Dear Abe,

Someone told me that I should get a receipt from Centrelink just for talking to them. I don’t understand what that means, and whether that is important.


Dear Receiptless,

Centrelink get lots of stuff wrong. Lots. When a Centrelink worker accesses your file their computer generates a receipt number for that transaction. If you keep a record of that receipt number (you can email it to yourself), you can trace back the information that they gave you, and that you reasonably believed to be true. In the future if that turns out to be false information, or if they say that you didn’t tell them something when in fact you did, you will then have the receipt to prove what you are saying is true.

If you have an interaction with someone at Centrelink and they do not access your file, you will not have a receipt number. In this case, instead, ask them for their name and note that down, together with the time and date. It might seem a little over the top, but if you have problems with Centrelink in the future, the receipt numbers and other notes might become VERY helpful.