Jump to content

Contacting Centrelink
Anyone had trouble getting through lately?


  • Please log in to reply
17 replies to this topic

#1 katbalou

Posted 31 January 2013 - 07:57 PM

I have been trying to get through to Centrelink (13 61 50) for weeks now.   I keep getting an engaged tone.  I can't even get to the point where you find out you have to wait for 'in excess of 40 minutes' or get the option of a call back.  And I do know that you can call up to 8pm, and I have tried but still get the engaged tone.

I am not calling about the school kids bonus.  I have questions about why my FTB A has been reduced.  So after two weeks of not being able to get through, I thought I would go to my nearest Centrelink office (I live in a rural area - only get to town once a week or fortnight) and I would be able to get the information I needed.  When I arrived, a customer service officer greeted me to ask what I needed, to which she replied "OK, well we don't really have any experts in FTB here, but we'll see what we can do."   And I must admit that at the time I thought "WTF, if you aren't experts in FTB, who is?"    So I had to sit and wait for a while because it was pretty busy, during which time I thought, OK Centrelink does cover a wide range of services, so maybe they all don't know about all areas, but I thought that FTB was a pretty general area.

When I did get to sit with a customer service officer, she reiterated that she wasn't an FTB expert, but she would try to help with my question.  Well to be honest, while she was really conscientious, she couldn't help me, and didn't seem to know as much about the thresholds/income limits as I did from reading the Centrelink website.  (OK, so I'm pretty well versed, because I'm trying to make sure I don't get overpaid).  She tried to ring through, but was on hold the entire time I sat with her (approximately 40 mins) and eventually hang up and said "well we aren't going to have any luck there).  At the same time she was on the website trying to get answers - but she didn't seem to be able to access any 'inside information IYKWIM, only looking at stuff I had already looked at - general information available to all.

I did express some surprise (in a nice way) that there wasn't anyone with expertise in the FTB area in the Family Assistance Office, and she said "oh no, people think that, but we are only access points".  In that, there are phones to ring the Family Assistance Office, and internet access points.  But the phones don't get through, and there are many things you cannot do online, like ask why your payment has been reduced.

So after being in the Centrelink office for over an hour, I left quite frustrated.  She apologised for not being able to help and I felt bad for her, that she hadn't been adequately prepared for what she was expected to do.

So are there any Centrelink/FAO officers on here that know how it all works?  I thought since I couldn't get any joy on the phones, I would go "straight to the source", but it seems this is not the case.

#2 sandgropergirl

Posted 31 January 2013 - 08:01 PM

I suspect it is tough at the moment due to the changes to single parent payments. Very irritating that th office can't help! Geez, what's it there do if it can't help!

#3 Charli73

Posted 31 January 2013 - 08:06 PM

They are useless at the offices.. Last time I went in they put me on a computer and told me to do it online... But every time I try and log on it won't let me.. Useless.

I have a few friends that work there and they agree..

#4 SlightlyLeftFeral

Posted 31 January 2013 - 08:14 PM

I have given up trying to call them, I just go to their office now.

Although I must be lucky and I have always found the staff at my local office knowledgable, friendly AND helpful.

#5 gadfly271

Posted 31 January 2013 - 08:15 PM

I've had heaps of trouble getting through on that number this week too, always getting the engaged tone. Apparently it's because of the floods.

I can't help you with FTB but I did manage to get through today by just spending 5 minutes of so constantly hitting redial on my phone. This was at about 1pm. Maybe just keep trying?

#6 katbalou

Posted 31 January 2013 - 08:15 PM

I can access online from home, but there is some stuff you can't do online.  I have tried the phones at all hours of the day, to no avail.  I can't believe that they are setting their officers up for failure at these offices - she was such a lovely girl with a genuine desire to help, but didn't have the training or the resources.

#7 katbalou

Posted 31 January 2013 - 08:18 PM

QUOTE (gadfly271 @ 31/01/2013, 08:15 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I've had heaps of trouble getting through on that number this week too, always getting the engaged tone. Apparently it's because of the floods.

No, I've been trying since well before the floods. I'm sure it hasn't helped though.

