Centrelink delays - anything to do about it?

My friend is jobless and he is trying to apply centrelink (newstart) since june. Because he has a IP (below $160,000 and highly geared) and a few companies and trust(but inactive), centrelink keeps delaying because they have to go thru all the documents.

He's been waiting since June, and said each time an officer takes over the assessment of his trust/company, the officer will disappear. Although they say "it takes up to 2 weeks to do the assessment", each time they make him wait about 1 month, and when he calls to complain, only to find out that officer is on leave and his file is just left on someon's desk untouched. He even had officers admitting that they do not know what is a 'hybrod trust', hence probably why they just leave the file aside and do the easier ones first. And when a new officer takes over the file, they say the same "it takes 2 weeks to do the assessment". And then after 2 weeks he hears nothing from them again.

So until now, after 5 - 6 complaints to centrelink, and after the file was passed to the 4th assessment officer, finally they say ok, they're done (after 4 months wait - supposedly to be a 2 week process initially). But then, now they say they lost one of the document, and request that my friend refill out anohter document!

Is this the Centrelink standard? I thought Australian government agencies have a better standard than this? My friend says the standard of service is as bad as 3rd world government agencies.

So all the time my friend has been raking up his credit card, borrowing from family, while centrelink takes their sweet time. And my friend's got to pay all the credit card interest etc....

Is there an outside institution or agency that he can complain to against Centrelink's incompetence?

My friend was paying the higest bracket tax as his salary was very high. So the ATO takes the tax money happily, and there is a penalty if you file your tax late. But there is no penalty for Centrelink to delay the application and just let people go broke and hungry and loan money from credit card and loan sharks?
 
That's no good for your friend. It is so unfortunate that he is having a bad time with Centrelink, but I am not suprised.

Anyone with any drive to ever get ahead in this world is frowned upon by Centrelink.

They will be sifting through documents to find a way to not pay him money. It is their job.

Unless of course, you have not had a job for decades and would prefer the surf at Byron Bay.:mad:

Regards JO
 
So all the time my friend has been raking up his credit card, borrowing from family, while centrelink takes their sweet time. And my friend's got to pay all the credit card interest etc.... let people go broke and hungry and loan money from credit card and loan sharks?

Has he thought about selling the property? Surely letting go of it would 1. free up some equity 2. free up cashflow 3. avoid expensive loans 4. lower the complexity for Centrelink (assets etc)

Centrelink have to check that there is nothing dodgy happening here - for all they know, he may have a fancy set up with assets hidden away left right and centre....

Cheers,

The Y-man
 
geesus - having income protection insurance woul be a better option - and i don't believe in it!!!

maybe he should become a breathairian?
 
Personally, I'm not sure I agree that with a person with potentially liquid discretionary assets (i.e. investments) should be putting their hand in the taxpayer's pocket to begin with.
 
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Personally, I'm not sure I agree that with a person with potentially liquid discretionary assets (i.e. investments) should be putting their hand in the taxpayer's pocket to begin with.

"Potentially" liquid. I've had my second-biggest asset for sale for a few months now, with Centerlink breathing down my neck pestering me for a settlement statement and nagging me about my "investment property" and it has just been sitting there empty costing me money. You can't eat a house.

Yet another reason to get tenants in it ...
 
good news is that he is going to get a big payout once it's approved, because from memory the pay starts from the date you apply, not from the date they make a decision.
 
Centrelink has a Customer Service Charter that they must abide by:
http://www.centrelink.gov.au/internet/internet.nsf/about_us/customer_charter.htm

There is an Commonwealth Ombudsman that you can take complaints to. http://www.ombudsman.gov.au/commonwealth/publish.nsf/Content/home

hmm, they have a service charter, but what happens if they don't comply? It seems there is no outside body that overules Centrelink's incompetence.

If they have delays upon delays, they say "oh we apologize, it's unacceptable, but,... that's just how it is".... and they keep covering it up with "we need more documents". But now, my friend told me, the document that centrelink claimed was 'missing' (the one that caused some of the delays), has been magically found in another department. So it was their fault, and my friend has to endure all these months with no income, eating off his credit cards and borrowing from family.

Aparently my friend threw a tantrum this morning over the phone at the Centrelink guy who told him he had to refill that document and bring all the original supporting docs again. Then my friend filed a complaint to Customer Relations who later called the Centrelink office to search and locate that 'missing' document. Now it magically appeared within a few hours. How amazing! Only showed that they didn't give 2 hoots about locating it before and just want my friend to refill the thick forms again...

