Big Issues

3 Things Everyone On Youth Allowance Is Sick Of Dealing With

No matter how hard you try to avoid Centrelink HQ, something always goes wrong.

Want more Junkee in your life? Sign up to our newsletter, and follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook so you always know where to find us.

This one time (at band camp) I wrote an article on how it feels to live on a youth allowance budget and one fella commented, “Wait, is this satire?”

The horror.

Now, I know you’re not supposed to read the comments, but his one pointed to the broader idea that anyone who counts on Centrelink to get by is a joke and a half – and it’s time to put an end to this.

But first, take a seat. These are the things people on youth allowance are sick of dealing with on the reg.

*in. T. Swift’s voice* Are you ready for it?

The Total Clusterfuck That Is Centrelink

It’s a known fact Centrelink is one hot mess. Here are the receipts.

I was served by a customer service officer, and guess what? All the computers blacked out. In another instance, a staff member attempted to rectify my problem, only to tell me another needed fixing. And no, it wasn’t a problem that could be fixed on the spot.

The result for both scenarios? I had to pay another visit to centre! Sad reacts only.

What’s worse, while I applied for 30 jobs a month under the jobseekers scheme, Centrelink dropped me. What is this, Puberty Blues?!

And, of course, the experience is not complete without one customer chucking a tanty, namely because the wait has been what? 84 years? Can relate.

Name one instance where you made it through one sesh unscathed. Chances are you can’t. No matter how hard you try to avoid Centrelink HQ, something is always up. Eye roll forever.

Being Told We’re Lazy

“No wonder why they call our generation ‘The Lazy Generation’. Everyone is so self-entitled and expects to get handouts. How about you all get a job instead?”

It’s a no from me.

When Year 12 kicked in (lol), I decided to quit my job selling whole chooks. I needed the marks to get into my first preference, considering that I was public school-educated, from western Sydney and wanted to study close to the CBD. And it worked.

Come main round offer time, I looked to Centrelink to nab that moolah. Sure, there were other options, but you know what? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Don’t call myself or anyone out for their sheer laziness. Where some abuse the system, others genuinely need it. In my case, I knew my strengths, and juggling work with full-time study wasn’t one of them.

Hearing Someone’s Success Story

Often, it involves them not relying on Centrelink. Example? “I’m an airport mechanic, and I earn $400 a fortnight so I know how it feels to not have a lot of money, but I still manage.”

I’m touched, but mate, I didn’t call 1800-DID-I-ASK.

Meanwhile, I received less than half of what the airport mechanic was getting. Was I on Struggle Street? Hell yeah I was – I could be on Survivor if I wanted to. And my struggle levels went up a notch when I did an internship on the side, too – it’s no wonder studies reveal students from low socioeconomic backgrounds are less likely to apply for an internship.

But look, the youth allowance days are temporary. Eventually, you’ll treat yo’ self with your nine-to-five money instead of the 88 cents left on your bank account

In the meantime, please bore someone else with your tales, non-Centrelinkers. We may not be a success story yet, but we’re a success story in the making.

And if you’re not convinced, I’ll see you in the comments.

Ryan Bautista is an Arts (Media, Culture and Technology) student at the University of New South Wales. Don’t @ him but pineapple belongs on pizza.