Confirming identity at Centrelink

Confirming identity at Centrelink

by Christine Hopper

Confirming identity at Centrelink

Without any fanfare Centrelink have tightened their process for confirming the identity of customers.

Who is subject to the new ‘confirming  identity‘ process?

The new confirming  identity at Centrelink process is applied to new Centrelink customers. Also and any existing Centrelink customers who change their customer status will be subject to the new confirming your identity at Centrelink process.

This means that if you retire from fulltime work and apply for an Age Pension you must complete the confirming your identity at Centrelink process.

For example,  your friend Jim who attained age 65 a few years ago could eventually be subject to the confirming identity at Centrelink process.  Jim could have been issued with a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card when he reached his Age Pension Age. His total taxable income including his earnings from work, were below the cut-off for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card; but he was excluded from the Age Pension by the Income Test.
Later when he ceases paid work Jim could claim an Age Pension.
When Jim applies for an Age Pension then he will need to satisfy the new confirming your identity at Centrelink process.

In contrast, at age 64 years Mary applied for NewStart when her employer closed its local office at the end of 2016. Mary has submitted her personal documents for the new confirming your identity at Centrelink process. When Mary reaches her Age Pension Age she is not expecting to repeat the confirming your identity at Centrelink process to transfer to Age Pension. Mary has already undertaken the once only ‘confirming your identity at Centrelink process.

The current rules imply that Mary would not have to submit to the ‘confirming your identity‘ process a second time if she subsequently claimed an Age Pension.

What documents could satisfy the confirming identity at Centrelink process?

The confirming identity at Centrelink process has three parts.

The first part of the confirming identity at Centrelink process is ‘Commencement of Identity in Australia’.

This segment could be satisfied with a current Australian Passport or a full Australian Birth Certificate, not just a Birth Extract.
Australian residents who were born overseas could use an Australian visa current on the date you arrived in Australia. An Australian citizenship certificate is acceptable.

Seniors who came as children might need to locate their mother’s old visa showing her children’s names and their father’s citizenship certificate that includes his children’s names. Remember how immigrant father’s claimed Australian citizenship so that their children could be eligible for Commonwealth Scholarships for tertiary study.

The second part of the confirming identity at Centrelink process is ‘Primary Use in Australia’

For this part, Centrelink could require an official document showing your signature and/or your photograph.
A current Australian State or Territory issued Motor Vehicle Driver Licence showing your signature and/or photograph could satisfy this part.
Alternatively, a Passport issued by another country with a valid Australian entry stamp or visa is acceptable.

This part could cause difficulty for frail seniors who are not independently active and thus have no need for a licence as a motor vehicle driver, firearm holder or shooter.

The third part of confirming identity at Centrelink process is ‘Secondary use in Community’

Centrelink accept have a long list of acceptable documents for this part. The document that you submit needs to show your full name clearly linked to your residential address or signature.

Bank issued credit cards or ATM cards showing your name and signature could be adequate. If you are still in the paper based world, your current bank passbook or printed bank account statement could be acceptable.

If you do not deal with an Australian bank or credit union, then you could just show a recent utility bill in your name for your home address.

If your home is owned by only one member of a couple and utility bills are all in that partner’s name, the other partner could have a challenge. But each person could have a Proof of Electoral Enrolment Card of their own to satisfy this part.

Another option is your child’s full Birth Certificate showing your name as parent.

Finally for persons without an address, a prison release certificate showing your name and your photo and/or your signature could be acceptable.

For an active retiree the confirming  identity at Centrelink process could be easy.

An active retiree could show a current Australian Passport, an Australian Driver Licence for a motor vehicle and a bank issued credit card or a recent utility bill for her home. Healthy retirees could be expected to be able to ‘confirm identity in the community’ without drama.

But you do need to actually visit a Centrelink office for Centrelink officers to record and copy your three identity documents. Thus for some retirees the challenge of the ‘confirmation of identity in the community’ exercise is just remembering to take your Passport when you visit Centrelink; the other items would be in your wallet for everyday use.

