Over the past week or so, I have spent a not-insignificant amount of time trying to assist my parents to do a couple of things online in relation to Centrelink and their pension.
Firstly, they received a letter advising that they had to complete an online declaration in relation to their tax.
So they came to me for assistance with this, given that they are very new to the world of online accounts, and have previously steered clear of any financial transactions using the internet.
Even I found the process confusing, and was not sure at the end of it whether we had set up an online account with Centrelink.
So we figured that, while we were at it, I should assist them to ensure that they have a MyGov account for any future online management of their Centrelink business.
That's where the fun started.
For my Dad, we had to set up a new Gmail email account in order for him to register with MyGov - because it is not possible for them both to use the same email address that is their current shared email address.
This, then, meant that we had to set up this email account on my Mum's iPad, so that they could receive any emails sent to this new email account.
What average retiree would be able to perform these two tasks?
Once we had set up the MyGov account for my Mum, we were given the option to link her pension card to the MyGov account. We entered all the required details (exactly as shown on the Pension Card), only to be told that the details didn't match Centrelink's system and that Mum would need to call Centrelink to sort it out.
We tried to set up this same link in Dad's MyGov account, only to get the same message.
We tried multiple times (just in case it was something to do with how we were entering their address details), but received a rejection each time with no explanation of what was wrong - only that the details didn't match.
So, Mum and Dad were forced to sit on the phone for at least an hour waiting to get through to Centrelink, only to be told that their online attempts failed due to the fact that they needed to attend Centreline IN PERSON with various pieces of ID evidence, in order to link MyGov to their Pension accounts.
So, a long and tedious wait in the Centrelink queue awaits them this week!
Why could the website not include that information? So much wasted time, energy and frustration!
It was so co-incidental that my sister then saw this article link in this weekend's Age online, describing a soon-to-be mother's equally frustrating experiences with Centrelink.
I am sure it not just my own parents who are frustrated and bamboozled - and just a little terrified - of Centrelink's push to get its clients online.
If you know someone who needs help with getting set up and using these (or any other) online services, get them to contact iTandCoffee on 1300 885 420.
Call 1300 885 420
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