internet by L2yRJ06U

VIEWS: 6 PAGES: 53

									Centrelink - the basics
A guide to your options and our services
July 2011

Help in other languages
If you need an interpreter or translation of documents for Centrelink business, we can arrange this for
you free of charge.

To speak to Centrelink in languages other than English, call 13 1202 or visit a Centrelink Customer Service
Centre and ask for an interpreter. For information in languages other than English visit
www.centrelink.gov.au and select ‘We speak your language’.

Centrelink information in other formats
Some Centrelink information is available in alternative formats. These formats include audio CD/DVD,
large print, Braille and E-text. You can also select the ‘listen to this page’ icon to hear the contents of
selected web pages from our website. We can also arrange to provide information products in other
formats upon request.

If you are interested in this service call 13 2717 or ask at a Centrelink Customer Service Centre.

Sign language interpreters
An Auslan Interpreter can be arranged if you need to attend an appointment with us. If you have a TTY
phone, call Freecall™ 1800 810 586 to request an interpreter, or ask at a Centrelink Customer Service
Centre before your appointment.

TTY Service
If you are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment, you can contact us through our TTY service on
Freecall™ 1800 810 586. To provide compliments, suggestions or complaints, please call our TTY
Customer Relations Line on Freecall™ 1800 000 567. A TTY phone is required to use this service.

National Relay Service
If you are deaf or have a speech or hearing impairment, you can also contact us through the National Relay
Service. Call 13 3677 and request any of our ‘13’ or ‘1800’ numbers at the back of this booklet. For more
information visit www.relayservice.com.au

Centrelink claim forms and information products
Visit www.centrelink.gov.au for downloadable and printable claim forms and information products.

Contents
Introduction 5

About this booklet     5

Participation options with Centrelink         5
Activity Test and participation requirements 5

Employment Pathway Plan       6

Requirements for principal carers of dependent children     6

Activity Test and participation requirements—exemptions 6

Mature Age requirements (if you are 55 years of age or over)     7

Helping you return to work, education or training   7

Income Management 12

Specialist services    13

Specialist staff 13

Services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people   14

Centrelink services in other languages       14

The Family Assistance Office         15

Medicare        15

What Medicare covers          16

Out-of-hospital services      16

In-hospital services   16

Medicare Safety Net 16

Medicare Teen Dental Plan     16

Extra assistance       17

Centrelink concession cards 17

Centrepay       19

Rent Deduction Scheme         19

Centrelink Confirmation eServices    19

Liquefied Petroleum Gas Vehicle Scheme       20

Mobility Allowance 20

Pension Supplement 21

Pensioner Education Supplement and ABSTUDY Pensioner Education Supplement   21

Pharmaceutical Allowance      22

Remote Area Allowance         22

Rent Assistance        22
Seniors Supplement 23

Telephone Allowance 23

Utilities Allowance    23

Urgent, Advance and Weekly Payments        24

Making a claim         25

About Centrelink payments 25

Intent to Claim        25

Proof of identity      26

Residence requirements        26

International social security agreements   27

Comparable foreign payment rules     27

Definition of a partner 27

Asset Hardship Provisions     28

Changes in your life can affect your payment      28

Waiting periods and preclusion periods     30

Assurance of Support 30

Paying tax     31

Changes to payment rates      31

Keeping your payments in balance     31

Your rights and responsibilities     32

Dealing with third parties    32

Getting someone to deal with Centrelink for you   32

Person Permitted to Enquire 32

Nominee arrangements          32

Our service commitments       32

How to provide feedback       33

The Commonwealth Ombudsman           33

Reviews and appeals 33

Contact Centrelink     33

Social Security Appeals Tribunal     34
Administrative Appeals Tribunal      34

Court Appeals 35

Reviews of ABSTUDY and Assistance for Isolated Children decisions          35

Reviews of Rural Payments 35

Legal Assistance      35

Keeping your personal information private 36

Disclosure     36

Freedom of Information        36

The Data-Matching Program 37

How to contact us     37

Centrelink self service38

Medicare Australia Online Services 39

Introduction
Centrelink is an Australian Government agency within the Human Services portfolio. We deliver
payments and services for a number of government departments including: the Department of Education,
Employment and Workplace Relations; the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and
Indigenous Affairs and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

Our purpose is to assist people to become more self-sufficient and improve the opportunities of people who
are of working age to find a job, while supporting those in need. We also support those who require special
assistance during different life stages such as planning for retirement, experiencing illness or a crisis.

We advise customers about relevant payment and service options, including referrals to employment
services providers. These services can assist you to improve your chances of getting a job, accessing study,
training, English language tuition and work experience placements, build your skills and confidence for
work, undertake community work and ultimately, help you to become financially independent. We can also
refer you to our specialist staff and other departments and agencies.

About this booklet
This booklet outlines basic information, key requirements and services available to customers. It includes
details about:

• payments, services and opportunities

• how to claim payments and use our services

• your rights and responsibilities, and

• how to find out more.

This information should be read in conjunction with the customer booklet/s relevant to your personal
circumstances.
These booklets are available by visiting
www.centrelink.gov.au calling the relevant ‘13’ or ‘1800’ number or asking at a Centrelink Customer
Service Centre. To see the full range of these booklets turn to the back cover.

Participation options with Centrelink
Activity Test and participation requirements
Some payments including Newstart Allowance, Youth Allowance, Parenting Payment and Special Benefit
have Activity Test or participation requirements you must satisfy to show you are actively looking for work.
This may include:

• demonstrating that you are actively looking for suitable paid work

• accepting all suitable work offers (not just work you prefer to do)

• attending all job interviews

• attending all interviews with Centrelink and your employment services provider

• agreeing to attend approved training courses or programs

• never leaving a job, training course or program without a valid reason, and

• entering into and complying with the terms of an Employment Pathway Plan when asked to do so.

It is important for you to contact Centrelink or your employment services provider if you are unable to
attend an appointment or activity they have arranged for you before the appointment or activity is due to
occur.

If you receive Newstart Allowance or Youth Allowance and you are thinking of changing address you
should talk to us before you move. If moving reduces your prospects of getting work, your payment may be
stopped.

If you are a job seeker and receive a Centrelink payment you must meet your Activity Test or participation
requirements to get your payment. If you do not meet your requirements and you do not contact Centrelink or
your provider to advise if you will be unable to attend an appointment or activity before the appointment or
activity is due to occur, you may receive a failure, and you may lose some or all of your payment even if you had
a good reason for not being able to attend. You will not be entitled to back pay for the time you missed. You may
lose your payment for up to eight weeks if you persistently avoid your obligations.

If you are assessed as having a partial capacity to work or a principal carer you will have part-time Activity
Test or participation requirements.

If you are assessed as having a partial capacity to work or a temporary reduced capacity to work for 12
weeks or longer, you may be able to satisfy your Activity Test or participation requirements by attending a
quarterly appointment with Centrelink. This will depend upon your assessed level of work capacity.

For information visit www.centrelink.gov.au call 13 2850 or ask at a Centrelink Customer Service Centre.

Employment Pathway Plan
An Employment Pathway Plan (EPP) sets out the activities negotiated with your employment services
provider or Centrelink to help you to get a job, develop your skills, or improve your employment prospects.
It also sets out the assistance you will be offered. The EPP is a legal document and starts from the date you
sign it. You may not be paid income support if you refuse to enter into an EPP when asked to do so.

For more information visit www.centrelink.gov.au call 13 2850 or ask at a Centrelink Customer Service
Centre.

Requirements for principal carers of dependent children
If you are a principal carer receiving Parenting Payment or Special Benefit you will be required to enter into
an Employment Pathway Plan once your youngest child turns six years of age.*

If you are a principal carer receiving Newstart Allowance or Youth Allowance you will have to enter into an
Employment Pathway Plan from the time you claim payment, unless you are granted an exemption from the
Activity Test.

Under the Employment Pathway Plan you will need to be working, looking for at least 15 hours of suitable
work per week or be engaged in another activity which has been approved by us or by your employment
services provider.

*For some people this applies when their youngest child turns seven years of age.

You can meet your Activity Test or participation requirements as a principal carer by doing at least 15 hours
per week (or 30 hours per fortnight) of:

• suitable paid part-time work (including self employment)

• study or training

• voluntary work (in some circumstances), or

• a combination of these activities.

There are special provisions for principal carers who are unable to satisfy their Activity Test or participation
requirements during school holiday periods, and at other times when an employer may temporarily close
down their business, or reduce the hours of work available.

For more information on Activity Test and participation requirements for principal carers and other parents,
see the Flexible arrangements for parents and principal carers brochure. This is available by visiting
www.centrelink.gov.au call 13 2850 or ask at a Centrelink Customer Service Centre.

Activity Test and participation requirements—exemptions
In special circumstances (such as if you are ill or injured or have a personal crisis) you may be able to get a
short-term exemption from the Activity Test or participation requirements. If your family situation meets
certain special circumstances you may be exempt for longer periods.

Activity Test and participation requirements for principal carers take into consideration a greater range of
special circumstances under which a person receiving Newstart Allowance, Youth Allowance, Parenting
Payment or Special Benefit would not be expected to satisfy their normal requirements. Exemptions may be
granted under the following examples of special family circumstances for principal carers:

• registered and active foster carers, including emergency and respite foster carers

• facilitating home schooling of dependent children

• facilitating distance education of dependent children
• having a large family (four or more dependent children)

• caring for a child as a relative (but not the parent) in accordance with a family law order or formal
  state/territory protection case plan

• experiencing domestic violence or significant stress as a result of a relationship breakdown.

Refugee and humanitarian program entrant customers who have recently arrived in Australia may be granted
an Activity Test exemption for up to 13 weeks from their date of arrival.

Other Newstart, Youth Allowance, Parenting Payment or Special Benefit recipients may be eligible for an
exemption from Activity Test or participation requirements. This will be discussed with you if necessary.

Mature Age requirements (if you are 55 years of age or over)
If you are receiving Newstart Allowance, Special Benefit or Parenting Payment and are 55 years of age or
over, you may meet your Activity Test or participation requirements by undertaking 30 hours per fortnight
of approved voluntary work, suitable paid work or self employment or a combination of these activities.

You will need to be connected to an employment services provider, such as Job Services Australia or
Disability Employment Services and accept any referrals to suitable work.

Helping you return to work, education or training
There is a range of options to help you find full-time or part-time work, to access education and training, to
assist you while you are undertaking a full-time Australian Apprenticeship or to assist you when entering the
workforce.