#8 Tobias'smum

Posted 31 January 2013 - 08:31 PM

its also busy due to the floods in qld for emergency payments

#9 GreenEgg

Posted 31 January 2013 - 08:31 PM

Has any of your circumstances changed?  Some ideas....
Have  you recently lodged last years tax return which may have auto increased your income estimate if you earned more than you current estimate?
Are you single and your rate of child support has changed?
Were you receiving rent assistance and not lodged a rent certificate?
Have any of your children recently had a birthday? I think rates change at 5?

Just some of the possible reasons I can think of off the top of my head.  Hope you manage to get through soon.  Otherwise contact the Customer relations unit and make a complaint about not being able to get through and they may be able to follow it up for you.

Edited because I have horrible grammar.

Edited by GreenEggJimmyJamma, 31 January 2013 - 08:36 PM.


#10 Changes

Posted 31 January 2013 - 08:51 PM

^^^

OP, if you can answer some of these questions and give some details maybe someone could help you.

Not with the information you have given though.

#11 babychacha

Posted 31 January 2013 - 08:54 PM

I had been trying for the last two days.....constantly engaged. Got through this afternoon with a 45 min wait.....damn just forgot they were meant to transfer me through to somewhere so I could get a pin.

If you get a pin number, you can dial a different number and basically 'log your call' and they will call you back.

#12 The Old Feral

Posted 31 January 2013 - 08:57 PM

Is there a Medicare office near you?  They will also have FAO trained staff (if they haven't already been amalgamated with the Centrelink office).

Also, you can leave a message through online services to ask someone to call you.

Failing that, since you've tried every other avenue and your payment is affected, I think it's reasonable to escalate to the complaint stage.  1800 132468.

#13 HerringToMarmalade

Posted 31 January 2013 - 09:08 PM

I always go to the office, the wait time is so much shorter than on the phone. I was there yesterday (had to wait 30 minutes - longest wait yet) and there were people sitting on the phones they have there for far longer than I was there, and, like in your situation, the staff member at the desk next to me was just sitting on the phone. I think escalating is the only way you're going to get a response.

#14 happywith1

Posted 31 January 2013 - 09:14 PM

as a former Centrelink officer in the call centre the best advice is be ready to call at 7:59am by 8:30 there is over 650 calls in the queue on average and this is peak season as calls are coming in for new students and many new claims hence the delays. In terms of why your payment may be reduced in general- if any of your children have recently had a birthday they may have moved into the next pay bracket which is lower, the system may have picked up that you could possibly be overpaid and so has automatically reduced your payment to avoid that. You can also request that centrelink contact you- many people dont know this feature if you go onto the clink website and then click contact us it will say write,email or fax click that and then click message centrelink and finally click request contact- fill in the form and some one will call you within 2 business days

hope that helps original.gif sorry the access point couldn't help you they are a limited service

#15 Tammy Swanson

Posted 31 January 2013 - 09:16 PM

yeah totally hear you OP. I recently got sent a overpayment debt that was not correct I tried for two weeks to get it sorted and yeah the family assistance section is useless if you have a problem they are only great for lodging paperwork. You did well to get the lady to try and ring from the office I have never had that offer! We have a great govt benefits system that is very generous compared to other countries but their systems and infrastructure has a lot to be desired.
All I can say is that if had been reduced it might have something to do with your last tax return and your estimation for last year under estimated. Good luck though as it is so frustrating!

#16 GeminiSix

Posted 01 February 2013 - 09:47 AM

QUOTE
You can also request that centrelink contact you- many people dont know this feature if you go onto the clink website and then click contact us it will say write,email or fax click that and then click message centrelink and finally click request contact- fill in the form and some one will call you within 2 business days


I did this back on 10 January, I have just had to send a second one as no-one has contacted me, either by phone or email.  I am trying find out DD3's CRN, even though I get FTB for her not one piece of correspondence has her CRN on it.  So frustrating!

#17 Stacey*

Posted 01 February 2013 - 10:18 AM

QUOTE (GeminiSix @ 01/02/2013, 10:47 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I am trying find out DD3's CRN, even though I get FTB for her not one piece of correspondence has her CRN on it.  So frustrating!


Do you have online services? It lists the CRNs for my children in the the childcare bit even my 3rd who has never been to childcare.


