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Some Centrelink staff are ROOLY STOOPID...


I applied for a pensioner education supplement earlier this month to help me pay for course costs of my Cert. III in Children's services.

The eligibility criteria for this supplement include being an Australian citizen, recieving a pension payment (or other eligible payment), studying full time (or an agreed upon part time load), and studying an eligible course.

I fill all these criteria, so liked my chances of getting the supplement.

So, then today I get a letter stating,

We cannot pay you Pensioner Education Supplement because it is not payable for Masters or Doctorate studies.

First thing that sprung to mind was that the site says "some Masters courses" are eligible, so that statement is immediately incorrect, but MOREOVER, the course I'M doing is not a Masters OR a Doctrate degree.

Yeah, so obviously there was some kind of mistake and I called up their offices to discuss this error. The lady on the other end of the phone then informed me that because I'd previously completed a Masters degree I wasn't eligible for this payment.

  1. That WASN'T the reason they gave for rejecting my application in the letter, so if that was the reason they rejected my application, why not just say that???
  2. WHAT??? NO WHERE on the Centrelink site or in their pamphlets does it state that having previously completed a Masters or Doctoral degree a person is NO LONGER ELIGIBLE for a pension education supplement.
So, I've rung back to have the decision appealed. This appeal will be referred back to the person who made the decision in the first place. That person can then either uphold their original decison or overturn it. If they uphold their decision, I can have it reviewed a second time by an Authorised Review Officer. If that decision still comes back negative, I fully intend to take this to the media because Centrelink can't just make up new rules as it pleases them and if this is written policy, then the public has a right to know BEFORE they apply (and get their hopes up)...

Besides, the letter didn't even reject me on the grounds of having previously completed a Masters degree, but rather because they claim not to pay pension educaiton supplements to Masters or Doctrate studies even though their sites states that some Masters degrees are eligible.

Yeah, clear as mud, isn't it?


Juniper said…
That is absolutely ridiculous! Crazy!

But also, I don't understand why they wouldn't pay for Masters anyway, and again, why wouldn't they pay for "other" study if you had *previously* done a Masters? I just don't understand, but then, I have no clue re: Centrelink.

Bummer, so sorry, hope they work it out and overturn the original decision.
katef said…
Ah centrelink... the joys...

Glad you have appealed though, from working in child care and since I've discovered that half the centrelink staff have no idea what they are doing and just make decisions based on assumptions and half information... If nothing else and appeal with have to make them really look at all the information and make sure they are making a decision along their own guidelines.
Sif said…
And if they turn around and say, "Oh, we really should state that Masters grads don't qualify" I'll come right back with, "Well, since you DIDN'T publicise it, before you do, bloody well pay me!"

Jen, in this day and age, with so many MORE people out of work recently and people seriously needing to retrain, it DOESN'T make sense, but there you go, that's centrestink for you...
Stitch Sista said…
They are just horrible.

My mum has tried in the past to get a carer's payment as she looks after my nan. They have previously denied her but then told her if she quits her job she'll have a better chance. So she's supposed to quit her job, and then wait for them to deny her this carer's payment? What will she do then?

They so obviously think everyone is a cheat or something, and the rules seem to change depending on who you deal with. It sucks.

Hope they overturn it for you.
Nic said…
Just mental ! hope it gets sorted out soon.
I'm sure they make these policies up as they go along, completely dependent upon their current mood. How ridiculous!
Best of luck with the appeal.xx

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