How to apply for a Centrelink payment
To receive a Centrelink payments a person must first make an application to Centrelink. It is possible to apply for many Centrelink payments online. Applicants should create both a MyGov account and a Centrelink account, and then link the two together. Before creating a Centrelink account, the person will be required to confirm their identity, usually in person at a Centrelink office by showing certain identity documents [see Social Security (Administration) Act 1999 (Cwth) s 8].
More information on setting up online accounts can be accessed via Services Australia website.
Any person can self-check their eligibility for a Centrelink payment. This can be done by using the Payment and Service Finder tool on the Services Australia website.
A person will be required to provide certain documents to Centrelink (depending on which payment they are applying for) in order for their claim to be approved. The claim will not be completed or lodged until the required documents are provided. It is therefore helpful to have all relevant documents ready before starting a claim.
If a person is unable to lodge a claim online, they can contact Centrelink via telephone, or visit a service centre in person.
Once an application for a payment is lodged, Centrelink will assess whether the person is eligible to receive the payment. Processing times for claims will vary depending on the type of claim made and the individual application.
If a claim for a payment is refused, the person has the ability to challenge the decision, see: Challenging a Centrelink Decision.
It is a good idea to keep a copy of any documents given to Centrelink (whether given to Centrelink as part of the initial application, or later) in case any documents need to be relied upon in a dispute.