#18 GeminiSix

Posted 01 February 2013 - 10:31 AM

Oh thank you Stacey!!  

I've just gone in there and yes - it is there!  That is about the only part of the website I didn't check.

She is listed as "not receiving child care benefit" (my other children are listed as "receiving child care benefit") and the online application to apply for childcare benefit says that it can only be used to apply once the child has started - not before!  

Does anybody know how I get it all set up so it is ready to go for her first day?  Do I actually need to make an formal application for childcare benefit for her, or, now that I have her CRN, and my other children are receiving it, will my percentages automatically be updated to include her once the child care provider puts her into their system?






1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users

 

Special Ticket Offer, Save $8!

The Essential Baby & Toddler Show is back this April! Save $8 off the door price for a limited time only!

Finding baby name inspiration in unusual places

Sometimes the greatest baby name ideas come from the most unexpected places, as these EB members show.

The case for inducing at 37 weeks

While we often think of pregnancy as a 40 week affair, experts agree that 37 weeks is actually “full term". So is there an argument for inducing all births at 37 weeks?

Does controlled crying really work?

Controlled-crying techniques may help some babies sleep through the night, but for many exhausted new parents, it's just a recipe for more tears all round.

How I taught my infant to use a toilet

As people become more aware of these benefits, I hope more parents will practice this method, so we can cut down on nappies and improve baby bonding.

'I thought it was impossible': Emily Symons pregnant at 45

Aussie actress Emily Symons has announced she is pregnant with her first baby.

Shallow water blackout kills fit, healthy dad

A little girl will grow up without her father after the fit and healthy 34-year-old passed away while doing something he had practised his whole life.

Afternoon naps may be bad for toddlers' sleep

You could be doing yourself a disservice by encouraging your toddler to have an afternoon nap, according to new research.

Best gifts for newborns, new mums and christenings

We've compiled a guide to some of the most popular presents for newborns and new mums, and for christenings and naming days.

Jaime King to be a mum again

Actress Jaime King is pregnant with her second child, giving 16-month-old James a sibling.

Nannies should receive government funding

The Abbott government should extend funding to nannies, and direct childcare payments to low and middle income families, a landmark study on childcare has found. 

Common skin irritations in newborns (and how to treat them)

As many as one in two newborn babies suffer from skin irritations in their first few weeks. So what are the most common rashes and irritations to look out for?

10 wall decals for the nursery or playroom

Wall decals are the answer to creating a beautiful nursery or children's space without lifting a paint brush, a spirit level or even a hammer.

Preschooler walks 2.4km home alone

Three-year-old Cain Trainor headed off home after his first day at a new preschool without telling anyone.

Video: Why mums get nothing done

In spite of being in an almost constant state of motion while looking after the kids and trying to keep things together at home, it can seem as though parents have managed to get nothing on the to-do list done by the end of the day.

The middle name game

The middle name is no longer an afterthought, and parents' inspiration comes from many places.

Have a baby or your money back - but there's a catch

A new IVF scheme offers couples the chance to fall pregnant and give birth - or get their money back. But there's more to it than you might think.

A rare glimpse inside the womb

A baby born still inside the amniotic sac gave US doctors a rare glimpse at life inside the womb.

Battered mum forced to write to her attacker ex in jail

Three years ago Jason Hughes viciously attacked his ex-partner. Now she has to write to him three times a year.

Woman pleads not guilty to ultrasound scam

A West Australian woman will fight allegations that she scammed expectant mums by selling them fake ultrasound pictures of babies.

Download now: Essential Kids Activity Finder app

Got bored kids? Quickly find the best activities for kids wherever you are in Australia with the Essential Kids app.

 
Advertisement
 
Advertisement
 
 
 

What's hot on EB

Brain damaged mum receives compensation

A Sydney mother who suffered brain damage when she was hit by a car while pushing her newborn baby in a pram has reached a confidential out-of-court settlement with the driver's insurance company.

Indigenous midwives break down the barriers

A culturally sensitive midwifery service has gained the trust and respect of Aboriginal women.

The Katering Show's next big delivery

Most mums-to-be plan to take things easy and perhaps have a little break from work as the birth of their baby draws near. Not Kate McCartney.

