A struggling mother claims she waited weeks for Centrelink help after the birth of her second daughter.
Tegan Wood from Western Australia welcomed her baby girl into the world on August 3, but after four weeks she claims she still hasn’t received her first parental leave payment.
Frustrated, she criticized Centrelink in a long TikTok Video next to the tag “Australia doesn’t care about taxpayers.”
In the clip, Tegan said she applied for the service through the app in July before her baby was born. The mother received “no reassurance” and visited Centrelink three times but no progress was made.
“I don’t understand what’s going on with Centrelink.” “If you don’t have the money or have overspent somewhere else, just let people know,” Tegan said.
“We dont care. At least then we can prioritize what we need to do to make ends meet in life, because with today’s rising cost of living, you can’t survive on one wage.”
In the video, Tegan addressed Centrelink directly as if she were speaking to the organization.
“I applied for paid parental leave before my baby was born and completed it in July 2023. My partner uploaded it to your user-friendly app, which you recommend because it’s much easier,” she said.
“So that’s what we did. Everything was right for us. “Our Ps and Qs all matched.”
Despite this, Tegan claims she received no notification that the application had been received.
So a week later the couple went straight to Centrelink and were told “everything was fine” and that their application was “in progress”.
“Still no message, no confirmation letter, nothing in the app,” Tegan said.
Tegan Wood, from Western Australia, gave birth to her second daughter on August 3 and applied for paid parental leave from Centrelink in July. However, she claims she waited weeks for the first payment
The following Monday, Tegan claimed they returned to Centrelink, waited for 45 minutes and hoped the problem would be resolved.
“We had our newborn daughter with us the whole time. “The lady we met was a bit more argumentative, not a good day for her, which is fine, we didn’t want to get into an argument,” Tegan continued.
‘Still nothing. She told us that everything was fine.
“Funnily enough, we had just picked up our daughter’s birth certificate. She (the worker) said, “I’ll take a copy of this and we’ll put it there too.” No problem.. still no word.’
When Tegan had her first daughter in 2020, she said the Centrelink service was “much faster” despite Covid.
“You can’t tell me they’re understaffed now… I feel like that’s just an excuse these days,” Tegan said.
She then returned a third time on September 4th.
“Today I’m going back, she wanted me to wait another 45 minutes to see another lady who told me the same thing and I just didn’t have the patience for it,” said a frustrated Tegan.
“We’re pretty patient people and if it were any other way, Centrelink would be begging, demanding and harassing me for a refund of their money. ‘Do you know what I mean?’
The Services Australia website states that customers will generally receive their first payment 14 days after the start date, provided proof of birth has been provided and the claim has been completed (stock image).
Another member of staff then came to help, who Tegan claims was the same worker who served her on her previous visit to Centrelink.
“I said to her, ‘Don’t you remember me?’” she said, then the woman replied, “I see what the problem is. It looks like you didn’t fill it out correctly.”
This only made the mother of two angrier.
“I just don’t understand.” The third time you tell me I didn’t have my papers in order, but every other time I was there you said it was okay? Tegan said.
“Then she says, ‘Have you tried calling the family services hotline?’ Of course I fucking did. Do you think I’ll enjoy coming here and waiting? No, not with a newborn.’
At the end of the video, Tegan complained that one salary wasn’t enough to support a family.
“My partner earns well, but it’s still not enough.” We have a mortgage, we have cars, we have children. “Come on, throw us fucking bones,” she said.
The Services Australia website states that customers will generally receive their first payment 14 days after the start date, provided proof of birth has been provided and the claim has been completed.
Hank Jongen, general manager of Services Australia, told FEMAIL: “We know that the birth of a new baby can be an exhausting and stressful transition for parents.”
“We sincerely apologize to this family who did not receive the service they expected from us and for the wait for their parental leave benefits.”
“This year, our peak period for offsetting family tax benefits and childcare subsidies is combined with policy changes that expand eligibility for parental leave benefits and childcare subsidies, resulting in a higher volume of claims overall.”
“We are here to help people who are experiencing financial difficulties.” We encourage anyone in this situation to contact us or visit your local service center to speak to one of our representatives about how we can support you.”
Both parents can now apply for parental leave benefits 97 days before their child’s expected date of birth or adoption.
Services Australia encourages people to submit their claims online early where possible and will ensure all relevant documents and information are provided so we can quickly assess their claims.
Parents should keep an eye on their Centrelink online accounts via myGov and look out for outstanding assignments and letters.
If a parent’s entitlement to parental leave benefits has been approved, they have provided proof of birth and have not received any payments, it may be worth checking with their employer.
In most cases, employers are responsible for paying parental leave benefits to parents.
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