Retiree's 13-month wait for pension approval
The federal government has tried to streamline Centrelink processes, but for some older Australians, dealing with the welfare body is only getting harder, and the delays getting longer.
Carole Austin, 73, is a retiree with no income.
She applied for the age pension more than a year ago, but is still yet to hear whether she'll receive it.
Two months after submitting her paperwork, she was knocked back.
A 13-week appeal period followed, so Ms Austin immediately applied for a review.
After the 13-week period ended, she said she had a phone call from Centrelink seeking proof she was not receiving any income.
This was followed by months of silence.
After Ms Austin contacted her local MP, she was told her pension application had been rejected because she supplied the information Centrelink requested after the appeal period - although she said the request was only made after that time.
"I'm just totally disappointed in the whole thing," she said.
She is down to her last $17,000 and said Centrelink staff told her that her application will not be a priority until she is down to her last $2000.
Australian Pensioners and Superannuants League Queensland president Cherith Wise said pensioners should get together and fight for what they needed.
"You need more staff, definitely need more staff at Centrelink, or have a good look at the system and see where they can do better," she said.
David McIntosh claimed paperwork he had submitted to Centrelink had gone missing numerous times, and that Centrelink's calculations of his assets had left him out of pocket.
"I now find that I am actually losing $40, and this is despite the fact that my assets have dropped $50,000," he said.
"I can't understand it."
When Mr McIntosh first applied for the age pension, he received two letters on the same day - one requesting more details about his assets, and another approving his application.
A Current Affair has previously highlighted the long waiting times for people trying to contact Centrelink by phone.
Human Services Minister Michael Keenan said he was "not satisfied" with the service people had been receiving, and pointed to the government's investment in the body as an effort to improve its performance.
However, Labor's Ed Husic said additional staff was not the answer.
"You can't expect privatised labour brought in quickly to prop up Centrelink," he said.
But the government continues to insist Centrelink's efficiency will improve.