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Centrelink is an Australian Government agency responsible for delivering a wide range of services and unemployment benefits to Australians who find themselves on a low income or without an income. Centrelink works with other government departments and community organisations to link people to the services and resources they need.

It is important to contact Centrelink as soon as you become unemployed or have your income or work hours and income significantly cut to ensure you receive any payment/s you may be eligible for from the earliest possible date of your eligibility.

You can register an intention to claim Centrelink entitlements by phone or in writing. After lodging an intention to claim, normally you will have to attend Centrelink at a scheduled time in order to lodge your claim and have your claim processed.

Centrelink’s Financial Information Service can help you understand your options when you’ve been retrenched by providing information on termination payments, superannuation, Centrelink payments and services and taxation implications. They can also provide information on investment and retirement planning.

Centrelink’s website contains significant information. It may help you decide when to register for payments and services you are entitled to receive in your circumstances.It is important to note that this website does not contain information you can rely on (it says so itself) and is only Centrelink’s view of the law.

If you’re attending a Customer Service Centre to register, make sure you take all the required information and documents to complete your registration at a single visit. You’ll also need to supply Centrelink with details and information about the finances of your partner, if you have one.

Centrelink has over 300 Customer Service Centres Australia-wide and a broad network of agencies. You can access Centrelink’s online services from any computer with internet access, or at a Centrelink office or agency. Centrelink Call Centres

It is very important to understand that Centrelink has a view of the law that is not necessarily one that others share. If you believe you have been rejected for a payment inappropriately or should be eligible when you have been informed you are not you should seek information from organisations that can assist you to review Centrelink’s decisions.

Centrelink treats any payment for annual leave, long service leave and redundancy in your termination payment as income in advance for an equivalent period. So, if your termination payment includes three weeks annual leave and six weeks redundancy payment, you’ll have to wait nine weeks to satisfy the Income Maintenance Period before your income support payments start. Liquid assets waiting period

The term “liquid assets” refers to cash or other assets, such as shares, that can be readily converted to cash. A Liquid Assets Waiting Period will apply at Centrelink whether or not you received a termination payment, and is based on your personal and financial situation.

When you register, Centrelink will want to know about your money and investments and any other payments you’re expecting to receive. They’ll also want this information about your partner’s finances. From this information, they’ll calculate your Liquid Assets Waiting Period.

You can choose to have money for regular bills like rent, gas, electricity and water deducted by Centrelink through their automatic debit system, Centrepay. Paying your bills by fortnightly instalments this way will make your monthly and quarterly bills more manageable.