The Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman (the Office) investigates complaints about Australian Government agencies including Centrelink.

It is important that you read the information below before you make a complaint.

Our service is free and we are independent and impartial.

What we can do:

  • We can investigate complaints related to Centrelink within the Department of Human Services.
  • We will act in an independent and impartial way in considering your complaint.
  • We will consider and respond to all complaints made, but not all complaints proceed to an investigation.
  • We will always contact you in response to your complaint and give you reasons for our decision.

If your issue is about Centrelink's online income data matching system click here.

What we cannot do:

  • We cannot investigate every complaint we receive about Centrelink. We may contact you to suggest other options available to you to progress your complaint.
  • We cannot become your advocate for Centrelink matters or give you legal or similar advice.
  • We cannot direct Centrelink to take action or change a decision.

Before you make a complaint

You need to try and resolve the complaint with Centrelink directly before you contact us. We are more likely to investigate if you have done this first.

If you cannot get through to Centrelink on the phone, we suggest making contact:

Allow Centrelink 10 business days to respond to your complaint. If you are not satisfied with Centrelink’s response to your complaint, you can contact us.

Always ask for a Centrelink complaint reference number so that you have a record of your complaint. We will ask you for this if we decide to investigate your complaint.

How to make a complaint

Contact us if you, or someone you know, has an issue or complaint about Centrelink.

If you are making a complaint about a Centrelink decision, you may be able to have it reviewed.

Here are some examples of when you can request a review:

  • Centrelink says you owe a debt
  • Centrelink has rejected your claim
  • Centrelink does not agree to back-pay you
  • Centrelink has reduced, suspended or cancelled your payment.

You can find information about requesting a Centrelink review here.

If you disagree with a decision by a Centrelink Authorised Review Officer, you may be able to ask the Administrative Appeals Tribunal to review the decision. Click here for more information.

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