Independent Member for Clark, Andrew Wilkie, has slammed Centrelink for continuing to monster older Australians, including a Hobart octogenarian who has been asked to provide financial records dating back almost two decades or risk losing her Age Pension.
“It looks like the Centrelink computer has gone rogue again, sending out barely comprehensible letters to older Australians,” Mr Wilkie said. “Has the Federal Government learned nothing from the Robodebt debacle?
“My office continues to receive calls from constituents who have received correspondence from Centrelink because of these automated income stream reviews, which have become an annual event. One of the worst I have seen was recently received by an 82-year-old in West Hobart.
“Under the seemingly innocuous heading of ‘request for information’, this three-page letter goes on to demand she provide evidence of income from 2003 through to 2021. To add insult to injury, she has been given just weeks to produce and upload the documentation or her ‘Age Pension may be stopped’.
“This is an overwhelming task that would challenge an accountant, let alone a retired teacher from West Hobart. And the threat of cancelling pension payments can be terrifying for people who rely on that money to live from week to week.
“I’m all for making sure people are being paid the right amount, but surely there should at least be some human oversight before computers fire off page after page of perplexing paperwork to thousands of older Australians. Let’s show a little more respect.”