Right after COVID hit, my friend was stood down from her role until further notice – a reality that not long ago, many Australians faced. Having missed out on the JobKeeper payments by one month, she went to the myGov website to apply for the JobSeeker payments.
Thinking that she had applied correctly, months went by and she saw that her peers had received their JobSeeker payments, yet, she had not received one piece of communication from Centrelink. Feeling frustrated, she tried calling any number listed on the Centrelink website in order to be transferred to the correct department, only to be told that she needed her Customer Reference Number that was provided to her over a decade ago when she first started her Bachelors. My friend's story is happening nation-wide.
During normal times, Centrelink is a complex and disjointed system. When the country needs their services the most, the inefficiencies of the system are highlighted. With financial planners inundated with requests for access to superannuation, they know accessing social security benefits can provide additional support; however, dealing with the complex Centrelink system can be frustrating – even for planners.
Sheena Stow-Smith, Founder and Managing Director of AdviceLink, a Centrelink outsourcing service known for providing Social Service expertise, is supporting financial planners to grow their business with an offering that is highly valued by their clients. Sheena is making it her mission to help more clients, more Nans, and Pops, and mums and dads with claiming and maintaining their Social Service benefits.
Working as an external service, Sheena works closely with financial planners to understand their clients' individual circumstances to ensure each Centrelink process is treated with care and with transparent communication between the financial planner, client and AdviceLink.
Financial planners work to add value while navigating a continually changing regulatory environment. Planners have their clients' best interests in mind and often have long standing relationships with them, seeing them through many life changes. A Centrelink service may be disregarded as the process can be time-consuming and burdensome, even for the best of the best. This is why Sheena founded AdviceLink to assist financial planners with minimal impact on their practice.
Elliot Watson from Elliot Watson Financial Planning states,
AdviceLink provides a solution to help our clients and us. It helps our clients avoid the heartache and pain when dealing with Centrelink. It is rare to come across someone with a good Centrelink experience. In fact, quite the opposite, some clients have tears in their eyes when they tell the story of dealing with the department. AdviceLink helps to avoid that.
AdviceLink not only simplifies the claims process, it regularly reviews clients to maximise client benefits. So how does it work:
- Identifying and Onboarding – The client signs a Support Service Agreement and Centrelink Nomination (once off per client) with AdviceLink.
- Centrelink Income and Assets are Reviewed – AdviceLink provides an Income and Asset Schedule with details currently on Centrelink, to be reviewed with the client and with the support of the financial planner.
- AdviceLink Updates and Follow Ups – AdviceLink will update and follow up on the required changes with Centrelink and conveys this to the client and financial planner for a smooth process to the outcome they desire.
To provide a truly holistic financial planning service, Centrelink needs to form a part of the overall advice process. Head to AdviceLink's website and start providing your clients with the added benefit of Centrelink support for Social Security and Aged Care clients.