Thursday, 9 April 2015

Drowning in Paperwork

This is the posture of every single human being who has to deal with Centrelink.  *Deep Sigh*.  For those of you who don't know, Centrelink is the Australian Government social services department.  They are a pain in the butt difficult to deal with, to put it generously.  But we need them.  They help us financially and when it's all sorted out things are good.  For all my frustrations, Centrelink has made it possible for us to survive through some very difficult times.

A few weeks back we went in to our local office to get Miss Sunshine all identified and her study claim under way.  The slobby man, who sat chomping on gum (so I have a "thing" about gum - it grosses me out), informed us that the Youth Services office would send us all the extra forms for family income and such and that we should wait for those to arrive.  He also told me that if I had a question I was unsure of (these are inevitable - they ask questions that are from Mars) to just leave it, but make sure to sign the form so the claim could be processed.

He was wrong on both counts.  So.  So.  Wrong.  He should have given me the forms.  He did not.  I have to fill in ALL the questions, or the claim will not be processed.  Because of this man we have to start over and payments will be delayed for quite some time.

So now, after a long phone call with the most helpful person on the planet, I have printed the reams of paper with all the forms and I am wading through them.  Miss Sunshine emerged, briefly, from her safe cocoon of a bedroom, and asked if she should be filling them in.  I looked about me, at the piles of old bills, insurance paperwork and about a billion other pieces of paper about every cent we possess, spend and owe and asked "Do you really think it would be possible for you to fill these out?"  She lent over, hugged me and said thank you.  And then she hurried away.  No child of 18 years should have to do this.  It's too hard for the very best of form fairies (ie, mothers), let alone an innocent new baby adult.  This is one of those things that parents are willing to do for children, like laying down your life.  I think she'll owe me more than a chai latte for this one, though.  Maybe a week of her cooking meals.  Or something significant.

If I don't come up for air for the next year or so, you'll know I got buried under the papers.


Crunchie's Mum said...

I can really relate to this. Best thing ever when the kids turn 22 and Centrelink considers them to be independent and you don't have to fill in mind numbing forms. It took me days because we had our own business and then they want to know absolutely every cent you spend.

Left-Handed Housewife said...

We don't have Centrelink here, but we do have unhelpful bureaucrats and lots of forms to fill out for financial aid and the like, so I can sympathize. hope you come up for air soon!


han_ysic said...

Haha, I had to wait to apply once I had earner enough working part time while studying full time at Uni. I had decided I was only handing things in once and made sure I went over that forwith a fine toothed comb and then when I handed it in the lady didn't know what to do - it had never happened for her before that someone had actually succeeded in filling out the form correctly and submitting all documentation! Is that not a sign that there is something wrong with the form? Anyhow I'm houngan through it all again as soon have to apply for paid parental leave and family tax benefit and suspect they will have worked out how to make it even harder :)