Hey Centrelink, have you thought about making your website user friendly

I have a university degree and have worked in social services for more years than I would like to admit. But I can’t for the life of me find the information I need on your website.

I often find myself needing to support clients to access your services, and today is no different to any other day I have tried to source information. Today’s mission involved finding out if my client met the criteria to access carer payments. It sounds like an easy enough task….. well so one would imagine. Instead I found myself in a loop of vague information, that didn’t answer any of my questions. It felt like groundhog day as the same text appeared before my eyes.

All I wanted to know was, what is the income threshold to access carers pension. Instead I got explanations of what income is, what deemed means and what is exempted income. So I click the “this was not useful” button. Then Sam (Centrelink’s digital assistant) pops up. I think you beaut, I will just ask directly and get the answer. Instantly up pops links to what appears to be answers to my question. I eagerly click to get my answer, then boom, back to where I started, same text, same no answers.

Now if I, an educated, English speaking, computer literate person is having difficulty navigating your page and finding information, what hope does an elderly person have who may not be tech savvy, or someone who English is their second language, or someone who is illiterate, or someone with mental health issues that may find the whole thing overwhelming. Honestly, I found it overwhelming.

Want to know the outcome…….. well so do I. I still have no idea what my clients entitlements are and neither do they. I will now waste tax payer funds and physically take them down to Centrelink and advocate that someone there speaks to them, and tells them what support is available to them. If I get there and be told to just get online, I think I might explode (in a non-violent professional manner of course).

I think if you fixed your online services, your offices would not have as much traffic and therefore save tax payer dollars in wages. It would also reduce the amount of abuse your frontline staff must see, because I can assure you, it is very stressful and infuriating, navigating your complex web to nowhere. I hope you hear the cries of Australia and simplify your over complex system. Thank you from The Disgruntled Social Worker.

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