Type of                       How it can assist you
support/organisation
Austudy                       Provides financial assistance for people 25 years of age or over and studying
                              full-time, or undertaking a full-time Australian apprenticeship. For more
                              information visit www.centrelink.gov.au or call 13 2490.
ABSTUDY                       Assists with your study and living costs if you are an Indigenous secondary or
                              tertiary student or undertaking a full-time Australian Apprenticeship. Some
                              Indigenous primary students may also be assisted. For more information visit
                              www.centrelink.gov.au or call 13 2317.
Adult Migrant English         Assists you with English tuition if you are an adult migrant. For more
Program                       information visit www.immi.gov.au or call the Department of Immigration
                              and Citizenship on 13 1881.
Australian Education          Provides information and services to help people have their overseas
International- National       qualifications recognised in Australia. For more information visit
Office of Overseas Skills     www.aei.gov.au
Recognition
Assessment Subsidy for        Assists you with the costs of qualifications recognition if you are a financially
Overseas Trained              disadvantaged, overseas-trained professional and need to successfully
Professionals                 complete assessments and examinations to qualify for employment in
                              professions that are self regulated or regulated by law in Australia. Funding is
                              provided for clinical examinations, knowledge tests and assessment of English
                              language skills. For more information visit
                           www.aei.gov.au/AEI/QualificationsRecognition/Information/Asdot or call
                           1300 363 079.
Assistance for Isolated    Assists if your family has a primary or secondary school student who cannot
Children                   go to an appropriate state school on a daily basis because of geographical
                           isolation or they have a disability or special health need. It also helps some
                           isolated families with tertiary students who would otherwise attend
                           secondary school. For more information visit www.centrelink.gov.au or
                           call 13 2318.
Australian                 Assists you with pre-vocational training and support to obtain and maintain
Apprenticeships Access     an Australian Apprenticeship, or enter employment, further education or
Program                    training. For more information visit
                           www.deewr.gov.au/Skills/Programs/PreVoc/AAAP/Pages/default.aspx
                           or call 13 3873.
Australian                 Assists you to combine practical work and training, leading
Apprenticeships            to a nationally recognised qualification. For more information visit
                           www.australianapprenticeships.gov.au or call 13 3873.
Australian Disability      Assists you if you have a disability or high support needs and find it difficult
Enterprises                to find and keep a job or wish to work in a supported environment. For more
                           information visit www.centrelink.gov.au or call 13 2717.
Australian JobSearch       Provides a range of online services if you are a job seeker or employer. For
                           more information visit www.jobsearch.gov.au or call the Job Seeker Hotline
                           on 13 6268.
Career Information         Provides you with free information on career, training, education and
Centres                    employment options. For more information visit www.centrelink.gov.au or
                           call 13 2850.
Child Support Agency       Provides support and assistance to both parents, including calculating,
                           collecting and transferring child support. Provides products, services and
                           referrals to help parents with other aspects of separation. For more information
                           visit www.csa.gov.au or call the Child Support Agency on 13 1272.
Community Development Provides work readiness services and community development projects,
Employment Program    primarily in remote areas, which develop Indigenous job seekers’ skills,
(CDEP)                improve their employability and assist them to move into employment.
                      CDEP is only available in remote locations. For more information visit
                      www.fahcsia.gov.au/Indigenous
Crisis Payment             Crisis Payment may help if you are in severe financial hardship and have been
                           forced to leave your home and establish a new home due to extreme
                           circumstance such as domestic violence, flooding or house fire; you need to re-
                           establish yourself in the community after having been in prison or psychiatric
                           confinement or you have arrived in Australia for the first time on a qualifying
                           humanitarian visa. Customers who remain in their home after being subjected
                           to domestic violence may be eligible for Crisis Payment as long as the
                           offending family member has left or has been removed from the home.
Disability Employment      Services providing specialised employment assistance for people with a
Services                   disability, injury or health condition. For more information visit
                           www.centrelink.gov.au or call 13 2717.
Drought Force              Assists rural communities with their workforce needs, retaining and
                          building local skills during drought. For more information visit
                          www.deewr.gov.au or call Freecall™ 1800 004 226.
Education Entry           Assists you with the up-front costs of studying if you have been on a
Payment                   qualifying payment for 12 months or more. For more information
                          visit www.centrelink.gov.au or call 13 2490.
Exceptional               Exceptional Circumstances Relief Payment helps eligible farmers and
Circumstances Relief      small businesses living in drought declared areas meet their everyday
Payment                   living expenses. For more information visit www.centrelink.gov.au or
                          call 13 2316.
Green Corps activities    Provides job seekers with the opportunity to contribute their time and effort to
                          conserve, preserve and restore Australia’s natural environment and cultural
                          heritage. For more information visit www.greencorps.gov.au
Income Bank               Allows you to build up credits while you are not working if you are a
                          student or Australian Apprentice and receive Youth Allowance, Austudy
                          or ABSTUDY. This credit can then be used to offset any future income.
                          For more information visit www.centrelink.gov.au or call 13 2490.
Indigenous Wage           Assists you if you are an employer who employs eligible Indigenous job
Subsidy                   seekers who are registered as unemployed with us and identify as Aboriginal
                          and/or Torres Strait Islander. For more information visit www.deewr.gov.au
                          or call Freecall™ 1802 102.
JobAccess                 Provides information and advice to you if you are a job seeker or employee
                          with a disability, or you employ someone with a disability. JobAccess helps
                          you navigate the range of services available to help you find and maintain
                          employment. It can also provide practical help with workplace modifications
                          and adjustments and Auslan interpreting if required. For more information
                          visit www.jobaccess.gov.au or call Freecall™ 1800 464 800.
Jobjuice                  Provides a link to various career related resources for young people. For more
                          information visit www.jobjuice.gov.au
Jobwise                   Promotes mature age employment and is targeted at employers,
                          mature age job seekers and mature age workers. It contains
                          information, practical advice and links to other useful sites and
                          resources. For more information visit www.deewr.gov.au/jobwise
Employment Services       Assesses your ability to work and take part in other activities. This assessment
Assessment                will help us to make sure you are receiving the most appropriate income
                          support payment. The Employment Services Assessment Provider will also
                          identify suitable services to help you overcome any barriers or problems that
                          may be preventing you from finding or keeping a job, and may directly refer
                          you to the most appropriate employment or support service. For more
                          information visit www.deewr.gov.au or call 13 2717.
JobSearch facilities      Provides you with facilities to find and pursue employment vacancies. For
                          more information visit www.centrelink.gov.au or call 13 2850.
Jobs, Education and       Assists you with the cost of approved child care if you are an eligible parent
Training Child Care fee   undertaking job search, work, study or rehabilitation activities as part of an
assistance                Employment Pathway Plan. For more information visit
                          www.familyassist.gov.au or call the Family Assistance Office on 13 6150.
Job Services Australia     A national network of employment services providers contracted by the
                           Australian Government who can deliver training, work experience and other
                           interventions to help you obtain suitable and sustainable employment. For
                           more information visit www.deewr.gov.au
Language, Literacy and     Assists you with English speaking, reading and writing or basic math
Numeracy Program           skills so you can gain employment or access further education and
                           training. Under this program, you may be eligible for a fortnightly
                           supplement. For more information visit www.deewr.gov.au or call 13
                           2850.
National Green Jobs        Provides you with a combination of work experience, skill development and
Corps Program              accredited training. Eligible participants may receive a fortnightly supplement.
                           For more information visit www.deewr.gov.au or call 13 2850.
National Green Jobs        Assists activity tested customers participating in National Green Jobs Corps and
Corps Supplement           receiving Newstart Allowance and Youth Allowance (job seeker) or all
                           Parenting Payment customers.
National Indigenous        Provides you with a link to employers in a cadetship arrangement involving
Cadetship Program          full-time study and employer-paid work placements if you are an Indigenous
                           tertiary student. For more information visit www.deewr.gov.au or call the
                           Indigenous Employment Line on 1802 102.
New Enterprise Incentive   Provides you with services and nationally recognised training if you want to
Scheme                     start your own business. For more information visit www.deewr.gov.au or call
                           13 6268.
Pensioner Education        Helps customers receiving certain Centrelink or Department of Veterans’
Supplement and             Affairs payments with the costs of undertaking approved full-time or part-
ABSTUDY Pensioner          time study. These Pensioner Education Supplements are not income or
Education Supplement       asset tested and are non-taxable. For more information about Pensioner
                           Education Supplement visit www.centrelink.gov.au or call 13 2490 and
                           for more information about ABSTUDY Pensioner Education Supplement
                           call 13 2317.
RapidConnect               Provides you early access to Job Services Australia and employment
                           opportunities if you are a job seeker. If you are claiming Newstart Allowance
                           or Youth Allowance (job seeker), you are referred directly to a Job Services
                           Australia provider before your income support claim is finalised. For more
                           information visit www.deewr.gov.au or call 13 2850.
Reconnect                  Assists you to reconcile with your family if you are 12 to 18 years of
                           age and homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. For more
                           information visit www.centrelink.gov.au or call 13 1794.
Supported Wage System      Assists customers who have difficulty finding or keeping a job at full
                           wage rates due to the effect of disability on their workplace
                           productivity. It allows employers to match a person’s productivity
                           with a fair wage. For more information visit www.deewr.gov.au
Special Employment         Assists you to pay for things you must have when starting a job. It may also
Advance                    assist you if you are working and have not yet been paid. This money has to be
                           repaid. For more information visit www.centrelink.gov.au or call 13 2850.
Voluntary Work             Provides job seekers with the opportunity to gain skills and experience by
                         assisting in not-for-profit community organisations. For more
                         information visit www.workplace.gov.au or call 13 6268.
Work Bonus for           Assists if you are a pensioner over age pension age, to keep more of your
pensioners over age      pension when you earn income from employment. For more information
pension age              visit www.centrelink.gov.au or call 13 2300.
Work for the Dole        Provides job seekers with the opportunity to gain skills and
activities               experience in activities that benefit local communities. For more
                         information visit www.deewr.gov.au or call 13 6268.
Working Credit           Assists you to keep more of your Centrelink payments when you
                         start a job and start to receive employment income. For more
                         information visit www.centrelink.gov.au or call 13 2850.
Youth Allowance          Provides assistance for young people who are studying full-time, undertaking a
                         full-time apprenticeship or training and/or looking for work. It may also
                         provide assistance for young people who are ill or temporarily incapacitated.
                         For more information visit www.centrelink.gov.au or call 13 2490.
Youth Connections        Assist eligible young people who may not achieve Year 12 or equivalent and
                         have barriers that limit opportunities to participate in education, training or
                         employment. For more information visit www.deewr.gov.au or call 13 2490.
Australian               Assists eligible job seekers to obtain and retain an Australian Apprenticeship,
Apprenticeships Access   employment, or further education and training. For more information visit
Program                  http://www.deewr.gov.au/accessprogram or call 13 2850
Language, Literacy and   Provide English language, literacy and numeracy training for eligible job
Numeracy Program         seekers whose skills are below the level considered necessary to secure
                         sustainable employment or pursue further education or training. For more
                         information visit
                         http://www.deewr.gov.au/Skills/Programs/LitandNum/LLNP or call 13
                         2850
Fares Allowance          Fares Allowance is available for tertiary students receiving Youth Allowance,
                         Austudy, ABSTUDY and Pensioner Education Supplement who live away
                         from their home to study. It may help with the cost of travel from your home
                         to your educational institution to start your course, and from your educational
                         institution to your home when you finish or discontinue studies for the year.
                         You may also be entitled to Fares Allowance for one return trip between your
                         educational institution and your home during the study year. External students
                         may be eligible for Fares Allowance for one return trip during the study year if
                         they have to attend a compulsory residential component of their course.
                         Secondary students eligible for ABSTUDY who need to study away from
                         home may also be eligible for Fares Allowance.
Student Start-Up         This is available to full-time students who are undertaking qualifying studies at
Scholarship              a higher education institution. This includes universities and other non-
                         university higher education providers. Both dependent and independent
                         students can receive the Student Start-Up Scholarship. Fares Allowance may
                         also help tertiary and secondary students eligible for ABSTUDY who live
                         away from home to study.
Relocation Scholarship   This is available to dependent Youth Allowance and ABSTUDY students who
                         are undertaking full-time qualifying studies at a higher education institution
                             and who need to live away from home to study. It is also available to some
                             independent students who are disadvantaged by their personal circumstances.

Income Management
Income Management is a way to help you manage your money. It means that part of your Centrelink
payments will be set aside by Centrelink to help you pay for things you and your family need. It applies only
in selected locations.

Income Management will not reduce the total amount of your payments from Centrelink. It will only change
the way you receive your payments. The rest of your regular fortnightly payments will be paid to you in the
usual way.

Your income managed money can be used for priority items such as food, rent, utilities and clothing.

You can spend your income managed money by using the BasicsCard, or through direct payments to
organisations such as stores, landlords or utility providers.
Income Management will apply to you if you live in a selected location and you:

• are aged 15 to 24 and have been receiving one of the following payments for three of the last six months:

  – Youth Allowance

  – Newstart Allowance

  – Special Benefit

  – Parenting Payment Partnered or Parenting Payment Single

• are aged 25 and above and have been receiving one of the following payments for more than one of the
  last two years:

  – Youth Allowance

  – Newstart Allowance

  – Special Benefit

  – Parenting Payment Partnered or Parenting Payment Single

• have been referred for Income Management by a Centrelink Social Worker

• have been referred for Income Management by child protection authorities, or

• have been referred for Income Management by the Family Responsibilities Commission.

In some cases you may be able to get an exemption from Income Management.

For more information about Income Management visit www.centrelink.gov.au or call the Income
Management Line on 13 2594.

Voluntary Income Management

If you are not subject to a compulsory measure of Income Management, are on a relevant Centrelink
payment and live in a selected location, you can choose to participate in Voluntary Income Management.
This means that Centrelink can help manage your payments.
You will need to talk to Centrelink to see if your payments can be income managed. Once you sign up you
will have to stay on it for at least 13 weeks. After that you can stop whenever you like.

For more information about Voluntary Income Management visit www.centrelink.gov.au or call the
Income Management Line on 13 2594.

Specialist services
Specialist staff
We have specialist staff to assist you in difficult times. The list below shows the areas where we can help
you.

