I have been trying to get through to Centrelink (13 61 50) for weeks now. I keep getting an engaged tone. I can't even get to the point where you find out you have to wait for 'in excess of 40 minutes' or get the option of a call back. And I do know that you can call up to 8pm, and I have tried but still get the engaged tone.
I am not calling about the school kids bonus. I have questions about why my FTB A has been reduced. So after two weeks of not being able to get through, I thought I would go to my nearest Centrelink office (I live in a rural area - only get to town once a week or fortnight) and I would be able to get the information I needed. When I arrived, a customer service officer greeted me to ask what I needed, to which she replied "OK, well we don't really have any experts in FTB here, but we'll see what we can do." And I must admit that at the time I thought "WTF, if you aren't experts in FTB, who is?" So I had to sit and wait for a while because it was pretty busy, during which time I thought, OK Centrelink does cover a wide range of services, so maybe they all don't know about all areas, but I thought that FTB was a pretty general area.
When I did get to sit with a customer service officer, she reiterated that she wasn't an FTB expert, but she would try to help with my question. Well to be honest, while she was really conscientious, she couldn't help me, and didn't seem to know as much about the thresholds/income limits as I did from reading the Centrelink website. (OK, so I'm pretty well versed, because I'm trying to make sure I don't get overpaid). She tried to ring through, but was on hold the entire time I sat with her (approximately 40 mins) and eventually hang up and said "well we aren't going to have any luck there). At the same time she was on the website trying to get answers - but she didn't seem to be able to access any 'inside information IYKWIM, only looking at stuff I had already looked at - general information available to all.
I did express some surprise (in a nice way) that there wasn't anyone with expertise in the FTB area in the Family Assistance Office, and she said "oh no, people think that, but we are only access points". In that, there are phones to ring the Family Assistance Office, and internet access points. But the phones don't get through, and there are many things you cannot do online, like ask why your payment has been reduced.
So after being in the Centrelink office for over an hour, I left quite frustrated. She apologised for not being able to help and I felt bad for her, that she hadn't been adequately prepared for what she was expected to do.
So are there any Centrelink/FAO officers on here that know how it all works? I thought since I couldn't get any joy on the phones, I would go "straight to the source", but it seems this is not the case.