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Everything You Should Know About A Centrelink Advance Payment

Centrelink can be complicated…

Navigating through Centrelink’s website can be tricky, especially if you’re not quite up to scratch with technology. Don’t stress! We’re here to put it in simple terms for you. A Centrelink advance payment is a sum paid to you early that you have to pay back later out of your payments from Centrelink.  An income support recipient can apply for a Centrelink advance payment if they’re in need of quick financial support. Centrelink provides much-needed financial support to millions of Australians with low or no income. It can help them get rid of the stress caused by financial difficulties to some extent. However, not everyone receiving Centrelink benefits can receive an advance payment. Don’t worry we’ll break down who is and who isn’t eligible later on. 

To certain people, advance payments can be extremely beneficial but there are several things you’ll need to be aware of before applying. Being a government service, Centrelink has a strict online process which can be quite confusing to some people. While applicants have to struggle in the absence of clarity on where to start, the lack of flexibility with regard to the amount required can also be problematic. 

This combination raises a lot of questions in the minds of applicants. So, let’s answer those questions and clear up any confusion you may have. Here is Nifty’s guide to Centrelink advance payments. You can check out details regarding cash loans here.

Nifty - Centrelink Advance Payment

What does a Centrelink advance payment mean? 

Centrelink provides regular fortnightly financial support to those qualified to receive it. It offers an advance payment to the recipients in the form of a lump sum amount, which is repaid through deductions in your future Centrelink payments. This is to help those requiring money to pay for a larger expense. There is a limit on how much money Centrelink can give you and that amount depends on what kind of benefit you are on. 

The key features of Centrelink advance payment scheme are:

  • It comes with a repayment condition.
  • It is disbursed in 1 or 2 instalments.
  • It is subject to minimum and maximum limits.
  • It is based on your Centrelink benefit.
  • The frequency varies subject to the recipient category.

Who can apply for a Centrelink advance payment? 

You can apply for an advance after at least 3 months receiving  1 of these payments:

  • Age Pension 
  • Carer Payment
  • Disability Support Pension
  • Farm Household Allowance
  • Newstart Allowance
  • Parenting Payment
  • Widow Allowance
  • Widow B Pension
  • Wife Pension 
  • Youth Allowance for job seekers

Who can’t apply for Centrelink advance payments

You can’t get an advance if you already had one in the past 12 months while getting 1 of these payments: 

  • ABSTUDY
  • Austudy
  • Farm Household Allowance
  • Mobility Allowance
  • Newstart Allowance
  • Parenting Payment –  unless you became single in the past 28 days, then you may get an advance
  • Widow Allowance
  • Youth Allowance

You are also not eligible if you:

  • Owe a debt to the Australian Government 
  • Are repaying one you received  more than 12 months ago
  • Can’t afford to repay the advance in 6 months
  • Are outside Australia 

How to apply for Centrelink advance payments 

If you are qualified to receive a Centrelink advance payment, you may apply for it online or in person. Get the form printed, fill out the relevant information and submit it to the nearest office. For an online application, you need to follow the following four steps.

  • Step 1: Log in to myGov and go to the Centrelink page. Navigate to MENU– Payment and Claims —  Manage payments — Manage advance payments.
  • Step 2: Click on the Apply for Advance tab and choose to Get Started. Next comes the type of advance payment and you are prompted to add the amount. It will show how much you can seek as Centrelink advance payment.
  • Step 3: Choose if you are willing to receive the advance payment in 1 or 2 instalments. Enter the date and amount of details for each instalment.
  • Step 4: Review, submit and generate a receipt. Your application is now pending for approval. 

You also have the option to request a Centrelink advance payment over the phone. Give Centrelink call on 136 240 and register for self-service and apply for an advance payment.

How does a Centrelink advance payment work?

The advance payment is credited to your account, where you receive Centrelink benefits, in one or two instalments and on the dates as selected during the application process. You must apply for a minimum amount equivalent to a week’s pension, allowance or financial support you are receiving from Centrelink. The maximum advance payment you should seek must not exceed what you are entitled to get over 3 weeks. 

You are required to repay the loan through fortnightly deductions from the financial support you are entitled to. It starts as soon as you receive the first payment immediately after taking the advance and it continues over the next 26 weeks. The repayment is done through 13 fortnightly payments. For example, if the advance payment is $500, it’s recovered by deducting $38.50 from the next 13 fortnightly payments. Prepayment options are also available.

