The Nationals Member for Gippsland Darren Chester today welcomed a suite of changes to speed up and simplify Age Pension claims.
Mr Chester said the changes would mainly affect those who make online claims.
“The new online process will make it easier to be certain claims contain all the information the Department of Human Services needs to process them quickly,” Mr Chester said.
“The Department analysed more than 156,000 claims for the Age Pension and found 10 per cent were rejected because they lacked important information.
“The changes to the online process will reduce the number of incomplete claims so more claims are correct and processed quickly for all older Australians, including Gippslanders.”
The streamlined online Age Pension claim process will include:
• clearer advice on the department’s website about Age Pension eligibility, including requirements regarding age, income and assets;
• improvements to the online process to make it easier and faster; and
• the ability to check the status of a claim using an online claim tracker tool.
Online applications are automatically saved, meaning people can come back and finish their claim later if they need. Those already receiving a Centrelink payment will have their existing financial information automatically entered into the online form.
Changes to the processing of claims are being tested to further shorten waiting time for all claimants. Staff are available to provide help over the phone or at a service centre, while paper forms will still be available for those unable to use the online channel.
Minister for Human Services Alan Tudge said the Federal Government was committed to transforming the delivery of welfare payments.
“These practical changes are aimed at saving time and providing a better experience for older Australians as they claim the Age Pension,” Mr Tudge said.
“The Government is working to ensure that Centrelink and Medicare services are available to all Australians at the time and place of their choosing.”
Older Australians can submit a claim up to 13 weeks prior to reaching Age Pension age. If there is any change to their circumstances during this time, they must advise the department within 14 days.