Centrelink 101: What You Need to Know

Centrelink-101If you are struggling financially, you don’t have to do it alone. Families and individuals can get the help they need to put food on the table, keep the electricity on and pay their bills.

While there are a wide variety of public and private charities available, one of your first resources should be Centrelink. With easy online access, you can get the help you need as fast as possible.
If you aren’t familiar with the program here are a few things you need to know:

What is Centrelink?
Centrelink is a government funded program that facilitates financial assistance to needy families and individuals. The program is run by the Department of Human Services and provides funds to low income families, disabled citizens, retirees and minority groups. Additionally, Centrelink is responsible for dispersing social security payments. This can include Advanced Payments and other financial benefit options.

How can it help you?
Centrelink is helpful to individuals who are struggling financially. You can get help with food, medical payments, electric and gas bills, phone bills and other financial necessities. The system is largely run online so you can submit required paperwork and information from your own home or from a public computer. This is particularly convenient if you don’t have the means to get to Department of Human Services’ building.

How do I apply for Centrelink?
Applications are available on the website. You’ll be required to provide personal information including any Medicare numbers, address, bank account information and child support reference number (if applicable). Once you create an account you can submit applications for assistance. Once you submit your application you may be asked to provide additional information including proof of income, address,  disability and/or refugee status.

Do I need to qualify?
Yes. There are financial restrictions that apply for the financial assistance programs. You can log onto their website to determine whether you meet financial guidelines for support. In order to qualify for financial assistance your income for the last year has to be less than $30,000 for single individuals or $45,000 for couples. Couples with dependent children must make less than $60,000 to qualify for a stipend. There are several other benefits offered including annual stipends for low-income families, families with school kids, single family incomes and energy supplements. Most have the same or similar financial restrictions.

What other services are offered?
In addition to providing financial help for families and individuals, Centrelink also provides education resources and an excellent online resource for individuals looking for work. Once you create an account you can log on to search for and apply to jobs. Additionally, individuals who provide care for elderly parents or family members or a disabled family member qualify for financial assistance, counseling and education resources.

If you have a financial need, make sure to check out Centrelink to find out if you qualify for additional help and support. While living on a budget can help you save money and reduce expenses, a little extra money can go a long way too. Online tools can help determine if you qualify for any programs.


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