53 creative pregnancy announcements

Announcing that you're expecting can be a time to express your creativity, sense of humour and imagination. Check out how other parents and parents-to-be have broken the news to friends and family.

Why I have mixed feelings about Cindy Crawford's leaked photo

Last week an un-retouched photo of model Cindy Crawford surfaced, showing the 48-year-old mother-of -two posing in underwear.

How to create a Peppa Pig pancake

Thought your toddler could not love pancakes any more than they already do? How about if the breakfast treat came in the shape of every two-year-old's favourite cartoon character?

'It's a little life, not a little loss': pregnancy after miscarriage

I thought I was never going to be able to have a successful pregnancy. I decided that I wasn't going to form an emotional attachment with this baby.

Bonds Baby Search 2015: what you need to know

February 18 marks the start of one of the most prolific annual baby competitions in Australia: the Bonds Baby Search. And this year is going to be more special than ever.

Who will manage your Facebook account when you're gone?

This is not something that people like to talk about, but Facebook has announced that it will grant users more control over what happens to their pages after they die.

Struggling mum of four wins $188 million

Mother of four Marie Holmes was financially struggling after quitting her jobs at Walmart and McDonald's in order to care for her children.

Pregnant obese women a 'relatively new problem', coroner hears

A first-time mother whose daughter died hours after her frightening birth insists she was never told of the risks of being obese and pregnant.

'I'm angry as hell': the story behind mum's passionate vaccination plea

She has labelled parents who do not vaccinate their children "misinformed imbeciles" - and for that, she makes no apologies.

IKEA hacks for the nursery and kids' rooms

Are you one of those that know the whole IKEA catalogue by heart? Love their stuff but want to personalise it? Here's some inspiration to help you realise the potential of IKEA furniture and fittings.

8 different kinds of tantrums

I never thought I’d say this, but for a brief moment last week, Kim Kardashian and I had something in common: both our kids had public tantrums.

Polycystic ovary syndrome: symptoms, treatment and your fertility

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common female hormonal condition, affecting roughly one in 12 Australian women.

What's the best position for giving birth?

If doing it on your back is out, what's the best position for labour and birth?

Wife forgives snake catcher husband for car surprise

With Valentine's Day coming up, Nat Gilbert could be forgiven for thinking her husband might be planning a surprise for her.

Kids who meet milestones at their own pace

We usually only hear the success stories: tales of the two-year-old who’s talking, running and completely toilet trained. But other stories need to be told too.

Ruby shines as Bonds Baby

Sarah Kiss has a word of advice for proud mums and dads who are keen to enter their babies in this year's Bonds Baby Search Competition - just have fun.

Why dads should go to sleep school

If your family needs to go to sleep school, go with them. You are part of that family and you are part of the solution.

36 baby names inspired by food and drinks

A French court may have ruled out Nutella as a baby name, but that doesn't have to stop you from taking inspiration from the supermarket (or bottle shop). See what parents in the US have chosen for their delicious little ones.

Clever breastfeeding products

Check out this range of products designed to help make your breastfeeding journey more enjoyable, manageable and convenient.

 

Win a KitchenAid Mixer

Let's celebrate 300,000 fans on Facebook

To celebrate, and to thank our amazing fans, we?re giving away a KitchenAid Artisan Tilt-Head Stand Mixer.

 
Advertisement
 
 
Essential Baby and Essential Kids is the place to find parenting information and parenting support relating to conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids, maternity, family budgeting, family travel, nutrition and wellbeing, family entertainment, kids entertainment, tips for the family home, child-friendly recipes and parenting. Try our pregnancy due date calculator to determine your due date, or our ovulation calculator to predict ovulation and your fertile period. Our pregnancy week by week guide shows your baby's stages of development. Access our very active mum's discussion groups in the Essential Baby forums or the Essential Kids forums to talk to mums about conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids and parenting lifestyle. Essential Baby also offers a baby names database of more than 22,000 baby names, popular baby names, boys' names, girls' names and baby names advice in our baby names forum. Essential Kids features a range of free printable worksheets for kids from preschool years through to primary school years. For the latest baby clothes, maternity clothes, maternity accessories, toddler products, kids toys and kids clothing, breastfeeding and other parenting resources, check out Essential Baby and Essential Kids.