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ATTN : AUSSIES - ANY DEALINGS WITH CENTRELINK ?

 
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sojourner



Joined: 28 Jan 2003
Posts: 728
Location: nice, friendly, easy-going (ALL) Peoples' Republic of China

PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2005 1:57 pm    Post subject: ATTN : AUSSIES - ANY DEALINGS WITH CENTRELINK ? Reply with quote

How many Aussie teachers, out there, have had dealings with Centrelink - especially in relation to demands for one to repay purported overpayments ? How did you cope with these demands ? Could you recommend the name of any welfare rights advocacy group ?

I have found Centrelink absolutely hopeless ! They never reply to one's email messages or snail mail. Grrrr !

Peter
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lozwich



Joined: 25 May 2003
Posts: 1536

PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2005 3:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Peter,

Back when I was at university, and Centrelink was still Austudy and Social Security, I had the great fortune to have a summer job where I earned $13,000 in 3 months (yes, it was legal!), so they docked my Austudy payment, because the amount threw out all their financial year calculations. Then, at the end of the year, I got another (a lot less well paid) job, which meant the tiny amount they were giving me was also overpaid. It took quite a number of months to sort all of this out, including one week where I recieved a demand for payment every day, with amounts varying from $1,600 to $1,604,350.

There was very little I could do in this situation, except go down to the office every day, and talk to the one person who I decided was going to deal with all of this for me and speak very firmly to them. In the end, they decided that I owed them a paltry $32, but it took 3 months of almost daily contact to get that sorted, the cost of which the taxpayer bore. Of course, when the next year according to my calculations they had actually underpaid me, they didn't seem quite so interested!

Anyway, what I did, was find one person who could deal with all of this and address all of my communications to them, and only talk to them, which made them responsible, but also meant that they knew the ins and outs of my case. There is also an Ombudsman that I would suggest you contact, especially if they are going to start garnishing your pay or any income you might have.

Don't give up, and don't let those rigid, uncompassionate *beep* grind you down, especially when it sounds like it might be a mistake in the first place.

Good luck!
Lozwich.
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ramakentesh



Joined: 05 Mar 2005
Posts: 145

PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 7:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Centrelink is an uncompassionate, bungling, departmentalised, mean-spirited organisation that employes the dregs of Australian public service (i should know, I used to work there Smile )
Unlike other government institutions, Centrelink provides less review rights and dont tend to flinch from legal action - even if its quite obvious that they are at fault and not the individual.
Centrelink hasnt always been this way, but the current government in australia has turned it into a vindictive institution - and most people I know would agree that its easier to get a job or parttime work than try to jump the myriad of hurdles that Centrelink push in your way just to get some type of benefit from them.
I would look for an ombadsman - but unless your prepared to take it to court, they will bluff you.
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