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Facts about Centrelink

Our Financial Counselling is a non-judgmental, independent, confidential and free service provided to inform, support and advocate for students experiencing financial difficulty. Contact us to arrange a free appointment.

As a student, you may be eligible to receive Centrelink payments. These payments can help to cover your living expenses while you study or look for work.

Benefit eligibility basics

Youth Allowance

  • 24 or younger and a student or apprentice
  • 21 or younger and looking for work

Austudy

  • 25 or older and a student or apprentice

ABSTUDY

  • Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander student or apprentice
Social Security Rights Victoria (ssrv)

Social Security Rights Victoria (SSRV) is an independent state-wide community legal centre that specialises in social security and related law, policy and procedure. SSRV provides independent information and support inrelation to social security law/Centrelink issues such as;

  • Eligibility for a payment;
  • Circumstances where someone would normally not be eligible;
  • Cancellation or refusal of application;
  • Membership of couple issues;
  • Income and assets;
  • Debts and repayment issues.

You can contact SSRV via their website: http://www.ssrv.org.au/ or call Ph: 0419 793 652

When should I receive a response?

If you have submitted a claim for a benefit, and not received a response within 13 weeks, you should contact the Centrelink complaints line on 1800 132 468 to see if the issue can be resolved over the phone.

The Centrelink complaints line operator may be able to provide you with information as to why your claim has not been processed, provide you with information as to what further documents may be required, or may be able toresolve the issue by discussing it with you over the telephone.

  • Keep a record of your conversation with Centrelink and the Complaint Reference Number.
  • If you are unable to resolve the issue over the telephone, the next step is to lodge an Authorised Review Officer (ARO) request. Centrelink should respond to complaints within 10 business days.
  • If Centrelink does not respond to your complaint after 10 business days, or Centrelink’s response isunsatisfactory, then you should lodge a complaint with the Commonwealth Ombudsman. You can contact the Ombudsman via telephone on 1300 362 072 or you can submit an online complaint form.
  • Please visit https://www.ombudsman.gov.au/H... for further instructions on submitting a complaint to the Ombudsman.
How can a financial counsellor help?

Financial Counsellors help people who are experiencing financial difficulty. They are skilled professionals who will guide you through your options and help you plan your way out of debt.

They may be able to assist you by:

  • Doing a full assessment of your financial situation, including regular income and expenditure, assets and liabilities, to help you fully understand your position, create a budget and put a plan into place
  • Providing advice on how to negotiate with your creditors, government agencies or other providers
  • Negotiating directly with your creditors in certain circumstances
  • Providing advice about what options, rights and responsibilities you may have
  • Referring you to other services you may need, such as legal services, crisis food and accommodation services, and health services
What can a financial counsellor provide information about?

They can provide information and advice about:

  • Credit and debt-related matters
  • The rights of debtors
  • How to lodge complaints with various ombudsman schemes if you feel you are not being treated fairly and whether you should have been given a loan in the first place
  • Working out a realistic payment plan for debts
  • How to access other specialist support services, including gambling, family support, personal counselling, legal aid and emergency relief

It’s then up to you to make the decisions about how to manage your situation with the advice you’ve been given.

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