Centrelink Wait Times

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Centrelink Processing Times – Minimum 10-12 weeks

With an ageing population and an ever-increasing number of people applying for Centrelink benefits, the processing times of applications is understandably getting longer. 

Centrelink have several different departments who are responsible for processing the variety of applications they receive.  The Older Australians team is responsible for processing applications and updates relating to the Age Pension and Commonwealth Seniors Health Care Card (CSHCC), with separate teams processing Low Income Health Care Cards (LIHCC), Carer and Disability payments.

Processing times:

Where you are applying to receive a payment (i.e. Age Pension, Carers Payment, Disability Pension, Newstart Allowance), current processing times are estimated to be at least 10 – 12 weeks.  These applications are prioritised due to the applicant being eligible to receive a fortnightly payment.  In the Older Australians department, we have been advised that the staff are predominately working through the backlog of Age Pension applications as a priority over any Commonwealth Seniors Health Care Card applications. 

Where you have applied for a Concession Card (LIHCC or CSHCC) the processing times are currently 12+ weeks. 

Things to consider:

To ensure your application is processed in a timely manner it is important to ensure you have submitted all required supporting and identity documents.  We provide the following list to assist in making your application process as smooth as possible;

New applicants:
  • If you have not been in receipt of a Centrelink benefit for the past 2 years, we recommend attending a Centrelink office to provide them with your Identity documents and to request a ‘linking code’. Click the link for details on what’s required.
  • This ‘linking code’ will enable you to access your Centrelink records through your MyGov account.  Accessing Centrelink through your MyGov account is the easiest and fastest way to ‘make a claim’.
Existing applicants:
  • Where you are in receipt of a Centrelink benefit and are eligible for a different benefit, you can access your Centrelink record through your MyGov account to ‘make a claim’.
  • You will automatically be able to complete the claim online and upload supporting documents via your phone, tablet or computer. 
Application process:
  • If you are applying to receive a payment and continue to receive fortnightly income from employment, Centrelink will require you to supply payslips even after you submit your claim, through to the date that your application is approved.  The easiest way to meet this request is to upload each payslip through your MyGov portal. 
  • When providing a snapshot of your financial information, you will be required to obtain a current balance as at the date of your claim.  This is important to ensure that Centrelink are processing your up to date information.

If you are eligible for a Centrelink benefit, it is important to lodge your claim and supporting documents as early as possible.  This will ensure that once your application has been approved, your benefits will be backdated to the initial date of your claim.  However, should Centrelink issue a ‘request for further information’, it is imperative that you submit all required supporting documents within the time frames given so that your application remains ‘pending’.  Should you fail to supply information within the time limits (usually 28 days), your application may be rejected or cancelled.  At this time, you would need to reapply and any approved benefits will be backdated to the date you reapplied and not your initial claim date.

If you are unsure of the process of applying for Centrelink, or concerned about the current processing times for Centrelink applications, we encourage you to contact the office to discuss, or contact Centrelink directly.     


  1. Ron Richards on February 12, 2020 at 4:31 pm

    Andrew, If the Centrelink processing time for a LIHCC is 12 weeks plus, is it possible for Muirfield to leverage / request Centrelink that the renewable application forms be sent 12 weeks prior to the the expiry date.
    Denise and I had to visit the CES office several times post our expiry dates chasing up our new cards.We were without the benefits for several weeks. Regards Ron.
    PS. Sending them out 2 weeks prior to the expiry date is B—shit.!

    • The Muirfield Team on February 14, 2020 at 5:13 pm

      Hi Ron,

      Dealing with Centrelink can certainly be challenging and we understand your frustration.
      Unfortunately, we don’t have a direct line to Centrelink so there’s not a lot we can do to try and get this changed. They tend to give preference to processing Age Pension claims and the like over the concession cards. Hopefully, over time they improve their systems so that there isn’t such a wait to renew cards and payments.

      All the best


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