25 March 2020

Community Services COVID-19 Update #6

This is the sixth COVID-19 update from WACOSS. We are committed to providing the WA community services sector with crucial information and high level resources as necessary, until the pandemic subsides.

Content from these updates will be posted on the Community Services Resource page on the WACOSS website.


With hundreds of thousands of Australians losing their jobs in recent days and over a million likely to become unemployed within a few weeks, Centrelink services have been overwhelmed.

The following is advice you may wish to convey to your clients regarding accessing Centrelink at this time.

If they are already registered with Centrelink and receiving income support they should get the new supplements automatically. They do NOT need to contact Centrelink or queue up.

If they are still getting paid or have enough to get by, we recommend they wait a few days before trying to connect – and give those most in need a chance to connect.

They will be back paid.

Don’t queue at Centrelink – they are much better off ringing and going online.

They need to ring 132 850 first to get a customer reference number (or CRN) if they don’t have one.

Then they can go online and fill out an Intent to Claim. They don’t need to complete a full claim straight away.

They do NOT need to go into Centrelink to show ID. The Minister has confirmed you can give it over the phone. They may want to take a picture of their ID and any evidence of when their job ended before calling.

Above all, it is important that people don’t panic and stay safe. This is a crisis and things will take time.

Note that some current recipients have been having trouble accessing the website to report job search activity leading to delayed payments and a risk of being breached. In welcome news yesterday, all mutual obligation requirements have been lifted until 31 March 2020 due to congestion on the MyGov site. While this may be extended if congestion continues, these should be lifted indefinitely to provide certainty for claimants.

Information about the Coronavirus supplement and accessing Centrelink can be found here:

COVID-19 Resources
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