Kirsty (aphrael) wrote in bad_service,
Kirsty
aphrael
bad_service

Centrelink...Aargh!

I should, perhaps, be used to receiving bad service from Centrelink. They once cancelled my payment for no reason at all, and told me I would receive no further payments another time when I clearly should.

But this...this is great.

Bit of backstory - I've been receiving youth allowance from Centrelink since March, because I am studying. It's $334 a fortnight. I live in a unit with my partner (now fiance) that my Dad pays the rent for. This unusual situation has confused Centrelink many times, but now they understand. So my partner and I pay no rent. This excludes us from the whole "shared accomodation" shit that Centrelink would class us under.
Also, my fiance started a new job 2 weeks ago. He will be earning a lot of money. He was meant to get paid today, but now will not get paid for another fortnight. This is important. Currently he has earned nothing.



My fiance and I got engaged on the 25th of November, and he's been living with me since April. I decided to tell Centrelink now that we're engaged and also that he lives with me, because now he'll be earning a significant amount of money and they should know about that. I'm a good girl. So on the 27th of November, a Monday, I call Centrelink. Tell them I got engaged. And that my parter moved in with me. The girl I spoke to was...vague, at best. I explained we didn't know at that stage how much he would be earning, because they didn't know which award rate he fit into, but I gave her an approximate figure. I asked if, when he was earning that figure, would I still get paid? She laughed and said no, I would be entitled to nothing. She said that she would send me out a P1 form for my partner to fill in and I needed to bring it back within 14 days. However, I doubted her competency, so I just went to Centrelink myself and got a form there.

Fast forward until today, my reporting day. The P1 form lays on our floor, untouched, because it doesn't have to be in until Monday. Today is also my fiance's first pay day. Woo! Until he emails me. He hasn't been paid. Won't be paid for another fortnight. Shit, says I. We are totally broke. I report my income to Centrelink, which is zilch. However, it says that I should not report if there's been a change in my circumstances that Centrelink don't know about. Well, I think, they do know about it, but they haven't gotten the form. What if they give me this money and I'm not entitled to it? You hear all sorts of scary stories about having to pay Centrelink back if they make a mistake and stuff, so I thought I'd call them and check what happens now, since my partner hasn't earned anything and stuff.
I called the Youth Allowance line, and it's engaged. So I call the Employment line and get some man (and it could have been female, I have no idea, really) who sounds like he dropped off the planet years ago. I try to tell him what my problem is, but he doesn't get it. I tell him I just want to know if I'm entitled to this payment, because my partner hasn't earned anything. He can't tell me. Frustrated, I hang up and call again.
I get a nice but dense girl called Danielle. She can't look at my file because dumbfuck androgynous weirdo hasn't gotten out of it. She puts me on hold for a while then comes back and confirms with me what I want to know. This takes us 3 rounds of going back and forth because she doesn't seem to get I've already reported and just want to know if I'm entitled to my payment. I explain to her my partner hasn't gotten paid and I may as well be living on my own right now because I'd have the same amount of money. She says that I will get paid but I may have a debt. I ask her what that means, exactly. She says that the partner allowance is smaller than my own. I ask how that works, I ask if I get less money just because I have an extra person in my home. She says no, but if he's working I get less money. I said I knew that, but he hasn't gotten any money yet. She said to just bring in the form on Monday and ask the girl in Centrelink when I bring it in. So really, I am no wiser. She said perhaps I shouldn't touch the money I get paid just in case though.

WHY DOES NO ONE KNOW WHAT'S HAPPENING IN THAT ORGANISATION?!! I am just trying to determine whether I am going to get money I'm not entitled to. I don't want to do the wrong thing! I think they'll probably take the money from me anyway, because they'll reason that my fiance will get paid for this time period "eventually".

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