Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Centrelink – Name and Shame

I persisted with the Centrelink applications, even though I tried 2 years ago and felt like I was being treated dirt.

Previously I’ve been denied assistance because of their attitude and being in the fragile state I was, I couldn’t afford the knock-down of dealing with more garbage in my life by following up forms etc.

3 weeks ago I went back to the same office and I was told (word for word) “It’s your fault” “Don’t blame us”, “If you don’t apply we won’t give you money” “We don’t care if you don’t have any money”

These were just SOME of the insults thrown at me from ONE person. I was also told I need financial counseling.

I was also told to seek emotional counselling.

I knew it was going to be bad – but I didn’t think applying for family payments would be so soul destroying, demoralising and make me feel like killing myself. For 24 hours prior I felt sick knowing I would have to face ‘those’ people again.

I had some forms thrown at me, and told to fill them in, come back when you’ve completed them and if they’re not completed in full, we have the right to reject them.

This occurred at the Epping, Victoria Centrelink office and I felt physically sick both before and after.

I confided in a girlfriend and she was aghast that people could treat me like that.

She took me under her wing and we went to a different office the following week. Talk about chalk and cheese.

The new office even had me applying for things that I’m fully entitled to and yet Epping didn’t even offer, (let alone check my circumstances) for any other supplementary income.

My girlfriend was appalled and so was the new Centrelink office, both advised that I make a complaint against the Epping Centrelink office, which I have just done, This isn’t a once off with me with that office. The 3 times in 10 years I’ve been to that office, I’ve had 3 bad experiences. And yet the ‘new’ office was a complete change and the attitude of staff was amazing, They didn’t see me as a leech – they saw me as a person.

So if you deal with Centrelink, perhaps take some Valium and pray that you get a good office with good people.


  1. Glad u made complaintyeards a company that I have worked for for 11 years I hate to think of attitudes like that out there when we are there for people at some of the hardest times of their lives. I am so glad u got a great experience in the end. The way it should be. God bless

  2. Thank--you for taking the time to comment, misha

    There must be good people working at Centrelink - I've met some of them. I do wonder if the manager is the cause of the underlying problems at that one office. Considering it's been ongoing (for me) for 10 years. I'm sure for others also.

    You can only ask for help some many times before you can't ask for help anymore and that was the stage I was at.

  3. So glad you made a complaint. I never to to Centrelink at all. I do my applications online (Family Tax Benefit and Childcare) and make any claims I need to make via the Medicare Office - they treat you like a human.

    So glad you got some help, it's soul destroying when you make the effort to ask for help, and they kick you in the teeth.

    All the very best.

  4. This was soemthing that couldn't be done online - part of it maybe - but not all of it - I didn't know where to start and I went to the place that was meant to help and their attitude over the past 10 years, not only frightened me - it cowered me into not going near them again.

    If I was to relate to entire story, you would ne horrified, this is only the bit that can be published.

    Thanks for commenting @MrsMolder - your comments are really appreciated.

  5. Glad you got a good result in the end. Shame on Centrelink for appalling customer service. Public servants should remember that they are there to serve the public, NOT the other way round.

  6. While I am not defending the Epping office, it could well be the type of clients that they regularly have to deal with. It is hard for them at times, but they should be able to pick the decent from those they get exasperated with.

  7. Andrew,

    you have hit the mail on the head - but there is supposed to be NO difference between the office in Toorak (assuming) and the office in Broadmeadows and the office in Epping or Greensborough. No difference what-so-ever.
    I should be able to walk into any of those offices and be treated with the same level of disdain OR actual customer service. I got two sides of the coin and should not have.

    Not too hard to understand WHY I'm complaining. We pay their eages, shouldn't there be an expectation of the same level of service across ALL offices?

    I wasn't asking (or even demanding) anything less than what I've been entitled to for 10 years, and not asked for because of prior attitude from these office, but was told it's 'My Fault' etc. that's NOT right regardless of who you work for EVER

    Thanks for the comment Andrew, I enjoy it when you take them time to pop past and make comment!

  8. Maralyn - you are right - we pay their wages and they are meant to 'serve/help' the public and yet some offices seem to do it in such a manner so that they don't have to do it.

    First it I was intimidated and then after speaking to a freind it made me angry but it took a week to realise that I needed to complain to try and get the situation inmproved for others

  9. Good lord nothing has changed at the epping centre link. We were treated like absolute rubbish. The woman in the same exact words told us ' well if you are not working u should be able to come in the morning, we cant help you now come in the morning since you;re home doing nothing'

  10. Had same in Devonport Tasmania. treated like crap.I got badly hurt at work in wa.Had ops.then had payout for injuries. week later got burnt out from yarloop Bush fire.lost insurance.(can't afford whilst on components).Had to move family back to tas as family there.suffering from depression. Had to use components money to move and get started again. when to centrelink.lady just laughed at me and said they don't care what happened since payout and money gone.Will not let me claim any type of benefits. I can see now why one day someone's going to walk into a centrelink and end up on national television. I'm disabled and trying to find any type of work to get food on off donations. wife gets 607 a fortnight and rents 580 a fortnight.

  11. Exactly AND if you've had any sort of compo payout - they'll ask for proof for the rest of your life, even if $3,000............................... we're still not brilliantly well-off, but the hand to mouth existence at the time of this being written is not occurring. can I suggest a vegie patch? Doesn't take a lot of money to set up and it gives forever, with very little outlay and moderate work. Our patch is only 3m x 3m, but it provides seasonal vegetables all year round. Take care xx