

    When the marriage broke up, he endangered our little boy to the point where I had to stop him from seeing him.

    Then right before he remarried, he kicked a drug addict out of his house and lied about everything to the Family Court. Luckily, our two adult sons produced affidavits that said he was also lying about them.

    At that time, he was also investigating a move interstate.

    What can I say? The guy is a chameleon. His set of values appears to change depending on who is influencing him.

    BTW the new wife cannot have any children for genetic reasons. I suppose he must want to empower himself and HER, but his chances of getting a Parenting Order for a 15 year old are approximately nil.

    Under the law, I am the residential parent. The child is biologically mine but not his (sperm donor father).

    What do YOU think, Ken?

  34. I went on to a Disability Support Pension after being diagnosed with Hear Failure in 1994. As a family man with a young child, I still had a desire to work to give my family a reasonable standard of living, so in 1996 applied to Centrelink for a part-time position in a call centre.I obtained the position, receiving part DSP, part wages. My health deteriorated during the three years I was there and eventually I applied to be retired on health grounds. Centrelink sent me to Health Services Australia to be medically examined (remember, this is the same organisation that said I medically qualified for a DSP) I was examined, and despite having a blood pressure reading of 180/120 on multiple medications,and supporting evidence from my cardiologist, the classified me as fit for duties (remember, I’m still on the DSP) Centrelink then stated that if I didn’t pull my socks up and improve my work standards (despite headaches, visual disturbances, shortness of breath, fluid retention,abnormal heartbeats and depression) I would be faced with two alternatives. Either resign with two weeks notice or accept resignation as an Inefficient Worker. I accepted Inefficiency as it offered 8 weeks pay in leiu of notice and it was the path they were pushing me down.
    Some time later I attempted to take legal action against Centrelink for Disability Discrimination, and within two weeks of initiating that action, I was informed I was being investigated for “failing to adequately declare my income to Centrelink whilst working for Centrelink” Thet raised adebt of $5,700 against me which I defeated following the appeals process. I had no money to go to Federal Court and was forced to withdraw my case for fear of losing on a technicality which would mean I would have to pay their legal costs to date which were a staggering $130,000. Centrelink bullied me, shifted the playing field, lied, committed fraud and committed slander in their attempt to grind me down. It is not over yet. I need legal help

  35. I feel very sorry for you, FatBoy. I hope someone comes forward to help you financially.

    Is Health Services Australia the same organisation that has the Commonwealth Medical Officer (CMO) i.e. Health Department?

    Was the person who examined you there a cardiologist or thoracic specialist?

    Are you in a union?

    Did Centrelink actually FIRE you as an inefficient worker?

    Did you contribute to the Commonwealth Superannuation Scheme? Were there exclusions relating to your heart problems?

    Have you ever applied for workers’ compensation in relation to your heart problems or depression etc?

    If you can answer these questions, someone reading here may come up with a solution or suggestion.

    Someone in Canberra told me that Centrelink treats its staff so badly, they are constantly having to advertise jobs.

    The government may discriminate against women and children, but discrimination against the disabled across many government departments and agencies is clearly the worst.

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