Specialist adviser or         How they can assist you
service
Centrelink Access Points      Provides free self-help facilities in rural and remote community locations so
                              you can conduct business with us. Access Points can also certify that they
                              have copied original proof of identity documents to support your Centrelink
                              claim. For more information visit www.centrelink.gov.au or call 13 2316.
Centrelink Agents             Provides a free, face-to-face information service, as well as a computer with
                              internet access and printer for you to conduct Centrelink related business.
                              Agents are not Centrelink staff but can provide assistance and guidance in the
                              use of self service, accept claim forms and respond to general enquiries. For
                              more information visit www.centrelink.gov.au or call 13 2316.
Centrelink Community          Assists you if you are homeless or at risk to understand and use Centrelink and
Officers                      other community services. For more information visit www.centrelink.gov.au
                              or ask at a Centrelink Customer Service Centre.
Financial Information         A person of any age can receive the confidential, free, independent and expert
Service Officers              information provided by our Financial Information Service. The Financial
                              Information Service can help you make informed decisions about investment
                              and financial issues. For more information visit www.centrelink.gov.au/FIS
                              or call 13 2300.
Indigenous Call Centres       Provides appropriate services to you if you are Indigenous, particularly if you
                              are living in a remote area where there may not be direct access to Centrelink
                              staff and facilities. For more information visit www.centrelink.gov.au or call
                              13 6380.
Indigenous Customer           Assists you to access our services and payments if you are Indigenous. For
Service Advisers              more information visit www.centrelink.gov.au or call 13 6380.
Department of Human           Provides a link to assist Indigenous communities in identifying issues and
Services Indigenous           service gaps. They can link Indigenous communities to government and non-
Specialist Officers           government organisations that can assist with community development and
                              renewal.
International Services        Assists you if you are planning to visit or live in a country other than
                              Australia, or have previously lived in a country other than Australia, with
                              information about the services and payments to which you may be eligible.
                              For more information visit www.centrelink.gov.au or call 13 1673.
Language Services             Provides free interpreter services including Auslan interpreters for interviews and
                               free translation of documents relating to our business. To speak to Centrelink in
                               languages other than English call 13 1202 or visit a Centrelink Customer Service
                               Centre and ask for an interpreter. For information in languages other than English
                               visit www.centrelink.gov.au
Medicare Australia             The 1800 access line is supported by Medicare Australia staff who are skilled
Aboriginal and Torres          in their knowledge and understanding of the special conditions and cultural
Strait Islander Access and     impacts that may affect Indigenous people. For more information call 1800
Employment line                556 955.
Medicare Liaison Officers      The primary objective of an MLO is to deliver great service, and particularly
for Indigenous Access          facilitate the enrolment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in
(MLOs)                         Medicare Australia programs. MLOs work closely with Aboriginal health
                               services and their staff, and provide outreach services as required. For more
                               information visit www.medicareaustralia.gov.au
Multicultural Service          Provides a link between migrant and refugee communities to give information
Officers                       and feedback on services and initiatives. For more information visit
                               www.centrelink.gov.au or ask at a Centrelink Customer Service Centre.
Multilingual Call Centre       Allows you to speak to one of our bilingual Customer Service Advisers in
                               your own language. For more information call 13 1202.
Prison Liaison Officers        Assists you if you are in or about to be released from a juvenile or correctional
                               facility. Centrelink staff can see you prior to release and arrange for you to be
                               paid on the day you are released. Please speak to the staff in your facility to
                               find out whether this service is available.
Rural Services Officers        Provides rural customers with better access to Centrelink services and
                               facilities. For more information visit www.centrelink.gov.au or call 13 2316.
Senior Customer Service        Assists parents and people with an illness, disability, injury or other barriers to
Advisers                       realise their work capacity and to engage and participate in the workforce. For
                               more information visit www.centrelink.gov.au or call 13 2717.
Social Workers                 Social Workers Assists customers during difficult periods by providing
                               personal counselling, support and information. You can talk to a social worker
                               about domestic and family violence, homelessness, relationship issues, loss
                               and bereavement or other personal concerns. Social workers can refer you to
                               other services and programs such as housing, health, emergency relief and
                               legal support. To speak with a Centrelink Social Worker, contact your local
                               Customer Service Centre or call 13 1794.

Services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
We have many services available to assist you if you are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. Specialist staff
are located across our Centrelink Customer Service Centre network.

Indigenous Customer Service Advisers

Indigenous Customer Service Advisers assist you to access our services and payments if you are Indigenous.
Indigenous Customer Service Advisers liaise with local communities, improving communication between
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and us.
Other services for Indigenous customers

Some of our Centrelink Customer Service Centres have teams that visit remote communities and support
Centrelink Agents and Access Points. You can also call the Indigenous Call Centre on 13 6380 in remote
areas, where there may not be direct access to face-to-face services.

Indigenous publications

We publish information products for Indigenous Australians. For more information visit
www.centrelink.gov.au or call our Indigenous
Call Centre on 13 6380.

Centrelink services in other languages
We have an active program that provides services and information to you if you are from a non-English
speaking background. If you need an interpreter or translation of documents for Centrelink business, we can
arrange this for you free of charge.

To speak to Centrelink in languages other than English, call 13 1202 or visit a Centrelink Customer Service
Centre and ask for an interpreter. For information in languages other than English visit
www.centrelink.gov.au and click on ‘We speak your language’.

Multicultural Service Officers

Multicultural Service Officers work closely with communities to promote awareness and understanding and
assist staff to deliver services to migrants and refugees.

For more information visit www.centrelink.gov.au call 13 1202 or ask at a Centrelink Customer Service
Centre.

The Family Assistance Office
The Family Assistance Office delivers a number of payments to assist you with the cost of raising your
children.

Family payments can be claimed up to three months prior to the expected birth or adoption of your child. A
rate estimator is available at www.centrelink.gov.au and lets you estimate your Centrelink and/or family
assistance, child support and child care payments you may be able to receive based on your current or
proposed circumstances.

Family assistance includes:

• Paid Parental Leave scheme—is a new entitlement for working parents who are the primary carers of
  children born or adopted from 1 January 2011

• Baby Bonus—assists with the extra costs of a new baby or the adoption of a child under the age of 16
  years. You cannot receive Baby Bonus and Parental Leave Pay for the same child.

• Child Care Benefit—assists with the costs of approved and registered care child care

• Child Care Rebate—assists working families with the cost of approved child care

• Family Tax Benefit Part A—assists with the cost of raising children
• Family Tax Benefit Part B—provides extra assistance to single parents and families with one main
  income

• Maternity Immunisation Allowance—is a non-income tested payment that is generally paid as two
  separate amounts for children who are fully immunised between the ages of 18–24 months and four and
  five years, or who have an approved exemption from immunisation.

Double Orphan Pension is a non means tested payment that helps you meet the costs of caring for children
where both parents are deceased, or one parent is deceased and the other parent is unable to care for the
children.

If you receive an income support payment from Centrelink, you must receive your Family Tax Benefit
payments fortnightly. Payments of Family Tax Benefit and/or Child Care Benefit are based on an estimate
of your family’s annual income.

It is important to estimate your family’s annual income as accurately as possible to make sure you receive
the correct amount of Family Tax Benefit and/or Child Care Benefit as reduced fees. Your income estimate
must include your and your partner’s adjusted taxable income, including any payments you and/or your
partner receive from Centrelink (such as Newstart Allowance, Disability Support Pension, Parental Leave
Pay and Parenting Payment) and/or any Veterans’ Affairs pension or benefit.

For more information about the Family Assistance Office and the payments and services you may be eligible
for, see Are you a parent or guardian? You can get this booklet by visiting www.familyassist.gov.au calling
13 6150 or asking at any Family Assistance Office located at any Medicare office or Centrelink Customer
Service Centre.

Medicare
The Medicare program ensures that all eligible Australian residents have access to free or low-cost
medical, optical and hospital care while being able to choose private health services.

Medicare provides access to:

• free treatment as a public (Medicare) patient in a public hospital

• free or subsidised treatment by practitioners such as doctors, including specialists, participating
  optometrists or dentists (specified services only)

• free treatment by providers who bulk bill.

How does it work?

Having a valid Medicare card is important. Make sure Medicare Australia has your current address to ensure
you receive replacement Medicare cards and other important information. Always have your Medicare card
available when you are visiting your doctor or pharmacist.

You also need your Medicare card to:

• claim your benefit at a Medicare office

• make enquiries when claiming

• be treated as a public (Medicare) patient in hospital

• have a prescription filled.
What else should I know?

If your Medicare card is lost or stolen, let Medicare Australia know over the phone, in person or by mail.

A replacement card will be issued and posted to the cardholder’s address. If you let Medicare Australia
know in person you will be given an interim card to use until you receive your new card in the post.

If you are registered for Online Services, you can also request a new Medicare card online at
www.medicareaustralia.gov.au then For individuals and families > Update your details and request a new
or replacement Medicare card.

What Medicare covers
The benefits you receive from Medicare are based on a schedule of fees set by the Australian Government.
Doctors may choose to charge more than the schedule fee. You can choose the doctor who treats you for
out-of-hospital services.

Out-of-hospital services
Medicare provides benefits for:

• consultation fees for doctors, including specialists

• tests and examinations by doctors needed to treat illnesses, including x-rays and pathology tests

• eye tests performed by optometrists

• most surgical and other therapeutic procedures performed by doctors

• some surgical procedures performed by approved dentists

• specified items under the Cleft Lip and Palate Scheme

• specified items for allied health services as part of the Chronic Disease Management program.

In-hospital services
Public patient

If you choose to be admitted as a public patient in a public hospital, you will receive treatment by doctors
and specialists nominated by the hospital. You will not be charged for care and treatment, or after-care by
the treating doctor.

Private patient

If you are a private patient in a public or private hospital, you can choose your doctor. Medicare will pay 75
per cent of the Medicare schedule fee for services and procedures provided by the treating doctor. If you
have private health insurance, some or all of the outstanding balance may be covered. You will be charged
for hospital accommodation and items such as theatre fees and medicines. These costs may also be covered
by private health insurance but are not covered by Medicare.

For more information go to www.medicareaustralia.gov.au then For individuals and families > Medicare
call 13 2011 or visit your local Medicare office.
Medicare Safety Net
If you need to see a doctor or have regular tests you could end up with high medical costs. The Medicare
Safety Net is designed to help you when you need it most. It means that once you reach and qualify for a
safety net threshold, visits to your doctor or medical tests may cost you less.

Individuals are automatically registered. Families and couples need to register—even if all your family
members are listed on your Medicare card you still need to register. To register, or for more information go
to www.medicareaustralia.gov.au then Individuals and families > Services and programs > Medicare
Safety Net call 13 2011 or ask at your local Medicare office.

Medicare Teen Dental Plan
The Medicare Teen Dental Plan helps with the cost of an annual preventative dental check for eligible
teenagers aged between 12–17 years.

Am I eligible?

You may be eligible for the Medicare Teen Dental plan if you:

• are aged between 12 and 17 years, and

• are eligible for Medicare, and

• receive Family Tax Benefit Part A (FTB A), ABSTUDY, Carer Payment, Disability Support Pension,
  Parenting Payment, Special Benefit or Youth Allowance, or

• your family/carer/guardian receives FTB A, Parenting Payment or the Double Orphan Pension for you, or

• your partner receives FTB A or Parenting Payment, or

• you are 16 or older and receive financial assistance under the Veterans’ Children Education Scheme or
  the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act Education and Training Scheme from the Department
  of Veterans’ Affairs.

How does it work?

Each calendar year, Medicare Australia will send information about the Medicare Teen Dental Plan and a
voucher for a preventative dental check to eligible teenagers or their families/carers/guardians. If the teenager
is in equal shared care arrangements, a letter and voucher will be sent to each parent or carer. However, the
first family to claim the service with Medicare Australia will be entitled to the full benefit payable.

For more information go to www.medicareaustralia.gov.au then For individuals > Services and programs
>
Medicare teen dental plan call 13 2011 or visit your local Medicare office.

Extra assistance
Centrelink concession cards
There are a number of Centrelink concession cards that may provide you with access to Australian
Government concessions. These may include:
• prescription medicines listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme at a cheaper rate, also available to
  eligible dependants as listed on each card

• bulk-billed general practitioner consultations, at the discretion of a doctor

• an increase in benefits for out-of-pocket, out-of-hospital medical expenses above a certain threshold
  through the extended Medicare Safety Net, also available to eligible dependants as listed on each card.

Always take your concession card with you when you visit a doctor or have a prescription filled.

State, territory, and local governments, and some private providers may offer additional health, household,
transport, education and recreation concessions to card holders. Eligibility for any state, territory, local
government or private concessions is at the discretion of individual concession providers and may vary from
state to state.

Concession card holders can temporarily leave Australia and not have their cards cancelled if they are away
for less than 13 weeks. If you are leaving Australia for 13 weeks or more your concession card may be
cancelled. You must inform Centrelink of any trips outside of Australia before you leave.

Some concession cards are issued with partner and dependent children names included on the card. You
have the option of requesting the reissue of a concession card without your partner’s name displayed. Any
concessions offered to the concession card holder will only apply to those named on the card. To access
concessions for your partner, you will need to present the concession card displaying your partner’s details.

Pensioner Concession Card

The Pensioner Concession Card provides you with a concession rate on some services such as medical and
pharmaceutical costs.

To be eligible for a Pensioner Concession Card you must:

• be an Australian resident*, and

• be in Australia when you claim.

You must also be:

• assessed as having a partial capacity for work and receiving Newstart Allowance, Youth Allowance (job
  seeker) or Parenting Payment, or

• a single principal carer of dependent children and receiving Newstart Allowance or Youth Allowance (job
  seeker), or

• participating in the Community Development Employment Projects and meet certain other requirements,
  or

• receiving a social security pension such as Age Pension, Disability Support Pension, Parenting Payment
  (Single), or Carer Payment, or

• 60 years of age or over and receiving one (or a combination) of the following payments continuously for
  at least nine months:

  – Newstart Allowance

  – Parenting Payment (Partnered)

  – Partner Allowance
  – Sickness Allowance

  – Special Benefit

  – Widow Allowance.

