Centrelink Follow Up- The 13 Week Rule

Before I start let me say we are so very lucky to live in a country that has a Centrelink.

That being said, I had a moment at Centrelink that I thought I might share with you.

I had been told that my daughter qualified for rental assistance as she boards away from home a couple of days a week to enable her to go to school.

I filled in all the forms, checked that they were stamped and signed and had the right support documents. A fair bit of work.

I posted off the forms and waited.

Nothing happened. I was flat out working and caring for my daughter.  I kept thinking – maybe that application got lost.

I resigned myself to having to do it again.

Last week I had a free morning so I went to Centrelink and stood in line for an hour.

I took the supporting documents in case I had to do the application again.

I was told the application had been accepted and approved back in March.

Apparently the benefit didn’t happen because a status box needed to be changed on her file and it wasn’t.

This is an internal error at Centrelink.  No worries, things happen.

I was then told that a rule exists.  If you don’t notify Centrelink within thirteen weeks of a problem they do not have to back pay you.

I said I didn’t know there was a problem – I just kept waiting to see what the outcome of the application was.

I guess I should have called – but I knew it would be really hard to get through and I didn’t have the time.

She will lose months of board money because I was too busy to get in touch with Centrelink and alert them to their error.

This was an error I had no knowledge of and a rule I was unaware of.

I am sure I’m not the only working Mum out there trying to fit in a job, running a house as well as caring for one teenager who is often sick.

This means doctors, hospitals, physio, chemists and home care.

Like so many of you I also have for my other teenager who had a busy life of sport, work and school commitments that require my assistance to attend.

Hey Centrelink people – life is pretty demanding for a lot of folks like me.

Anyway I lodged an appeal on the spot and I will follow it up.

So here’s lesson for you all – make the time to chase things up with Centrelink or the 13 week rule might go against you.

PS.  It is now September and after lodging an appeal I have been told my daughter will be back paid to the date of application.  Good news.