Australians have been told to not “risk the queues” at Centrelink branches and instead head online to launch an “intent to claim” under a drastic change to the application for welfare support.
The government on Sunday announced it would double the Jobseeker payment to help assist those forced out of work due to the economic impacts of the coronavirus.
It’s estimated more than a million people have been left without jobs since a government forced shutdown of non-essential businesses was enacted on Sunday.
Speaking with Sky News, Services Australia’s Hank Jongen, said the department had been working urgently to make changes to the application process to cut down on the number of people lining up outside Centrelink branches across the nation.
“We’ve been working hard to simply get phone answered. We have been working hard to improve our IT capability,” he said.
The new intent to claim function will allow millions without previous contact with Centrelink but have existing myGov accounts to flag their need for welfare payments. Centrelink will then contact you to help you through the process.
Mr Jongen said he hoped the new service would cut down not the number of Australians lining up and spending hours in the phone queue.
“What you can do instead this morning, instead of joining the queues, instead of having to ring us, is to simply go to myGov, login and you will see a button which enables you to lodge an intent to claim to Centrelink,” he said.
Image: News Corp Australia