Jump to content

Contacting Centrelink
Anyone had trouble getting through lately?

  • Please log in to reply
16 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 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.

#11 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.

#12 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.

#13 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

#14 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!

#15 GeminiSix

Posted 01 February 2013 - 09:47 AM

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!

#16 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.

#17 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


Newborn baby found in a nativity scene

Police are trying to trace a woman who abandoned a baby boy in the manger of a church nativity scene.

Life would be harder without my kids

The Humans of New York Facebook page is well known for sharing touching, real stories from one of the world's biggest cities – and it's just hit the heart of parents everywhere.

Mum dresses as Wonder Woman for last day of chemo

A Brisbane mum dressed up as a superhero to celebrate the end of her chemotherapy and created a moment her family will remember forever.

How a raisin can predict a toddler's IQ

All you need to assess a child's future intelligence is a plastic cup and a raisin, according to new research.

Former Hi-5 member's cannabis hope

Former Hi-5 star Tim Harding hopes a cannabis-derived drug will help control his daughter's epilepsy, which sees the four-year-old suffering between 50 and 100 seizures a day.

The top 5 reasons your toddler throws a tantrum

Whilst to the outside world little people may appear to have it easy, it's actually not always the case – just ask any toddler who's had their toast cut up the wrong way.

Glenn McGrath thought he'd lost his wife and baby

Australian cricket ledged Glen McGrath has spoken about the moment he thought he might lose his wife, Sara and their baby daughter, Madison.


Inside my Centrelink nightmare

Mother Bec Smith has been trying for months to access Centrelink payments. A "serious error" is preventing her.

Warnings over push for hourly childcare billing

Australia's peak childcare body has called for caution around the Turnbull government's push for childcare centres to charge parents by the hour, not by the day.

Cate Blanchett thought about adopting for years

Cate Blanchett says her recent adoption of a baby girl had nothing to do with wanting a daughter after having three sons.

Kate Walsh: 'I can't have kids'

Grey's Anatomy star Kate Walsh has revealed she is unable to have children because she has experienced early menopause.

The parasite that could boost fertility

The Tsimane women of Bolivia are often revered as among the most fertile in the world - on average having 10 children in their lifetimes -- but some are even more fertile than others.

Family may sue cousin over genetics

A Melbourne couple is suing the Royal Children's Hospital for failing to diagnose a genetic disorder in their first child - an error they allege caused them to have another child with severe disabilities.

Strange things mums have done in labour

While most women in labour focus on the upcoming birth of their baby, some women do more interesting things.

Michael Clarke reveals baby's name

When Michael Clarke said he was wrapped around the finger of his little princess, he wasn't joking.

The logistics of breastfeeding twins

Our life is more or less divided into neat four hour parcels of time and it's hard to get much of anything done in the time between feeds.

How to stop people ruining Christmas

We can make a conscious effort about how we react to those curly Christmas day scenarios that can send us up the wall, or should we say chimney.

Lots of formula offers for desperate mum

The mum who was down to her last three tins of baby formula said she had received hundreds of calls and offers to send her formula.

Surviving breast cancer while pregnant

It was last thing Rebecca O'Donnell expected at 30 weeks' pregnant. One morning, while putting on her bra, she felt a pea-sized lump in her right breast.

Cot sheet brands for the nursery

With so many awesome cot sheet options these days, we thought we'd put together a list of go-to brands for you to seek out for your baby's bed.


What's hot on EB

How I survived breast cancer while pregnant

It was last thing Rebecca O'Donnell expected at 30 weeks' pregnant. One morning, while putting on her bra, she felt a pea-sized lump in her right breast.

Grieving father's letter to Bataclan terrorists: "...this little boy will threaten you by being happy and free"

A grieving father whose wife was killed in the attacks on the Bataclan Theatre last weekend has written an open letter to her killers.

5 challenges of motherhood - and how to see them differently

Despite the smiles, the sloppy kisses and the pure magic children bring to our lives, it's hard to deny that motherhood can be tough.

4 challenges of being a new dad - and how to face them

Becoming a parent is challenging – and that applies to both mums and dads.

My battle against antenatal and postnatal depression

I was five months pregnant when I realised I needed help.

Children swapped at birth will not be returned to biological parents

A boy and girl accidentally swapped on the day they were born will stay with the families who have raised them, a South African court has ruled.

A quarter of men believe they get 'man periods'

A British study has revealed one in four men believe they have a monthly cycle.

Baby deposit

How much do you need to save for a 'baby deposit'?

It's fairly straightforward to calculate a house deposit, but how much money do you need to save up for a baby?

Dad's beautiful note to his wife, a nurse

To anyone else it might just look like a picture of a mum having a nap with her toddler.

'I was a complete schmuck': Mike Baird opens up about his wife's postnatal depression

When his wife Kerryn was not well following the birth of their daughter, NSW Premier Mike Baird buried himself in his work.

Mum's desperate plea as whooping cough alert issued

A desperate mother has shared a heart-breaking video of her baby struggling to cope with a coughing fit caused by pertussis.

Coffee could help you live longer

New US research found people who report drinking three to five cups of coffee a day are less likely to die prematurely from heart disease, suicide, diabetes or Parkinson's disease.

The joy and dread of playdates

To live vicariously through your child is to rediscover anxieties you thought dead and buried.

Sick baby could die without scarce special formula, mum says

Lizzie Cann is down to her last three tins of a special formula in short supply.

Adorable toddler's strop foiled by squeaky shoes

We're probably all familiar with the pouty bottom lip and tightly crossed arms of a tot mid-strop.

More sex during World Cup created more baby boys

More sex during South Africa's World Cup meant a disproportionately high number of boys were born nine months later, a new study has found.

Win one of two ABC Shop prize packs in time for Christmas

What a boon it would be to have your toddler's Christmas gifts covered this year. We have two awesome ABC Shop prize packs to give away to two lucky winners.

Do fitness challenges really work?

Fitness challenges aren't new. There's Michelle Bridges 12WBT and a bunch of other programs if you really want to lose weight.

What are pregnant women Googling?

Pregnancy is a huge change for any woman, so it's natural we'll have questions - and turn to Google to ask them.



Can't decide?

Check out the Essential Baby Names section for some inspiration

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.