How to apply for Centrelink payments for the first time


Desperate Australians have queued outside Centrelink offices and overwhelmed the MyGov website in the wake of massive job losses as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The government last week boosted the JobSeeker payment with a coronavirus supplement of $550 extra a fortnight, which will also be provided to those who receive Youth Allowance, Parenting, Farm Household Allowance and Special Benefit payments.

If this is your first time navigating the Centrelink process, here's here's how to do it.

coronavirus applying for newstart jobseeker allowance

First, you'll need to set up a MyGov account, and link it to Centrelink.

Next, you'll need to get your documents in order. Service Australia lists the following as some of the more common ones:

Sign into your myGov account online, then go to the Centrelink page. From here, select Payments and Claims from the menu, then Claims, then Make a claim.

You'll then move through a number of pages where you'll have to answer questions about your circumstances. Finally you'll have to submit the requested supporting documentation either in-person or digitally via your Centrelink account. More information on uploading digitally can be found here.

While everyone's situation is different, one thing is certain - failing to seek help will only make matters worse. The sooner help is sought, the sooner relief can arrive.

"We want people to make sure that the action they take today will make tomorrow easier," says Kristen Hartnett from the Salvation Army's Moneycare service.

"That means bringing people into your support network, which could be a call to a financial counsellor."

Seeking assistance won't just help your financial situation; it has psychological benefits, too.

"We know things don't get better on their own - it takes action. Even just talking through the situation can re-establish people's sense of psychological control."

Where to get help

  • JobSeeker helpline: 132 850
  • Salvos Moneycare: (02) 9633 5011

We're cutting through the confusion to help you manage your money during the coronavirus outbreak. Click here for more on how COVID-19 could affect your job, budget, super and investments.


David Thornton is a journalist at Money magazine. He previously worked at Your Money, covering market news as producer of Trading Day Live. Before that, he covered business and finance news at The Constant Investor. David holds a Masters of International Relations from the University of Melbourne.
Sue Payne
March 29, 2020 8.39pm

This isn't right. If you haven't been on Centrelink before you don't have a CRN number, so you can't register online.

So it looks like a visit with rest of the corona virus possibly infected customers.

Andy Filan
May 25, 2020 1.51pm

You can get a CRN via phone, you DON'T have to queue up

Nicholas Cummins
March 29, 2020 10.31pm

This is a bad article. What if you have never signed up to centerlink?

This is full of such bad advice and you skipped over the part that "link my gov to centerlink" which involves you going to the office and waiting eight hours with three forms of ID.

And you can't even get centerlink if you and your partner earn over $900 a week.

Not a great article at all.

Jon Bradshaw
May 27, 2020 7.52pm

Yep , you're right. A dead end if you're not already signed up with a CRN number

Post a comment
Link to something D1JyZMJv