*For more information see ‘Residence requirements’ on page 26.

The Pensioner Concession Card is reissued automatically each year near the time of your birthday, subject to
your continued eligibility. You may be eligible to keep your Pensioner Concession Card for a short time
after returning to work. This assists you in the transition from receiving a payment to going back to work.

Health Care Cards

There are several Health Care Cards that can provide you with assistance with medical and pharmaceutical
costs.

To be eligible for a Health Care Card you must:
• be an Australian resident* (there are some exceptions), and

• be in Australia when you claim.

You must also:

• be receiving an eligible payment from us, or

• fall into one of a number of other categories.

*For more information see ‘Residence requirements’ on page 26.

The card’s automatic period of issue (between 12 and 52 weeks) varies depending on payment type and your
circumstances. Cards are automatically reissued subject to continued eligibility for the card.

In some instances, if you hold an automatically issued Health Care Card, you can retain your Health Care
Card for a short period after returning to work. This applies to you if you are a long-term recipient of
Newstart Allowance, Sickness Allowance, Partner Allowance, Special Benefit, Widow Allowance, Youth
Allowance (job seeker) or Parenting Payment. This provision is designed to assist you to make the transition
from being on one of our payments to going back to work.

If you receive Austudy, ABSTUDY or Youth Allowance and you are a student or Australian Apprentice,
you may apply for a low income Health Care Card.

For more information on eligibility for Health Care Cards visit www.centrelink.gov.au or ask at a
Centrelink Customer Service Centre.

Low income Health Care Card

A low income Health Care Card is available to you if your income is below a set level. The income test
applies to average gross income for the eight weeks immediately before applying for or renewing the card.

The card is not automatically reissued and you must reapply every six months. This card is not subject to an
assets test.
Ex Carer Allowance (child) Health Care Card

You may be eligible for an Ex Carer Allowance (child) Health Care Card if you are between 16 and 25
years of age, are a full-time student and have a disability or medical condition that previously qualified
your carer for Carer Allowance (child).

The card is not automatically issued in this circumstance and you are required to reapply for the card each
year. This card is not subject to an income or assets test.

Foster child Health Care Card

You may be able to get a Health Care Card for a foster child in your care. This card is not subject to an
income or assets test.

As a foster carer, you need to establish:

• you are an Australian resident* or a special category visa holder residing in Australia

• you are not the parent of the child (refers to natural parent, adopted parent or a person legally responsible
  for a child born through assisted conception procedure or where a surrogacy court order is in place), and

• the child is in your care.

You do not need to be a formal foster carer (for example, caring for a ward of the state). You can be any
person caring for a child who is not your legal responsibility as a parent. Examples include grandparents,
other kinship carers such as adult siblings and relatives.

The foster child Health Care Card is automatically reissued every six months, subject to continued
eligibility for the card.

*For more information on residence requirements see page 26.

Commonwealth Seniors Health Card

The Commonwealth Seniors Health Card is available to self-funded retirees. To be eligible you must:

• be an Australian resident* or a special category visa holder who resides in Australia

• have been in Australia as an Australian resident for at least 104 weeks (there are some exceptions)

• be in Australia when you claim

• not be receiving an income support payment from us or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs

• provide your tax file number and if applicable your partner’s

• be of age pension age, and

• meet an annual adjusted taxable income test. There is no assets test.

*For more information see ‘Residence requirements’ on page 26.

The card is reissued automatically in August each year, subject to continued eligibility for the card.
What if my card is lost or stolen?

If your concession card is lost or stolen, you can call us to arrange a replacement card. As replacement cards
cannot be issued over the counter, your new card will be mailed to you. You can also arrange a replacement
card by using Centrelink self service.

Should you have an urgent need for a concession card and cannot wait for your replacement card to arrive,
you can obtain an Interim Concession Card at a Centrelink Customer Service Centre.

An Interim Concession Card is a temporary card valid for two weeks. This card can be issued if you are
eligible for a concession card, you cannot reasonably be expected to wait for your replacement card to arrive
in the mail, and we accept that you have an urgent need for a card.

The Interim Concession Card may not be accepted for some transport concessions.

Centrepay
Centrepay can make it easier for you to pay your bills. Centrepay is a free bill paying service offered to
customers receiving regular payments from Centrelink. Through Centrepay you can choose to pay bills by
having a regular amount deducted from your Centrelink payment.

These deductions are forwarded directly to participating organisations as full or part payment for services.

Participation is entirely voluntary and you can choose to start, stop or change your Centrepay deductions at
any time.

Centrepay can help you pay regular bills and expenses like:

• rent

• telephone

• electricity, gas, water

• medical services and equipment

• food

• child care

• council rates

• ambulance costs

• home care services

• Indigenous Business Australia loan repayments

• rental of household goods

• no-interest loans

• court fines or infringements, and

• school fees.

Centrepay has thousands of participating organisations. To find out if an organisation is registered with
Centrepay contact Centrelink or speak to the organisation you would like to pay.
For more information about Centrepay see the Manage your bills for free—Centrepay brochure. This is
available by visiting www.centrelink.gov.au or asking at a Centrelink Customer Service Centre.

Rent Deduction Scheme
If you pay rent to a state or territory housing authority you can choose to have your rent paid automatically
from your Centrelink payment and sent directly to your housing authority. The Rent Deduction Scheme is a
service provided by Centrelink in partnership with state and territory housing authorities.

This service is free of charge and you can apply to join or withdraw from the service at any time. To join the
Rent Deduction Scheme you need to contact your local housing authority and ask for a deduction form. To
withdraw from the Scheme you need to contact your local housing authority or Centrelink.

For more information about Centrepay visit www.centrelink.gov.au or ask at a Centrelink Customer
Service Centre.

Centrelink Confirmation eServices
You do not have to line up at a Centrelink Customer Service Centre to get a letter when applying for
concessions or services. Our Centrelink Confirmation eService can do it for you.

Centrelink Confirmation eService is an electronic system that enables you to choose to have your Centrelink
details provided or confirmed directly to your concession or service provider to determine your eligibility.

The service is free and totally secure. There are strict security and privacy rules and the organisation will
require you to give them your consent before they can access your details from Centrelink.

To take advantage of this service and save time providing details, contact your concession provider to find
out if they make use of our Centrelink Confirmation eService.

For information about Centrelink Confirmation eService you can call us on the ‘13’ or ‘1800’ number listed
at the back of the booklet that is most relevant to your situation, visit www.centrelink.gov.au or contact
your concession or service provider.

Liquefied Petroleum Gas Vehicle Scheme
The Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) Vehicle Scheme is a grant program to encourage you to buy new LPG
vehicles or convert existing vehicles to operate on LPG only, LPG and petrol or LPG and diesel.

Am I eligible?

You may be eligible for the grant if your vehicle is:

• for private use (not commercial or business)

• a passenger or light vehicle that is less than 3.5 tonnes Gross Vehicle Mass, and

• not subject to a novated lease or salary sacrifice arrangement.

For application forms and more information about the LPG Vehicle Scheme, visit www.ausindustry.gov.au
call 13 2846 or ask at any Medicare office or Centrelink Customer Service Centre.
Mobility Allowance
Mobility Allowance assists you if you have a disability, cannot use public transport permanently or for an
extended period without substantial assistance and you are engaged in certain activities. These activities
include looking for work, participating in a Disability Employment Services program, or any combination of
paid employment, voluntary work, vocational training and independent living/life skills training.

Am I eligible?

You may receive Mobility Allowance if you:

• are 16 years of age or over, and

• cannot use public transport without substantial assistance for the next 12 months or longer because of your
  disability (there does not need to be public transport in your area for you to be eligible), and

• need to travel to and from your home as part of your work, training or job seeking, and

• are an Australian resident*, and

• have been in Australia as an Australian resident for at least 104 weeks (there are some exceptions), and

• are in Australia when you claim.

*For more information see ‘Residence requirements’ on page 26.

There are two rates of Mobility Allowance. The rate you receive will depend on whether you meet certain
criteria in addition to those mentioned above.

To be eligible for the standard rate of Mobility Allowance, you must also:

• be undertaking vocational training, voluntary work, paid work, independent living/life skills or any
  combination of these for at least 32 hours every four weeks on a continuing basis, or

• have an agreement to look for work through an employment services provider (for example, Job Services
  Australia or Disability Employment Services), or

• be participating in a Disability Employment Services-Disability Management Service program, or

• be receiving Newstart Allowance, Youth Allowance or Austudy and be required to meet the Activity Test.

Voluntary work must be for a charitable, welfare or community organisation on a continuing basis.

To be eligible for the higher rate of Mobility Allowance, you must also be receiving Disability Support
Pension, Parenting Payment, Newstart Allowance or Youth Allowance (job seeker) and:

• be working for at least 15 hours per week on wages that are at or above the relevant minimum wage, or

• be undertaking job search activities for work of at least 15 hours per week on wages that are at or above
  the relevant minimum wage under an Employment Pathway Plan with Centrelink or an employment
  services provider (e.g. Job Services Australia or Disability Employment Services), or

• be working for at least 15 hours per week on productivity based wages under the Supported Wage System.

How does it work?

You may receive a:
• fortnightly Mobility Allowance

• Health Care Card if you are not getting any other payments from us.

Mobility Allowance is not subject to an income or assets test and is not taxable.

You do not need to get any other payments from us to be eligible for the standard rate of Mobility
Allowance.

For more information visit www.centrelink.gov.au call 13 2717 or ask at a Centrelink Customer Service
Centre.

Pension Supplement
If you are eligible, Pension Supplement is paid with your fortnightly income support payment.

Am I eligible?

You may be eligible for Pension Supplement if:

• you receive Age Pension, Carer Payment, Wife Pension, Widow B Pension, Bereavement Allowance, or
  Disability Support Pension (except under 21 years without dependent children), or

• you are over age pension age and receive an income support payment or allowance that is not listed
  above.

How does it work?

Pension Supplement is paid automatically each fortnight with your income support payment. You can
choose to receive the minimum amount of Pension Supplement quarterly instead of every fortnight.

For more information visit www.centrelink.gov.au call 13 2300 or ask at a Centrelink Customer Service
Centre.

Pensioner Education Supplement and ABSTUDY Pensioner Education
Supplement
The Pensioner Education Supplement or ABSTUDY Pensioner Education Supplement assist with the costs
of study if you are undertaking an approved secondary or tertiary course of full-time or part-time study, at an
approved institution. This assistance is not taxable and not income or asset tested.

Am I eligible?

You may get Pensioner Education Supplement or ABSTUDY Pensioner Education Supplement if you are
studying an approved course and you receive one of the following payments:

• Carer Payment

• Disability Support Pension

• Newstart or Youth Allowance as a job seeker (in some circumstances)

• Parenting Payment (Single)

• Special Benefit as a sole parent

• Widow Allowance or Widow B Pension
• Wife Pension if your partner receives Disability Support Pension (if you are a full-time student and your
  partner receives Disability Support Pension)

• some Veterans’ Affairs pensions and payments.

How does it work?

The amount of Pensioner Education Supplement or ABSTUDY Pensioner Education Supplement you receive
depends on your study load and the pension or payment you receive. Previous tertiary study may affect your
eligibility. Other payments or entitlements may also be available. For more information about Pensioner
Education Supplement see the Pensioner Education Supplement brochure and for more information about
ABSTUDY Pensioner Education Supplement, see the ABSTUDY brochure. These are available by visiting
www.centrelink.gov.au calling 13 2490 (for Pensioner Education Supplement) or 13 2317 (for ABSTUDY) or
asking at a Centrelink Customer Service Centre.

Pharmaceutical Allowance
Pharmaceutical Allowance assists you with the cost of prescription medicines.

Am I eligible?

You may be eligible for Pharmaceutical Allowance if you:

• are under age pension age and receive Parenting Payment (Single), Disability Support Pension (under 21
  with no dependent children) or Sickness Allowance

• receive Youth Allowance, ABSTUDY, Newstart Allowance, Partner Allowance, Special Benefit or
  Widow Allowance and you do not have to meet the Activity Test because you are temporarily
  incapacitated because of illness or injury

• have been assessed as having a partial capacity to work and are receiving Newstart Allowance, Youth
  Allowance (job seeker) or Parenting Payment (Partnered)

• are a single, principal carer of a dependent child under 16 years of age and receiving Newstart or Youth
  Allowance

• are over 60 years of age (but under age pension age) and have been receiving Partner Allowance,
  ABSTUDY, Austudy, Widow Allowance, Newstart Allowance, Parenting Payment (Partnered) or Special
  Benefit for at least nine months.

How does it work?