A beneficiary is entitled to get three advance payments within 26 weeks. However, it is subject to the maximum limit you are qualified to receive. For example, if you are eligible for a $1,000 advance payment, you can apply for it 3 times within 26 weeks without the cumulative loan not exceeding the said amount. It can be $200, $300, and $500 or $400 twice and $200 once.

Can I borrow money from Centrelink?

A Centrelink advance payment is similar to a personal loan just without the interest. You may have it subject to approval and the limit allowed and repay it in 13 fortnightly instalments. Apart from this, there is no provision for other loans from Centrelink. 

However, those receiving Centrelink payments are free to seek personal loans from banks, credit unions and other lenders. You can use your Centrelink income statement as part of the application to showcase a regular source of income to repay the loan.

What is a crisis payment by Centrelink?

You may get a crisis payment from Centrelink if you face extreme financial hardship. A crisis payment is defined as the early delivery of a recipient’s entitlement. It is not an extra payment but paying a part or whole of the benefit ahead of the due date. However, this is granted only when you face exceptional and unforeseen situations. If you receive a crisis payment, it reduces the subsequent allowance you receive on the delivery day. Again, you can not apply for more than 2 crisis payments within a period of 1 year. 

To get a crisis payment from Centrelink, one must be facing any of the following conditions.

  • are experiencing family and domestic violence
  • get out after 14 days from prison or psychiatric confinement as a result of an offence
  • are a Humanitarian Entrant into Australia for the first time
  • go through a natural disaster not covered by the Disaster Recovery Payment
  • are in Australia when the event occurred, and when you submit your claim
  • are eligible for an income support payment.

The presence of conditions does not make one automatically qualified for Centrelink payment in advance. You have to establish that you are facing severe financial hardship due to and this will aggravate unless you get funds urgently. There may be the verification of the claim if it is considered appropriate.

A crisis payment is different from Centrelink hardship advance payment, which is given as a grant to those vulnerable to potential financial hardship.

Can Centrelink look in your bank account? 

No, Centrelink cannot directly look into your bank account. It cannot spot check bank accounts. However, it has indirect access to all your data, account and tax details. If required to examine your qualification and prevent welfare fraud, it can check the details before granting any allowances or Centrelink advance payment.

Legally speaking Centrelink has no power to look into your bank account. However, as an agency of the government, it has the authority to match data sourced from or through other government agencies to verify applications for payments and eliminate any chance of welfare fraud. You are required to provide Centrelink details of income and assets so that the agency can verify and establish your qualification as a recipient of its payment. If the data matching software puts a red flag on your data for differences in figures and information you submitted at Centrelink and ATO, this enables the former to investigate and request your account details from banks. The specialized staff are there to review any such discrepancy. 

Though Centrelink is not empowered to remove money from your bank account, it has the power to recover any amount you are not entitled to. To recoup any such funds, the agency can send you an Account Payable letter with details and demands. It can even reduce the payment by 15%. It can hire a debt collection agency to contact you regarding the amount. Apart from legal action, it is authorized to issue a garnishment against your wages, tax returns, salary or bank account to recover its money.

Can you get a Centrelink advance payment early? 

No, there is no provision to get the Centrelink advance payment early. Being a government agency, it has its set procedure for application, processing of it, approval and disbursement. There is no flexibility to give priority to an individual’s needs. Even if you become proactive and follow up about your application, there is less chance of getting approved quickly. During the application process, you can suggest the date for receiving the payment. However, instant approval is highly unlikely. 

Still, you have alternatives. You may apply for a personal loan from bank or market lenders. At Nifty Personals Loans we understand that when people need cash, a lot of the time, they need it quickly. That’s why we specialise in fast online personal loans. If approved, you could have your money in as little as 60 seconds*. You are also entitled to get a loan of up to $5,000. Nifty uses the latest and greatest in banking technology to ensure we can access a read-only copy of your bank statements. It’s this technology that allows us to assess your application and give you a super-fast response! 

Not only that but Nifty takes a fresh approach to lending.  We can offer fast personal loans to people on Centrelink and to people with bad credit. So, what are you waiting for? Apply with Nifty for the cash you need today and we’ll do our best to get back to you with a speedy outcome. 

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Andrew Bell

Since founding Nifty in 2016, Bell has continued to make waves within the local financial sector for his continued ambition and willingness to adopt emerging technologies.

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