What does Centrelink do in Australia?

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Centrelink is the Australian Government organisation which delivers social security payments and services. It is run by the Services Australia department and operates Australia wide.

Key points

  • Centrelink provides social security payments to people who need financial support
  • There are requirements around these payments and reporting of your circumstances
  • You can contact Centrelink in a variety of ways including by phone, online, on social media, by post, fax, or in person

You might be in contact with Centrelink for payments like the Disability Support Pension and Carer Payment, or for services such as child support.

Payments managed by Centrelink are designed to assist people who are disadvantaged.

For example, people who are unable to work enough to afford a basic standard of living – due to injury, disability or health conditions.

Centrelink can help you to pay for the costs of living, including food, electricity, housing rent, and engaging in the community if you don’t have enough income to be able to afford them alone.

Payments from Centrelink can also help with more specific costs for people with disability, like continence aids, essential medical equipment and health services.

The payments you can get from Centrelink will depend on what funding you receive under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and through the health system (Medicare), as the Government won’t double up on any payments.

Once you find out what support Centrelink can give you, it’s likely you will be in contact with the organisation regularly, as you will need to report any changes in your circumstances to make sure Centrelink doesn’t pay you more than what you are entitled to.

Any income you earn needs to be accurately reported to Centrelink so your payment rates can be calculated.

If you are paid too much, Centrelink will request that you pay back the amount you were not entitled to, which is known as a Centrelink debt.

Call the Centrelink debt recovery line, 1800 076 072, if you need to speak to someone about repaying a debt.

The Centrelink website offers a number of other ways to contact the organisation, including via phone call on the Disability, Sickness and Carers line 132 717, on social media, by fax on 1300 786 102 or by post; Reply Paid 7800, Canberra BC, ACT 2610. To visit a Centrelink office in person, you can find the closest location to you and book an appointment by searching with your postcode here.

Centrelink also has a mobile phone app linked to your online account, which you sign into via myGov.

The online account can be used to change your contact details, view, print and save documents you may need, and track how many hours you work.

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Related content:
Support payments for carers who have a child with disability
How can the carer payment help if you care for someone with disability?
What you need to know about the Disability Support Pension