Pharmaceutical Allowance is paid automatically with your payment. Pharmaceutical Allowance can be paid
up to seven fortnights in advance to assist people receiving either Disability Support Pension (who are under
21 with no children), or Parenting Payment (Single) who are on low incomes with high pharmaceutical
requirements. If you want to apply for Pharmaceutical Allowance in advance you will need a prescription
record and a claim form.

For more information visit www.centrelink.gov.au call 13 2300 or ask at a Centrelink Customer Service
Centre.

What else should I know?

The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) helps protect you financially if you or your family need a lot of
medicine. Talk to your pharmacist about getting a prescription record form. If you reach the safety net
threshold you can apply for a safety net card and your PBS medicine will be less expensive or free for the
rest of the calendar year.

For more information visit www.medicareaustralia.gov.au call Freecall™ 1800 020 613 or ask at a
Medicare office.

Remote Area Allowance
Remote Area Allowance assists you with some of the costs that go with living in particularly remote areas. It
is paid to you automatically if you get an eligible payment and you live in certain tax zones of Australia.

For more information see the Remote Area
Allowance Payment Rates factsheet. This is available by visiting www.centrelink.gov.au calling 13 2850 or
asking at a Centrelink Customer Service Centre.

Rent Assistance
If you are paying rent and receiving a payment from Centrelink or the Family Assistance Office, you may be
eligible for Rent Assistance. Rent can include private rent, lodging, board and lodging, site fees, fees to
moor a vessel or service and maintenance fees in a retirement village. If you share the care of a child, you
may also be eligible for Rent Assistance.

Am I eligible?

You may be eligible for Rent Assistance if you are:

• paying rent, and

• receiving a payment from Centrelink or the Family Assistance Office or sharing the care of a child.

You cannot receive Rent Assistance if you:

• have a tenancy agreement with a state or territory housing authority and pay rent to a state or territory
  government. There can be special cases when you pay rent to a Community Housing Authority where you
  may be able to get Rent Assistance. If you are paying rent to a Community Housing Authority you will
  need to contact Centrelink to check whether or not you can get Rent Assistance, or

• only get Exceptional Circumstances Relief Payment, Interim Income Support Payment, or

• are in a residential aged care home occupying an Australian Government funded bed.

For more information see the Rent Assistance—Helping you pay your rent brochure, available by visiting
www.centrelink.gov.au calling the ‘13’ or ‘1800’ number at the back of this booklet most relevant to your
situation or asking at a Centrelink Customer Service Centre.

How does it work?

The rate of Rent Assistance depends on:

• the type and amount of rent you pay for the home you usually live in, and

• your living arrangements—whether you are single or have a partner, whether you have dependent children
  living with you or whether you share your accommodation with others.

To receive Rent Assistance, you will need to provide details of your rental circumstances.
If you have a written tenancy agreement (lease) with your name on it, you need to provide Centrelink or the
Family Assistance Office with a copy of your lease and a completed Rent Certificate. The Rent Certificate
does not need to be signed by your landlord, authorised agent or the person you pay rent to.

If you do not have a written tenancy agreement (lease) with your name on it, you need to provide Centrelink
or the Family Assistance Office with a completed Rent Certificate. This must be signed by your landlord,
authorised agent or the person you pay rent to. If you have problems getting a tenancy agreement (lease) or
Rent Certificate signed, let us know straight away.

You can get a copy of a Rent Certificate from a Customer Service Centre or the Family Assistance Office or
call the ‘13’ or ‘1800’ number listed at the back of this booklet most relevant to your situation.

If you live in community housing, your Community Housing Organisation may be able to send your rent
information directly to Centrelink. Talk to your Community Housing Organisation to find out more
information.

Seniors Supplement
If you hold a Commonwealth Seniors Health Care Card you are eligible for a Seniors Supplement. Once you
have provided your bank account details the Seniors Supplement is will be paid automatically each quarter.

For more information visit www.centrelink.gov.au call 13 2300 or ask at a Centrelink Customer Service
Centre.

Telephone Allowance
You may be able to get help with the costs of maintaining a phone or home internet service within Australia.

Am I eligible?

You may be eligible for Telephone Allowance if you are under age pension age, have a phone, mobile phone
or fax machine connected in Australia in your or your partner’s name, and you:

• receive Parenting Payment (Single), Disability Support Pension (under 21 with no dependent children)

• have been assessed as having a partial capacity to work and are receiving Newstart Allowance, Youth
  Allowance (job seeker) or Parenting Payment (Partnered)

• are a single, principal carer of a dependent child under 16 years of age and receive Newstart Allowance or
  Youth Allowance

• are over 60 years of age (but under age pension age) and have been receiving Partner Allowance, Widow
  Allowance, Newstart Allowance, Parenting Payment (Partnered), Sickness Allowance or Special Benefit
  for at least nine months.

How does it work?

Telephone Allowance is automatically paid each quarter with your regular income support payment.

A higher rate of Telephone Allowance is payable if you receive Disability Support Pension and you are
under 21 and without children if you or your partner have a home internet connection.

For more information visit www.centrelink.gov.au or call the ‘13’ or ‘1800’ number at the back of this
booklet most relevant to your situation or ask at a Centrelink Customer Service Centre.
Utilities Allowance
Utilities Allowance is paid to assist with the cost of regular bills such as gas, electricity and water.

You may be eligible for Utilities Allowance if you are:

• under age pension age and receive Widow Allowance or Partner Allowance call 13 2300

• under 21 years of age, have no dependent children and receive Disability Support Pension call 13 2717.

Utilities Allowance is automatically paid each quarter with your regular payment. For more information visit
www.centrelink.gov.au or ask at a Centrelink Customer Service Centre.

Urgent, Advance and Weekly Payments
Urgent Payments

If you experience financial hardship because of an exceptional and unforeseen event, and there is no suitable
alternative support, you may be eligible for an Urgent Payment. An Urgent Payment is part of your current
income support payment that is paid before the usual payday.

Advance Payments

If you receive an income support payment and meet the qualification criteria, you may be eligible to receive
part of your fortnightly payment in advance as a lump sum. The amount is then repaid from your fortnightly
payments. We offer a number of Advance Payments and the two below are the most common types.

Standard Advance Payment

You may be eligible to receive a Standard Advance Payment if you:

• have been receiving an eligible payment type for at least three months

• do not have a debt with us, and

• meet the guidelines that show you can repay the Advance Payment and still have enough money for your
  day-to-day expenses.

The amount of Advance Payment you receive depends on; which income support payment you are
receiving, how much you are paid each fortnight and for pension customers, the amount paid for previous
advances. The amount that you can be paid is limited by minimum and maximum amounts.

The number of the Advance Payments you can receive over a 12 month period will depend on the type of
payment you receive and whether you have received previous Advance Payments.

• If you receive Age Pension, Disability Support Pension, Carer Payment, Widow B Pension or Wife
  Pension you may be able to receive several Advance Payments over a 12 month period.

• If you receive another type of income support payment you will be limited to one Advance Payment in
  a 12 month period.

You must pay back the Advance Payment, and this is done by reducing your next 13 fortnightly payments
(or until the Advance Payment has been fully repaid).

Advance Payments for Family Tax Benefit are also available, however the rules differ from the Standard
Advance Payment mentioned above.
Family Tax Benefit Advance Payment

If you receive Family Tax Benefit (FTB) Part A and meet the relevant qualification criteria, you may be
eligible to receive part of your FTB Part A entitlement in advance as a lump sum. The amount of Advance
Payment you are able to receive depends on your annual Family Tax Benefit Part A entitlement and the type
of FTB advance you are applying for. If you receive an Advance Payment a portion of your regular FTB
Part A will be deducted each fortnight for 13 fortnights or until the advance is repaid.

Hardship Advance Payment

Hardship Advance Payment is an advance of up to seven days of the first payment of your pension or
benefit. It is also payable immediately following your payment being restored after a cancellation or
suspension. It is paid to assist you if you are in severe financial hardship, including if you have been
released from a correctional facility, psychiatric confinement or if you are a newly arrived humanitarian
entrant.

Other advance types include Pharmaceutical Advance, Mobility Allowance Advance and Special
Employment Assistance Advance.

For more information about Advance Payments visit www.centrelink.gov.au call 13 2850 or ask at a
Centrelink Customer Service Centre.

Weekly Payments

Weekly payments may be available to customers who find it difficult to budget on a fortnightly basis.
Eligible customers would receive their income support payment on a weekly rather than fortnightly basis,
until their circumstances improve. Weekly payments form part of Centrelink services for vulnerable and ‘at
risk’ customers. Centrelink currently has a range of options to assist these customers, including but not
limited to:

• Centrepay

• Income Management, including Voluntary Income Management

• referrals to welfare agencies, housing authorities and social workers, and

• payment nominees and youth agencies.

Making a claim
About Centrelink payments
Your first contact with us will generally be to find out if you are eligible for payments or other assistance.

To find out more about making a claim you can:

• visit www.centrelink.gov.au

• call us on the ‘13’ or ‘1800’ number most relevant to your situation

• visit a Centrelink Customer Service Centre.

You can also ask for claim information to be mailed to you.
Our payments are usually paid fortnightly. You can choose which day best suits you. We deposit your
payment directly into your bank, building society or credit union account. This assists us to prevent your
payment being stolen or lost.

Payments under Income Management may be paid differently. For more information and to see if this
affects you, call Centrelink’s Indigenous Call Centre on 13 2594.

Intent to Claim
The first step in claiming most payments is to register an Intent to Claim. This lets us know you will be
applying for a payment soon. You or someone on your behalf may register your Intent to Claim online, in
person, or by phone.

You must lodge your claim with us within 14 days of registering your Intent to Claim. Your payment will
start from the date you first registered your Intent to Claim if you were eligible for payment at the time of
contact.

You should contact us as soon as possible if you have any difficulty lodging your claim within 14 days. In
some circumstances, the 14-day period may be extended.

Backdating to the registration of an Intent to Claim does not apply to all payments. Talk to us if you need
more information. Intent to Claim provisions do not apply to family assistance payments. If you are making
an Intent to Claim for ABSTUDY or Assistance for Isolated Children, you must lodge your claim with us
within 13 weeks. If you are making an Intent to Claim for Crisis Payment you must register your Intent to
Claim within seven days of the event.

Proof of identity
When you make a claim for most of our payments or services, you need to prove your identity to us. You
may also need to bring documents to an interview or answer questions about yourself to prove who you are
when contacting us by phone or on the internet.

To prove your identity to us when claiming a payment or service you must provide:

• at least one original (not a photocopy) document that shows the commencement of your identity in
  Australia (for example, proof of birth or arrival in Australia), and

• other original (not a photocopy) documents that clearly show your use of that identity up to (generally)
  100 points from a list of approved documents. All documents must show your current or former name(s).

You must have proof of birth/adoption of the child you are claiming for. The document used to verify
commencement of your identity cannot also be used to establish the use of that identity.

For information about the documents you need and our points system see the Proving your Identity to
Centrelink form. This is available by visiting www.centrelink.gov.au or asking at a Centrelink Customer
Service Centre.

If you have any difficulty in obtaining or providing identification documents you should contact us as
soon as possible.

If you have previously met proof of identity requirements and you are claiming within 52 weeks of receiving
a payment from us, you may not need to provide as many proof of identity documents.

If you are a migrant and do not have documents that show your date of birth or the details of your arrival in
Australia, we may be able to check this information either from our own records or by asking you some
questions about how and when you came to Australia. We may check this information with the Department
of Immigration and Citizenship.

Residence requirements
To claim most Centrelink payments and services you must be an Australian resident and in Australia when
you claim.

To be an Australian resident, you must be living in Australia and be either:

• an Australian citizen

• a permanent visa holder, or

• a New Zealand passport holder who was in Australia on 26 February 2001, or for 12 months in the two
  years immediately before that date, or was assessed as ‘protected’ before 26 February 2004.

New Zealand citizens (who are not Australian citizens)

New Zealand passport holders residing in Australia who do not meet the above criteria may be eligible for
certain concession cards after a waiting period and payments from the Family Assistance Office. However,
New Zealand citizens arriving in Australia after 26 February 2001 will generally need to apply for and be
granted an Australian permanent visa and complete a waiting period before they can access any other social
security payments. The Social Security Agreement between Australia and New Zealand may help some New
Zealand citizens to be paid Age Pension, Disability Support Pension or Carer Payment.

New Zealand passport holders who have lived in Australia continuously for at least 10 years since 26
February 2001 and hold a non-protected Special Category Visa (SCV) may be able to access a once only
payment of Newstart Allowance, Sickness Allowance or Youth Allowance. If eligible, payment can be made
for a maximum continuous period of up to 6 months.

Temporary and Provisional Visa Holders

If you hold a temporary protection visa, temporary humanitarian visa, return pending visa or a similar
temporary visa, you may be able to receive family payments (including Parental Leave Pay), a low income
Health Care Card and Special Benefit immediately.