Hint: If you are applying for a new to you Centrelink benefit then collect the necessary documents for ‘confirmation of identity in the community’ before you plan your visit to Centrelink.

For a mature aged self-funded retiree the confirming identity at Centrelink process looks impossible.

The seniors face an extra challenge of having no documents for ‘Commencement of identity in Australia’ or ‘Primary Use in Community’. The challenge to ‘confirm identity in the community’ can be daunting for seniors who were born in Australia and never travelled overseas.

Consider great aunt Dora who was born in Australia early last century. She has never had a Passport or a copy of her full Birth Certificate. Great aunt Dora never married so she no Government issued Marriage Certificate. At age ninety years, Dora decided to give up driving so she sold her car and surrendered her Driver’s Licence. Now great aunt Dora has neither a full Birth Certificates nor any form of photo ID.

But there is hope. Centrelink has another route to confirming  identity at Centrelink.

Not listed on the Centrelink website list of Customer Forms is a new form for ‘confirmation of identity in the community’. The new Centrelink form asks for:
• the customer’s date and place of birth;
• contact details for close family members such as siblings or children;
• contact details for any carer or personal support service, such as aged care at home, Council home help or personal care service;
• the date and names of the medical centre and treating doctor for her most recent medical treatment/consultation;
• her last three residential addresses plus evidence of ownership or lease;
• her last three employer’s names and addresses; and
• educational certificates or transcripts or school attendance records for young customers.

So great aunt Dora was able to satisfy the confirming  identity requirements at Centrelink. She had the Council Rates notice for her home and a recent bank statement that she had intended for the ‘Secondary use in Community’ part of the confirming identity process. Then great aunt Dora was able to find the Invoices for the carer who helps her at home and for her last visit to her local doctor. The paperwork was acceptable to Centrelink. Great aunt Dora had proved that she really was a real elderly lady living in her own home.

Showing Centrelink your personal documents for confirming identity at Centrelink

You could send your documents to Centrelink by mail and have them returned by a secure mail service. But few seniors want to be without a Driver Licence for a month while Centrelink perform the confirming identity process.

The more efficient option is to visit a Centrelink office for the confirming identity exercise.
Centrelink offices are usually less busy midweek. But the confirming identity process can still take an hour on a really good day.
On arrival at Centrelink you need to find the ‘reception person’ and state that you have come to “prove identity”. Reluctantly your name will be added to the list of customers for interview by Centrelink officers. You cannot use the Centrelink computer system to prove your own identity.

Finally remember that if you are senior enough to have no photo ID then you are senior enough to have a family member or friend accompany you to Centrelink. Your accompanying person can fill in the special Centrelink form for you to sign and hand in while you are at the Centrelink office.

Financial Care Services

Help is available. Christine at Financial Care Services is experienced with Centrelink Applications and the process for confirming identity.

Financial Care Services assists clients complete Centrelink forms and collate supporting documents. Christine supports seniors to attend a local Centrelink office for ‘confirmation of identity in the community’ interviews. Financial Care Services charges hourly rate fees for assistance with Centrelink matters.

Financial Care Services your independent financial adviser

Financial Care Services is an independent financial adviser focused on the needs of seniors in transition. Our clients are considering the potential for accessing Age Pensions on retirement. Our advice is valuable when seniors are moving into retirement lifestyle village communities or residential aged care.

Christine could also assist you with collating your personal data, checking your income and asset values for a Pension and completing the Centrelink forms for you to sign. Normal hourly rate consultation fees apply for assistance with personal data collation, completing Centrelink forms and attendance at a Centrelink office with you.

If you would like further confidential, independent and professional advice about Commonwealth means testing, Centrelink, lifestyle or financial issues please contact Christine Hopper.
These Insights are a general over view based on our understanding of the Social Security and DVA Pension arrangements. Individual entitlements to Social Security and DVA benefits are determined based on your actual situation as documented to Centrelink or DVA.
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