So all you get is an apology, and my friend has received many apologies each time he complains, but still didn't speed up the application........ some standard of service...

I always think, if there's no penalty, they won't be motivated. Eg the ATO tells us we must hand in our tax by x date, if not, late penalty.
 
"Potentially" liquid. I've had my second-biggest asset for sale for a few months now, with Centerlink breathing down my neck pestering me for a settlement statement and nagging me about my "investment property" and it has just been sitting there empty costing me money. You can't eat a house.

Yet another reason to get tenants in it ...

...or to buy property that may have higher liquidity. We were in the dire situation 2007-2008 where we had to do an emergency offload. Luckily, low end inner city 1BR and 2 BR apartments were easy to get rid of.... the higher end 1BR (still have it! couldn't sell) and the house on the other hand.... (I think someone got a ripper bargain on the house :))

Cheers,

The Y-man
 
Personally, I'm not sure I agree that with a person with potentially liquid discretionary assets (i.e. investments) should be putting their hand in the taxpayer's pocket to begin with.

I agree with you.
We had a tenant who we issued a notice to quit within 15 days. unless they brought their rent up to date.
Told them a previous tenant had asked for emergency funding from Social assisstance. They asked..and were told no.
(secretly glad).

They somehow managed to come up with the money.
 
Welcome to reality.
Why would you expect any different?
That's why you need a cash buffer and a low LVR coming into economic periods like these.
Highest tax bracket, and 160k i a problem? does not compute in my world.

Personally, I'm not sure I agree that with a person with potentially liquid discretionary assets (i.e. investments) should be putting their hand in the taxpayer's pocket to begin with.
This is a little too communist even for me lol
And I would argue that in most cases they are liabilities not investments.
With one friend Centrlink argued that gross company income was personal income because there was only one director.
I also have a friend who was denied unemployement benefits because he had money in managed funds. They lost 50% of their value, the fund froze all withdrawals, and still centrelink said they won't pay anything until he uses up those funds. So after >10yrs of paying tax (paye) every week, he's has no funds, and no income.
Welcome to the doom & gloom!
 
...or to buy property that may have higher liquidity.
I've had it almost 7 years ... you don't usually buy a PPoR when you have a job with the plans of selling it because of Centerlink 7 years later. The thing falls so far under all the asset cut-offs anyway it is academic. Even rented out, the $3-4kpa it will be positively geared by is only half a centerlink pension and by no means enough money to support 4 people on. It does amuse me somewhat that centerlink expects you to feed 4 people on a little under 9k a year - impossible stuff, but them's the rules in some situations.
 
good news is that he is going to get a big payout once it's approved, because from memory the pay starts from the date you apply, not from the date they make a decision.

Correct!

I have a friend who works for Centrelink and for months she's been telling me that staff are leaving the place in droves! 1000's of new changes to get up to speed with, new software they all have to be trained on, constant abuse from clients, team leaders who are barely out of high school with little or no people skills (staff wise), low morale and so on.

I would guess that the file is getting passed around due to staff changes and because it's in the 'too hard basket' re: the hybrid trust - last dealings I had with them they didn't know what an LOC was.

As for constantly asking your friend to fill in more paperwork - if it's something he knows he's already filled in before - refuse to do it again and state it's already in the system. Trying to get him to do it again would cover a few things - laziness on someones part, mislaid paperwork due to staff movement, a delaying stategy while they 'try to find out' what a hybrid trust is all about, or to see if he puts different info on subsequent copies.

They do have free financial advisers with Centrelink - maybe getting one of them on side might help to get things sorted. They would HAVE to know about all this sort of stuff or at least have others to ask or ways of finding out. Ordinary counter staff on the other hand may not have the knowledge but are still expected to process the claim.


Olly
 
last dealings I had with them they didn't know what an LOC was.
I make a fair bit of money from Google Adsense and they literally don't have a form for genuine passive income. They can do shares, managed funds, term deposits, rental income, per-hour wage and businesses, but they simply cannot comprehend magic money in foreign currency (its in AU now so it would be easier) that just "appears". I get most of the money from web pages I put up some years ago so there's no $X per hour of work involved any more. Its a good thing I'm not on any of their pensions or benefits, the system is a pain in the butt to deal with, the family tax allowance one is a lot nicer. Less paperwork.
 
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