If you hold a provisional partner visa or interdependency visa you can receive family payments (including
Parental Leave Pay) immediately. You may also be able to receive Special Benefit and the low income
Health Care Card after a waiting period (some exceptions may apply).

If you hold a student temporary visa sponsored by the Australian Government you may be able to receive
some payments and/or services.

If you hold another temporary visa and are in hardship you may be able to receive child care assistance.

Waiting periods

For many customers there are waiting periods before you can receive certain payments or services. Family
payments such as Family Tax Benefit, Child Care Benefit, Maternity Immunisation Allowance, Baby
Bonus, Parental Leave Pay and Double Orphan Pension have no waiting period and can be claimed
immediately.

Allowances and payments such as Newstart Allowance, or Parenting Payment, generally have a 104-week
qualification or waiting period.
Other payments such as Age Pension and Disability Support Pension, generally have a 10-year qualification
period.

If you arrived in Australia on an Australian permanent refugee visa or some permanent humanitarian
visas, you do not have to wait and may claim a Centrelink payment immediately.

For more information on the Newly Arrived Resident’s Waiting Period and qualifying residence periods in
Australia that may apply to various payments and services see Centrelink’s other Life Event booklets. These
are available at www.centrelink.gov.au or by asking at a Centrelink Customer Service Centre.

Information you provide to us may enable us to access electronic records held by Australia’s immigration
department. These records will help us to verify your Australian residence on your behalf to assist with your
claim.

International social security agreements
Australia has international social security agreements with a number of countries. If you have lived in one of
these countries you may be able to count periods of residence in that country or contributions to that
country’s social security system to help you qualify for payments, such as Age Pension or Disability Support
Pension.

Comparable foreign payment rules
If you are claiming or being paid a Centrelink payment, you may be required to a claim foreign pension or
benefit to which you may be eligible. You must tell Centrelink about any foreign income that you receive.

Definition of a partner
It is important that Centrelink knows whether you are a single person or have a partner. This is sometimes
called being a ‘member of a couple’. Most Centrelink payments will take into account the combined income
and assets of both members of a couple. Some Centrelink payments have different rates, depending on
whether you are single or have a partner. Some payments are only available to customers who do not have a
partner.

For Centrelink purposes, a person is considered to be your partner if you and the person are living together
or usually living together and are:

• married, or

• in a registered relationship (opposite-sex or same-sex), or

• in a de facto relationship (opposite-sex or same-sex).

A registered relationship is one that is registered under prescribed Australian state or territory laws that
provide for registration of certain couple relationships, including civil partnership schemes. These
relationships are currently recognised in the Australian Capital Territory, Tasmania, Victoria and New South
Wales. Relationships registered in other countries or under local government schemes are not recognised as
they are not registered under a prescribed Australian state or territory law. However evidence of the
registrations is a strong indicator that a couple is in a de facto relationship.

A de facto relationship is where two people, who are not married or in a registered relationship, are
partnered and usually live together as a couple. You will be considered to be in a de facto relationship from
the time you start living together as a couple. There is no minimum time period applied for a relationship to
be regarded as de facto, except for Youth Allowance.
If you are a member of a couple, Centrelink does not usually assess your relationship. When an assessment
is needed, the following factors are considered:

• finances

• social relationships

• nature of your household

• presence or absence of a sexual relationship, and

• nature of the commitment.

Centrelink understands that not all relationships are the same. Some of these factors may not be in your
relationship. A decision can still be made that you are a member of a couple even if all of these factors are
not present in your relationship.

For more information see the Are you a member
of a couple? factsheet. This is available by visiting www.centrelink.gov.au asking at a Centrelink Customer
Service Centre or calling the ‘13’ or ‘1800’ number listed at the back of this booklet that is most relevant to your
situation.

Asset Hardship Provisions
For some payments and services designed to assist you in a crisis, you are only eligible if you are in severe
financial hardship. You are considered to be in severe financial hardship if:

• your total fortnightly income is less than the maximum fortnightly rate of the allowance or benefit that is
  payable to you

• your readily available funds are less than the allowable limit, and

• there is no other course of action which you could be expected to take to improve your financial position.

For more information see the Hardship Information factsheet. This is available by visiting
www.centrelink.gov.au calling 13 2300 or asking at a Centrelink Customer Service Centre.

Changes in your life can affect your payment
Your payment and the amount you are paid from us can be affected for a number of reasons.

If there are changes to your family, work or lifestyle situation it is important to let Centrelink or the Family
Assistance Office know as soon as possible. This will ensure you receive the correct payment. If you are paid
more than you are eligible for, you may have to pay back some or all of your payment.

Note: we match information with the Australian Taxation Office, Australia’s immigration authorities,
government departments, other organisations and verify income with employers. We also act on public
information received as tip-offs. If you are overpaid benefits, you will probably have to repay the money. If
you have deliberately given us incorrect information you may face a range of consequences from recovery
fees to criminal prosecution.

For more information or to let us know about changes to lifestyle, work or income, call the ‘13’ or ‘1800’
number listed at the back of this booklet that is most relevant to your situation.
Changes to your work or your ability to look for work

• you or your partner start or go back to work

• you or your partner stop working

• you or your partner receive a lump sum payment, redundancy payment or leave payment

• you or your partner change jobs or become self-employed or change your hours of work (including full-
  time, part-time or casual work)

• changes to your or your partner’s health because of illness, injury or a disability and/or changes in your
  existing illness, injury or disability

• your or your partner’s income from employment changes

• you claim for or receive workers’ compensation instalments

• you claim for or receive a compensation lump sum

• you claim for or receive payments from a sickness or accident policy or income protection policy.

Changes to your studies

• you start or stop studying

• you do not enrol to study

• you change your course details

• you change the number of hours you are studying

• you change educational institutions

• you stop your Australian Apprenticeship.

Changes to your living or caring arrangements

• you or your partner sell your home and buy another house

• you or your partner have a change to the amount you pay for accommodation

• you or your partner start or stop sharing accommodation with other people

• you or your partner change address

• you or your partner move into a retirement village or residential aged-care home (nursing home or hostel)

• your or your partner’s Australian residence status changes

• your caring arrangements change or cease.

Changes to your family situation

• your relationship status changes; for example you become married, partnered in a registered or de facto
  relationship (either opposite-sex or same-sex)

• you separate from your partner or your partner dies
• you or your partner enters a nursing home or correctional facility

• the number of your eligible dependants change

• you start to receive child support/maintenance, or the amount of child support/maintenance you get
  changes

• you cease to be a registered foster carer, or are no longer available as a foster carer on an ongoing basis, a
  registered home schooler or distance educator

• your child care arrangements change

• your child’s study arrangements change

• your sibling’s study arrangement change.

Changes to your investments and assets

• you or your partner sell/acquire shares or managed investment units

• you or your partner reinvest dividends from your shares or funds

• you or your partner buy or sell an investment property or the income you receive from an investment
  property changes

• you or your partner’s investment property changes value

• you or your partner buy or sell other investments

• you or your partner receive payments from another country or your foreign investments or payments
  change

• you or your partner become involved in a business, or your involvement in a business changes

• you or your partner purchase an income stream product

• you or your partner’s value of assets changes.

Gifts and loans

• you are the beneficiary of an estate

• you receive a valuable gift, or win money or other assets

• you make any gifts to family, friends or charities, such as a deposit for a home, cash, valuable jewellery, a
  car or a holiday

• you take out a loan or lend money (including to family members).

Leaving Australia

If you are currently receiving a payment or concession card from Centrelink or the Family Assistance
Office you must tell us if you are leaving Australia temporarily or permanently. You should let us know at
least six weeks before you leave, so we can assess how your payments will be affected and advise you. If
you need to leave in a hurry, tell us as soon as you can, preferably before you leave Australia.
Most payments can continue to be paid during short-term absences from Australia, generally for up to 13
weeks. While you are outside Australia you still need to be eligible for your payment. You must also remain
an Australian resident, that is, your permanent home must be in Australia, and your absence from Australia
must be temporary.

There are some exceptions, including:

• Age Pension can generally be paid outside Australia for longer, including if you leave permanently,
  although the rate of payment may reduce.

• Some payments such as Newstart Allowance are only payable outside Australia in particular
  circumstances.

• Family Tax Benefit Part A can be paid at more than the base rate for 13 weeks. The base rate of Family
  Tax Benefit may be paid for up to three years from the date of departure. Family Tax Benefit Part B can
  be paid for a period of 13 weeks or less.

• Concession card holders can temporarily leave Australia and not have their cards cancelled if they are
  away for less than 13 weeks. If you are leaving Australia for 13 weeks or more your concession card may
  be cancelled.

We may be advised by Australia’s immigration department of your departure from or return to Australia. If
we do not know you have left Australia, you may be overpaid and have to pay back any extra money you
receive. Many other factors may affect your payment so you must contact us before you leave Australia.

If you are receiving a payment from us and are travelling outside Australia (including to Norfolk Island) you
can call the ‘13’ or ‘1800’ number listed at the back of this booklet that is most relevant to your particular
situation for more information.

Compensation payments

Personal injury compensation for an accident or illness related to your work or for injuries caused by a motor
vehicle accident can affect your payments from us. If you receive:

• a lump sum compensation payment you may not be able to receive payments from us for some time,
  depending on the amount of compensation you get, or

• compensation in instalments, your payments from us may be reduced dollar-for-dollar.

Before you start to spend or invest your compensation payment, you need to know how long that money will
have to last and if you have to repay any money to us.

Before you agree to accept any compensation, you or your solicitor should contact our Compensation
Recovery Team to get an estimate of how your compensation may affect your payments from us. For more
information see the brochure Are you receiving or about to receive compensation available at
www.centrelink.gov.au

Our Financial Information Service Officers are also available, free of charge, to discuss how compensation
may affect your payment from us.

Waiting periods and preclusion periods
In some circumstances your payments may be affected by a waiting period or preclusion period.

Ordinary Waiting Period—this is a one-week waiting period during which you will not be paid.
Income Maintenance Period—if you or your partner receive leave entitlements or redundancy payments
from employment, including annual leave, long service leave, sick leave and maternity leave, you may have
to wait for the period covered by this payment before receiving your Centrelink payment.

Liquid Assets Waiting Period—if you have liquid assets above a set limit on the day after you or your
partner cease work or become incapacitated, you may have to wait for up to 13 weeks before being paid.
This can only be served once every 12 months and it can be served at the same time as the Income
Maintenance Period.

Qualifying residence periods and Newly Arrived Resident’s Waiting Period-—to claim most Centrelink
payments and services you must be an Australian resident and in Australia when you claim. For many
customers there are also waiting periods before you can receive certain payments or services. Please refer to
’Residence requirements’ on page 26. For more information on the Newly Arrived Resident’s Waiting
Period and qualifying residence periods in Australia that may apply to various payments and services, see
Centrelink’s other Life Events booklets. These are available at www.centrelink.gov.au or by asking at a
Centrelink Customer Service Centre.

Moving to an Area of Low Employment—if you reduce your chances of getting a job without a valid
reason by moving to an area where the likelihood of finding work is significantly lower, you may have to
wait 26 weeks before getting any payment.

Seasonal Work Preclusion Period—if you or your partner have undertaken seasonal, intermittent or
contract work in the previous six months and earned a higher than average income, you may have to wait an
additional period before being paid.

Unemployment Non-Payment Period—if you cease suitable work voluntarily without a valid reason or are
dismissed due to misconduct, you may have to wait eight weeks before being paid. You may have to wait 12
weeks before being paid if you received relocation assistance through your Job Services Australia provider
to take up this work.

For the Ordinary Waiting Period, Income Maintenance Period, Liquid Assets Waiting Period,
Unemployment Non-Payment Period and Seasonal Work Preclusion Period, hardship provisions may apply
that reduce the amount of time a person has to wait before payment is made.

Assurance of Support
If you have arrived under an Assurance of Support, it means your assurer is required to support you in
Australia for two or 10 years, depending on your visa type. If you or your dependants claim certain
payments from us, the assurer must repay the full amount to the government. These payments may include:

• Austudy

• Newstart Allowance

• Parenting Payment

• Partner Allowance

• Sickness Allowance

• Special Benefit

• Widow Allowance

• Youth Allowance
The assurer must also repay certain add-on payments, such as Rent Assistance and Crisis Payment, back to
the government if received with one of the payments listed above.

For more information see the Assurance of Support factsheet. This is available by visiting
www.centrelink.gov.au calling 13 2850 or asking at a Centrelink Customer Service Centre.

Paying tax
In general, if your payment from us is your only source of income you will not have to pay tax. However,
some payments are taxable and have to be added to other income you receive during the financial year.

If your payment is taxable, we can take tax from the payment on your behalf. For more information speak to a
qualified accountant or call the Australian Taxation Office on 13 2861.

The tax treatment of payments made during a bereavement period may also differ due to the special rules
that apply. For more information visit www.centrelink.gov.au or ask at a Centrelink Customer Service
Centre.

