Five feels only students who receive Youth Allowance will understand

September 08, 2016
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At some point you’ve probably had to rely on Centrelink to support your measely income. It seems like a dream at the beginning – free money just for being a student?! But oh, there's a catch. It's not long before you realise that Centrelink is one of the most painful experiences of your student life. While we would never give up the opp to be given free money with no obligation to pay it back, these are the frustrating feels you'll know too well if you receive Youth Allowance.

Being on hold for eternity

You need to set aside at least two hours of your day for a call to Centrelink. In saying that, you can get so much life admin done while you’re on hold. If someone answers within the hour you actually get excited. That’s if you haven’t been driven crazy by the hold music.

You now know Mozart and Vivaldi compositions by heart. Even worse, you know the exact order Centrelink is going to be playing this never-ending cycle of classical music. As your wait time gets longer, you even start to hum along without realising. And if your phone dies before they’ve even answered your call, a rage meltdown is totally justified.

Learning the true meaning of patience

Whether it’s waiting months for your Youth Allowance application to finally be approved or waiting in line at Centrelink, you feel like you’ve learned a lesson or two in self-restraint. Centrelink buildings are officially the most depressing places ever and there’s only so many times you can check Instagram and Snapchat before you die of boredom. But once your name finally gets called, you feel like the whole experience has made you a stronger person.

Eternal problems

There’s always an issue. We don’t know what system Centrelink is using but something is bound to go wrong. For reasons unknown to anyone, Centrelink is bound to lose your forms or get some crucial detail wrong, which means you won’t get paid on time (or at all). So it's back to Centrelink or back on the phone to go through the whole terrible ordeal again. On one phone call you’ll be assured the issue is taken care of and the next time you call, there will be no record of that conversation whatsoever.

But with so many errors going on, at some point they’re bound to slip up and make a mistake in your favour. Hopefully an error that results in doubling your payment. We can dream, right?

Living it up when that fortnightly payment comes in

That fortnight feels like forever, but when you finally get paid it’s time to spend big. In that one day, you manage to blow the entire payment  on an ASOS splurge. But hey, you deserve to treat yo self. Especially since you’ve been living on tuna and rice for the last 13 days (and will continue to do so until your next payment comes in).

… but you earn too much to actually qualify for a good payment

So working harder and putting in more hours at your part-time job qualifies for less money from Centrelink. Huh. The feeling of FREE MONEY is super underwhelming when you're only receiving $27 in your bank account every fortnight. Oh good, that will basically cover... nothing.

So instead, you begin to seek out jobs that pay cash in hand or you call in sick for more shifts so your Centrelink payment gets bumped up. We didn’t want to resort to this Centrelink, but you didn’t give us much choice.

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