Changes to welfare over Christmas break

HOLIDAY arrangements for Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support have been announced.

Department of Human Services customers will notice some changes to payments and services over the Christmas and New Year holiday period.

General Manager Hank Jongen said as in previous years, all service centres and most phone lines providing Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support services will be closed from 25 to 29 December 2014 and on New Year’s Day.


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Mr Jongen said the department’s Express Plus mobile apps and phone self-service options, as well as online services through myGov, would still be available every day.

“You can check your reporting dates, update your details and report your earnings quickly and easily using these options,” Mr Jongen said.

“If you’re due to receive a payment on a national public holiday, you may be paid before the holiday, so you may need to budget for a longer period between payment dates afterwards.

“People may also need to report their job search efforts or income early if their usual reporting date falls on a public holiday. People who use self-service options to report on a public holiday will be paid within the next two working days.

“When reporting, you must include estimates of earnings or other changes for your normal 14 day assessment period. Although your reporting date may be different, the assessment period remains the same.”

Mr Jongen said people can transfer funds to their BasicsCard on public holidays by calling 1800 132 594 from 8am – 5pm, and BasicsCard balances can be checked at any time by calling 1800 057 111. Calls to both lines are free.

“There are no changes to the usual child support payment arrangements, however parents should note late payments made after 24 December may be further delayed by public holidays,” Mr Jongen said.

“The automated Child Support Information Service on 131 107 will still be available.”

Mr Jongen said all essential 24/7 Medicare Provider Services for doctors will remain open and available over the Christmas/New Year period, and customers can lodge some Medicare claims at their doctor’s office or via online services as usual.

More information is available at humanservices.gov.au/holidays.

Main image courtesy of tpnn.com.

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