Changes to payment rates
Most payment rates are adjusted regularly in order to keep up with changes in the cost of living. For
information on changes to rates see the rates factsheet most relevant to your payment. These publications are
available by visiting www.centrelink.gov.au or asking at a Centrelink Customer Service Centre.

Keeping your payments in balance
You need to tell us about income and any changes in your situation so that we can pay you the correct
amount see ‘Changes in your life can affect your payment’ on page 28.

If you receive family assistance, you need to tell the Family Assistance Office about any changes to your
and your family’s income or circumstances as soon as possible to help reduce the risk of an overpayment.

In general, you need to tell us about changes within 14 days. This also applies to you if you have nominee
arrangements in place. You must also tell us the actual amount of money you earn (gross, before tax is taken
out) and the dates and hours that you worked.

To assist you to keep track of your and your partner’s work you can pick up an Income Record form from a
Centrelink Customer Service Centre.

Avoid getting a debt

The best way to help avoid getting a debt is to:

• be aware of changes we need to know about and tell us and the Family Assistance Office of any changes
  straight away

• listen carefully and ask questions if details seem unclear when talking to a Centrelink Customer Service
  Adviser

• provide your payslips when reporting your income to us

• read any letters you receive from us and advise us if any details are incorrect

• read our magazines, publications, newsletters and information related to your payment
• use our free interpreter services

• speak to Centrelink in languages other than English by calling 13 1202

• contact us by phone, in person, on the web or in writing at any time.

What happens if you have a debt?

Centrelink or the Family Assistance Office will send a letter with details of why the debt occurred, when it
happened, the amount of debt, when it is to be repaid and who you can talk to about it. If you receive one of
these letters but do not understand it, need more information, or have new information that may change the
debt, it is important that you contact Centrelink or the Family Assistance Office immediately.

What are your appeal rights?

Customers who disagree with any decision about debt recovery have access to the review and appeal
process. For more information see page 33.

What are the repayment options?

You can choose to repay your debt in cash, bank deductions from your financial institution or via the
internet. Family assistance (including future payments of Family Tax Benefit, Family Tax Benefit
Supplements and tax refunds) and/or payments paid to you by us may also be reduced to help recover
amounts owed. You can discuss additional payment options with us.

If you are having difficulty meeting your debt repayments, you should contact us as soon as possible to
discuss alternative arrangements.

Your rights and responsibilities
It is your responsibility to decide if you wish to apply for a payment and to make the application, taking into
consideration your particular circumstances.

Dealing with third parties
You may deal with a third party who is not a member of our staff. If you do, please remember that we have
not authorised any third parties to provide information or advice to you about payments and cannot be
responsible for the information these parties provide.

Getting someone to deal with Centrelink for you
Some of our customers have difficulty managing their business with us, often because of a disability or
illness or because of problems reading, writing, understanding instructions or handling money. We offer
customers who are receiving a payment and/or service from us and/or the Family Assistance Office several
ways for someone to deal with us on their behalf.

Person Permitted to Enquire
You can arrange with us to authorise a person or organisation to make enquiries to Centrelink on your
behalf. This is referred to as a Person Permitted to Enquire. This is not a nominee arrangement.

Nominee arrangements
There are two types of nominee arrangements:
Correspondence nominee arrangements enable you to authorise a person or organisation to act on your
behalf when dealing with us. Correspondence nominees can:

• make enquiries on your behalf

• receive copies of your mail

• notify of changes to your circumstances

• complete Centrelink forms and statements

• provide us with documents relating to your circumstances

• attend appointments with you or on your behalf.

Payment nominee arrangements enable you to authorise a person or organisation to receive your payments
into an account maintained by the nominee. A payment nominee can be:

• given only minimal information regarding issues affecting your payments

• asked to supply records of how the money received was used for your benefit. The nominee must maintain
  relevant financial records (monetary penalties may apply if they fail to do so).

You may choose to either have one nominee for both correspondence and payment arrangements or have
different nominees for each type of nominee arrangement. If you are interested in this kind of arrangement,
ask for the form authorising a person or organisation to enquire or act on your behalf.

A nominee is required to advise us of anything that might affect their ability to act as a nominee. Nominee
arrangements are subject to review. We are not obliged to accept a nominee arrangement unless it is in the
customer’s best interests. Individual nominees can register for self service to view or update information on
your behalf.

If you have a nominee appointed to manage your affairs, you cannot be appointed as a nominee for
someone else.

For more information visit www.centrelink.gov.au call 13 2300 or ask at a Centrelink Customer Service
Centre.

Our service commitments
Our Our Service Commitments is a public statement about our commitment to excellence in service
delivery.

The Our Service Commitments reflects what you and the community have told us is important to you in
your dealings with us. It states:

• what you can expect from us

• the standards of service against each commitment

• your rights

• what to do when you are unhappy with the services that you have received and how to provide other
  feedback, both positive and negative

• your responsibilities
• the methods of conducting business with us and how to contact us.

We monitor our service delivery through regular surveys, listening to your feedback and talking to
community organisations and other government agencies and departments. We publish our results quarterly
on our website and in the Annual Report, and use the results to update and improve the way we deliver
services.

For more information visit www.centrelink.gov.au call the ‘13’ or ‘1800’ number most relevant to your
circumstances or ask at a Centrelink Customer Service Centre.

How to provide feedback
We welcome all feedback as it tells us where we can improve our services and products, prevents similar
problems recurring and confirms what we are doing well. It is a valuable way for us to listen to you and to
identify and understand emerging customer service trends and issues. Your feedback also helps us to
identify areas where we need to support staff more effectively.

You have a right to provide feedback that includes compliments, suggestions for improvements and
complaints about our service, a decision we have made, the way that a policy is interpreted, staff behaviour
and attitude or any other aspects of our operations.

We will not discriminate against or otherwise disadvantage anyone who lodges a complaint or provides
other feedback.

You can provide feedback in a number of ways:

• talk to any Customer Service Adviser at any Centrelink Customer Service Centres

• complete a comment card, found at Centrelink Customer Service Centres

• complete an online comment card, by visiting www.centrelink.gov.au

• call the Customer Relations Line on Freecall™ 1800 050 004

• call 13 1202 if you speak a language other than English

• call the TTY Customer Relations Line on Freecall™ 1800 000 567 8.30 am to 4.30 pm EST if you are
  deaf or have a speech or hearing impairment a TTY phone is required to use this service.

The Commonwealth Ombudsman
You can contact the Commonwealth Ombudsman if you think we have not provided you with an adequate
service or if you think your complaint has not been handled satisfactorily. The Ombudsman is independent of
Centrelink.

The Ombudsman assists in ensuring transparency and fairness in the way people are treated by government
agencies and also helps improve public administration.

In most cases if you have not tried to resolve the problem with us, the Ombudsman’s Office will refer you
back to us. If you are still unhappy with our decision, the Ombudsman’s Office may choose to investigate
your complaint.

For more information visit www.ombudsman.gov.au or call 1300 362 072.
Reviews and appeals
If you are affected by a decision made about your Centrelink or Family Assistance Office entitlements, there
are several steps you can take to seek review of that decision.

You do not have to pay any costs to access these review services, except if you eventually appeal to a court.

Centrelink and the Family Assistance Office do not discriminate against customers who exercise their right
to seek review of or appeal decisions.

Contact Centrelink
If you are unhappy with a Centrelink or Family Assistance Office decision, you can discuss it with the
person who made the original decision. You don’t have to do this but many people find it a useful first step.
It gives you a chance to correct misunderstandings, present new information or evidence, and to get an
incorrect decision changed quickly.

If you think a decision is wrong, you have the right to ask for a review by an Authorised Review Officer
(ARO). You do not have to talk to the person who made the decision before asking for an ARO review. AROs
are senior and experienced people in Centrelink who will have had no previous involvement in your case.

You should ask for a review of a decision within 13 weeks of receiving advice of the decision. This is
because if the review is decided in your favour, in some cases back payment can only be made if the request
is lodged within this 13-week period. This does not apply to debt cases, and reviews of some Family Tax
Benefit decisions can be sought within 52 weeks of receiving advice of the decision.

When you request a review by an ARO, the person who made the decision may look at it first unless you
have asked for that not to happen in your case. If the person who made the decision does not change it, or if
you are still not happy with their new decision, your case will be reviewed by an ARO.

The ARO will:

• look at the information used by the person who made the original decision

• where possible, talk to you in person or by phone, to discuss the matter

• check whether any new, relevant information is available

• clear up any misunderstandings

• correct any mistakes that were made

• change the decision where appropriate, and

• inform you of the result explaining the reasons for their decision.

If you believe the ARO decision is incorrect, you can then apply for review by to the Social Security
Appeals Tribunal.

Note: If the decision is about ABSTUDY (and not a debt), Assistance for Isolated Children (and not a debt)
or about a Rural Ex Gratia Payment, Social Security Appeals Tribunal cannot review these decisions. There
are different review mechanisms for these decisions which are outlined at the end of this booklet.
Social Security Appeals Tribunal
The Social Security Appeals Tribunal (SSAT) is an independent statutory body that reviews social security
family assistance and student assistance decisions. It aims to provide a fair review process.

The SSAT can only look at a decision that has been reviewed by an Authorised Review Officer (ARO). You
should ask for a review of a decision by the SSAT within 13 weeks of receiving advice of the ARO’s
decision. This is because if the review is decided in your favour, in some cases back payment can only be
made if the request is lodged within this 13-week period. This does not apply to debt cases.

You can apply to the SSAT for a review of a decision by:

• phoning Freecall™ 1800 011 140 or TTY 1800 060 116

• visiting a SSAT office, Centrelink Customer Service Centre or Family Assistance Office, or

• sending or delivering a written application to your nearest SSAT office (GPO Box 9943 in capital cities),
  Centrelink Customer Service Centre, or Family Assistance Office.

The SSAT does not charge to review social security decisions. The SSAT has offices in all capital cities and
also visits regional centres from time to time. The SSAT can pay reasonable travel and accommodation costs
and will provide an interpreter at no cost when needed. Application forms and more information can be
obtained by phoning the SSAT on 1800 011 140 for the cost of a local call, from the SAAT’s website at
www.ssat.gov.au or by writing to the SSAT at GPO Box 9943 in your nearest capital city.

Hearings are conducted in an informal manner. They are not like a court and it is not necessary to bring a
lawyer. Hearings are in private, but you may bring someone with you who may also talk to the Tribunal.

After deciding on the merits of your case, the SSAT will write to you and Centrelink within 14 days, about
the decision.

Decisions made by the SSAT are binding on both you and Centrelink or the Family Assistance Office, but
either party may apply to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a further review of the decision.

Administrative Appeals Tribunal
The Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) is a more formal independent statutory body that resolves
disputes between people and government agencies. It aims to provide a mechanism of review that is fair,
just, economical, informal and quick.

The AAT can review decisions of the SSAT. Applications for review must be lodged in writing within 28
days of receiving the SSAT decision, although a late application might still be accepted. There is no charge
for making an application for review of a social security decision in the AAT. If your application is
unsuccessful, you will not have to pay Centrelink’s costs. If your appeal is successful, Centrelink will not
pay your costs. Application forms and more information can be obtained by phoning the AAT on 1300 366
700 for the cost of a local call, from the AAT’s website at www.aat.gov.au or by writing to the AAT at
GPO Box 9955 in capital cities. If you are hearing impaired, TTY users should phone 13 3677 then ask for
1300 366 700.

After you have lodged an application for review to the AAT, Centrelink will provide to the AAT a statement
of reasons for the decision, including all relevant Centrelink documents. A copy will also be sent to you.

The AAT will then hold a conference where you can talk to a Centrelink representative. The AAT will seek
to clarify the issues and, if possible, find a solution that satisfies both you and Centrelink.
If the matter is not resolved, the AAT will give you (and Centrelink) the opportunity to present evidence and
argue your case in a public hearing, and will then make a decision.

Decisions made by the AAT are binding on both you and Centrelink and the Family Assistance Office.
Either you or Centrelink can appeal a decision of the AAT to the courts, but only on a question of law.

Court Appeals
You can appeal an AAT decision to the courts on a question of law. You appeal to the Federal Court in the
first instance, and later to the High Court, which is the final level of appeal.

Court appeals are not free, but you may have the lodgement fee waived and keep costs down by representing
yourself. If your appeal is unsuccessful, you may have to pay Centrelink’s costs. If your appeal is successful,
Centrelink may have to pay your costs.

An appeal should be lodged with the Federal Court’s Registry within 28 days of receiving the AAT’s
decision in writing, although a late appeal might still be accepted.

Court requirements are complex. For more information visit the Federal Court of Australia’s website at
www.fedcourt.gov.au or seek legal assistance.

Reviews of ABSTUDY and Assistance for Isolated Children decisions
For ABSTUDY reviews, if you are not happy with an Authorised Review Officer’s decision, you can then
seek review of an assessment decision to the Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs and Workplace
Relations or a debt decision through the usual steps.

Applications to the Minister for assessment reviews must be made in writing and sent to:

  Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs and Workplace Relations
  Parliament House
  Canberra ACT 2600

For Assistance for Isolated Children reviews, if you are not happy with an Authorised Review Officer’s
decision, you can then seek review of an assessment decision to the Minister for School Education or a debt
decision through the usual steps.

Applications to the Minister for assessment reviews must be made in writing and sent to:

  Minister for School Education
  Parliament House
  Canberra ACT 2600

Reviews of Rural Payments
Centrelink administers a range of rural programs, including payments that are not covered by legislation.
Payments that are not covered by legislation have different review processes. Decisions about these
payments can be reviewed by the original decision maker and an Authorised Review Officer. You cannot
seek review of decisions about these payments to the Social Security Appeals Tribunal. The last point of
formal review is Centrelink’s Rural Programs Team.

If you are still not happy with the review outcome, you can make a complaint to the Commonwealth
Ombudsman. The Ombudsman can look at our decision and see if it was fair and reasonable. You can
contact the Ombudsman’s Office on 1300 362 072 for the cost of a local call anywhere in Australia.
Legal Assistance
You can, but do not have to be legally represented at any stage of the review and appeals system. Many
people have been successful at all stages without representation.

Free advice and help may be obtained from welfare rights centres and legal aid services.

Keeping your personal information private
We collect personal information about you in order to make sure you are paid correctly and receive the
service you (and where relevant, third parties) are eligible for. You have a right to have your personal
information kept private. We are bound by legislation that contains strict confidentiality provisions that limit
who can look at information about you and when it can be given out.

We are also bound by the Privacy Act 1988. The Privacy Act gives you a number of rights including the
following:

• you must be told why your personal information is being collected and whether it can be given to anyone
  else

• your personal information can only be collected for a lawful purpose

• you have the right to see what information is held about you and have it corrected if it is wrong or out of
  date (the Freedom of Information Act also covers this)

• you have the right to have your personal information stored securely and also protected from unauthorised
  access or misuse

• you have the right to know how your personal information will be used

• if you believe your privacy has been infringed, you can make a complaint to us.

Specific details of how your information will be used and who it may be given to can be found in the
privacy notices we provide when you give us personal information. If you have a question about privacy,
confidentiality or access to information, ask to be put in touch with the Centrelink Privacy Officer in your
area.

If you think we have breached your privacy or confidentiality, you can make a complaint to any of our
Centrelink Customer Service Centres. Your complaint will be taken seriously and investigated thoroughly. If
you are not satisfied with our investigation, you can make a complaint to the Privacy Commissioner.

Disclosure
The guidelines for release of personal information are strict. We may give your information to authorised
Commonwealth Departments and Agencies such as the Department of Human Services; the Department of
Education, Employment and Workplace Relations; the Department of Families, Housing, Community
Services and Indigenous Affairs; and their contracted service providers.

They may use your information to:

• determine your eligibility for correct payment

• refer you to appropriate assistance

• determine your eligibility and/or suitability for employment assistance and other services
• determine services and payments

• evaluate and monitor services provided by us, policy departments or contracted service providers

• recover overpayments.

We may disclose limited information about you (for example, about income and assets) to other parties when
your situation affects the payments and services they can receive.

Limited information about you may be used as part of market research undertaken by us, our policy
departments, the Department of Human Services, or by research organisations on behalf of Centrelink or
these departments. Your privacy is protected throughout this process. For more information see the Market
research and you factsheet, available by visiting www.centrelink.gov.au or asking at a Centrelink
Customer Service Centre.

In certain circumstances, we can give information about you to someone else if Australian Government
legislation allows or requires it. Where applicable, we provide information about your income and taxation
matters to the Australian Taxation Office and about relevant child support to the Child Support Agency. To
ensure you receive your correct entitlement, information is also data matched with other government
agencies and may be collected from relevant third parties, including, but not limited to, financial institutions,
employers or landlords, depending on your circumstances.

For more information see the Your right to privacy factsheet, available at www.centrelink.gov.au or by
asking at a Centrelink Customer Service Centre.

Freedom of Information
The Freedom of Information Act 1982 gives any member of the public a general right of access to
information held by Australian Government agencies.

Under the Freedom of Information Act you can make a request to:

• access documents held by Centrelink, including documents we hold about you

• amend records containing personal information that is incomplete, incorrect, out of date or misleading

• access manuals, rules and guidelines that Centrelink uses to make decisions about various legislation it
  administers.

For more information about making a freedom of information request visit www.centrelink.gov.au or ask at
a Centrelink Customer Service Centre.

The Data-Matching Program
The Data-Matching Program authorises several agencies to compare certain personal information they hold
to make sure tax, pensions and other payments are being paid correctly. These agencies include Centrelink;
the Department of Human Services; the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations;
the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs; the Department of
Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry; the Department of Health and Ageing; the Department of Immigration
and Citizenship and the Australian Taxation Office.

How to contact us
Visit www.centrelink.gov.au for more information about Centrelink payments and services or contact us in
any of the following ways.
By phone

About to retire or in retirement      13 2300

Seniors

Needing help after someone has died

Are you ill, injured or do you have a disability      13 2717

Caring for someone

Looking for work (21 and over)        13 2850

Are you a farmer, self-employed or rural Australian

Needing help in a crisis

Recently moved to Australia

Parent or guardian 13 6150

Family Assistance Office

Youth and Student Services 13 2490

Looking for work (under 21)

Youth Allowance

Austudy

Pensioner Education Supplement

ABSTUDY        13 2317

Assistance for Isolated Children      13 2318

Australian Government Services
Fraud Tip-off Line 13 1524

BasicsCard Balance Check Freecall™ 1800 057 111

Centrelink Business Hotline 13 1158

Centrelink International Services 13 1673

For information about claiming a payment from a country other than Australia and about claiming or
receiving an Australian payment while outside Australia

Country calling from                                       Free call phone number
Austria                                                    0800 295 165
Canada                                                     1888 2557 493
China – North*                                             10 800 6100 427
China – South                                              10 800 2611 309
Denmark                                                    8088 3556
Germany                                                     0800 1802 482
Greece                                                      0080 0611 26209
India                                                       000 800 61 01098
Indonesia                                                   001 803 61 035
Italy                                                       800 781 977
Republic of Korea                                           003 081 32326
The Netherlands                                             0800 0224 364
New Zealand                                                 0800 441 248
Philippines                                                 1800 1611 0046
Poland                                                      00 800 6111 220
Portugal                                                    800 861 122
Singapore                                                   800 6167 015
Spain                                                       900 951 547
Thailand                                                    001 800 611 4136
Turkey                                                      00 800 6190 5703
United Arab Emirates                                        800 061 04319
United Kingdom                                              0800 1695 865
The United States of America                                1866 3433 086
*China (North) includes the provinces of Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Shanxi, Inner Mongolia, Heilongjiang,
Liaoning, Jilin, Shandong and Henan. All other provinces are considered to be China (South) for this
purpose. This free call may not be available from every location within the country, and may not be free
from mobile phones or public phones.

If free call numbers are not available, you can reverse charges to +61 3 6222 3455 by requesting this
through your local operator in your country of location, if this service is provided by your local telephone
provider.

Customer Relations Freecall™ 1800 050 004

Suggestions, complaints or compliments

Drought Assistance     13 2316

Financial Information Service         13 2300

Financial Information Service seminar bookings       13 6357

Foreign Income Exchange Line          Freecall™ 1800 050 041

If you get income from a country other than Australia and want to know the exchange rate that has been
applied to that income by Centrelink.

Income Management Line 13 2594

Indigenous Call Centre         13 6380
Payments for Australian Apprentices          13 3633

To speak to Centrelink in languages other
than English 13 1202

TTY* Customer Relations Freecall™ 1800 000 567

TTY* Enquiries        Freecall™ 1800 810 586

*TTY is only for people who are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment. A TTY phone is
required to use this service.

Note: calls from your home phone to Centrelink ‘13’ numbers from anywhere in Australia are charged at a
fixed rate. That rate may vary from the price of a local call and may also vary between telephone service
providers. Calls to ‘1800’ numbers from your home phone are free. Calls from public and mobile phones
may be timed and charged at a higher rate.

Some tips when calling

• Stay on the line—try not to hang up and redial, you may wait longer

• Have your details ready—it helps if you have your reference number and any letter you want to talk about
  with you when you call

• Have a pen and paper ready to take notes

• We will not give you details about other people, even family members, unless you have written
  permission or they are with you when you call.

In person

When you visit a Centrelink Customer Service Centre you will be referred to an appropriate Customer
Service Adviser. Appointments can also be arranged. If you live in a rural or remote area, Centrelink has an
extensive network of Agents and Access Points that may also be able to assist you.

For more information call 13 2316 or ask at a Centrelink Customer Service Centre.

In writing

Our contact address is on every letter we send you, or refer to the White Pages for the address of your
nearest office.

Centrelink self service
A growing number of our services are available online and over the phone. Centrelink self service is a quick
and convenient way to report, update or view your personal details without having to speak to a Centrelink
Customer Service Adviser or visit a Centrelink Customer Service Centre.

You need to register to access these services. There are several ways you can do this:

• online—go to www.centrelink.gov.au and select the ‘Register’ link found under the ‘Logon’ button at the
  top right of the page. You can register for both the Online and Phone Services using the online registration
  process

• phone—call 13 6240 to self register for Phone Self Service
• call your regular ‘13’ or ‘1800’ number, or

• in person at a Centrelink Customer Service Centre.

We place great emphasis on maintaining and enhancing the privacy and security of your personal
information. When you register, you will need to answer a few questions about yourself and your Centrelink
record if you have one. It will be helpful if you have your Customer Reference Number (CRN) and proof of
identity documents, including those you have already provided to Centrelink.

Secret questions and answers are used to help verify who you are. You will be required to provide five secret
questions and answers when you register for the online or phone service. Secret questions and answers are
used to increase protection over your personal and sensitive information. You will need to correctly answer
a secret question when you log on and if you need to reset your password.

For terms and conditions regarding the use of Centrelink self service, please refer to ‘Conditions of use’ in
the Online Services section at www.centrelink.gov.au

Online Services—are secure, convenient and protect your privacy. Some of the options that make it easier
for you to do business with us:

• report income, Activity Test/participation requirements and changes to your circumstances

• view your Centrelink payment history and check when and how you next Centrelink payment will be

• apply for an Advance Payment

• print an Income Statement, Rent Certificate or Reporting Statement

• update contact details, bank account details and study details

• view a summary of your current income and assets

• view, add, change or cancel deductions

• check appointment details and reporting dates, and

• claim for Age Pension, student payments and family assistance payments.

Phone Self Service—provides you with a convenient way to do some of your Centrelink business:

• call 13 6240—to access a range of phone services

• call 13 3276—(13 EARN)—to report income, Activity Test/participation requirements and changes to
  your circumstances.

For more information about reporting requirements visit www.centrelink.gov.au

Nominee access to Online Services—gives nominees the choice to do Centrelink business on behalf of a
customer they are a nominee for, using Online Services.

Online Letters—gives you the choice to view some letters from Centrelink online rather than having them
sent to your postal address.

Electronic Message Reminder—is a free personalised reminder service that sends an SMS text message or
email to remind you about appointments and other messages.

For more information about Centrelink self service visit www.centrelink.gov.au
Medicare Australia Online Services
Medicare Australia’s Online Services provide you with an extra way to view, update and request
information and services from Medicare Australia.

You can register for Online Services at www.medicareaustralia.gov.au or at your local Medicare office.

Online Services is useful if you can’t get to a Medicare office or just prefer to do your business online.

Once registered for Online Services, you can:

• lodge some Medicare claims online

• request a replacement or duplicate Medicare card—only two replacement Medicare cards can be
  requested online per year

• register and update your bank account details—claim at your doctor’s and get your Medicare benefit paid
  into your bank account

• update your personal details—such as contact details, preferred language, Indigenous status and Medicare
  card address

• view, print and save your Medicare claims history statement—for up to 12 months from the date of the
  request

• view your Medicare Safety Net balance

• view, print and save your Medicare benefit tax statement—previous and current financial years available

• view your Individual Healthcare Identifier number history

• view and update your Individual Healthcare Identifier number alternate names

• view your Care Plan access history

• view your organ donor registration details

• view your child’s immunisation history statement—a statement of your child’s first seven years is
  available to parents of children aged up to 14 years.

Disclaimer
The information contained in this publication is intended only as a guide to payments and services. It is your
responsibility to decide if you wish to apply for a payment and to make an application, with regard to your
particular circumstances.

This information is accurate as at July 2011. If you use this publication after that date, please check with us
that the details are current.

Giving you options
Centrelink is an Australian Government agency within the Human Services Portfolio, delivering payments
and services on behalf of a number of government departments, including:

• the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
• the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, and

• the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.

Information for all the times in your life


CO183.1107

								
To top