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The news Centrelink didn't tell single parents - until now

Verification bombshell - Every Australian single parent to be reviewed

By Jason Bryce | 16 May 2017

The government announced last week that new single mums will need to be verified single to collect Centrelink payments. Now has discovered something else...

Centrelink Australian single parent verification exclusive - stock photo source:

Every existing single parent

will be reviewed by Centrelink

The government announced last week that new single mums will need to be verified single to collect Centrelink payments. Now has discovered something else – every existing single parent will be reviewed by Centrelink in 2018.

Many single mums know that verification for Parenting Payment Single is nothing new. But the government nevertheless made a major announcement that new claimants will need to be verified as separated to collect single rate payments.

The government loudly proclaimed this new requirement as part of the budget last week and gained plenty of mostly positive media coverage.

What the government didn't say in the media release is that all existing recipients of the Centrelink Parenting Payment Single will be reviewed and also have to supply written verification of their single status. has obtained confirmation from the Department of Human Services of this unprecedented examination of existing Centrelink recipients. And an explanation of exactly how the new verification system will work.

A spokesperson for the Department of Human Services said "The stronger relationship verification measure is a change of process."

"The current process involves two referees being contacted by phone," said the DHS Spokesperson.

"This will be replaced by a more formal written process."

Now, new claimants of Parenting Payment (Single) who identify as separated (including those transferring from Parenting Payment Partnered) are required to provide the contact details of two referees. These people will possibly be contacted by phone and asked to confirm they know the claimant and know the claimant to be single.

You will need to ask someone to be your referee - stock photo source:
You will need to ask someone to be your referee

Under the new measure, one referee is required to fill out and sign a new form that verifies the claimant's relationship status. Referees face up to 12 months in prison for providing false information.

"From 1 January 2018, this new process will be used to stage reviews of existing recipients of Parenting Payment (Single) and Newstart," the departmental spokesperson told yesterday.

"From 20 September 2018, this new process will apply to new claimants of Parenting Payment (Single) and Newstart."

So from January first, all single mums now collecting parenting payment will be asked to provide a referee to sign a written legally binding statement. That wasn't announced loudly on budget day to widespread applause from the mainstream media.

"I was not aware that all single mothers are about to be reviewed and asked for verification," said Terese Edwards, CEO of the National Council for Single Mothers and their Children.

"Verification implies that women can't be trusted or are not capable of providing clear, truthful information," said Terese.

"It sets up an air of distrust. There is no respect."

And Terese foresees other problems.

The potential of revenge dobbing-in - stock photo source:
The potential of revenge dobbing-in

"What if there is a breakdown in the relationship with one of the referees? They could call up Centrelink, anonymously if they like, and question the single status of the recipient."

Many mums, and other people, have commented on forums and our Australian Single Mum Facebook Pages that they agree with verification for new claimants.

What you might not know, until now, is that you may well be about to be reviewed as well. You may have to find someone you can trust to make a legally binding statement that you are still single.

Just because you have been receiving parenting Payment Single for years makes no difference. All single parents must be verified, again, or excluded from payments.

Jason Bryce
Business & Finance Journalist

Further Australian Single Parent reading

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These income management trials apply to all payments and to all welfare recipients, including those parents simply getting a few dollars of Family Tax Benefit Part A each fortnight... more...

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The Single Parent 2017 Budget Round Up
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Government Orders Single Parents To Be Verified more...

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Single parents targeted by Centrelinks robo-debt - here are five ways to avoid being branded a welfare cheat... more...

Have your say on this story - do you think verification of all single parents is unfair or reasonable? Make a comment below!

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go to Jason Bryce's Biography

Jason is a business and finance journalist with 20 years experience, and is also a member of the Expert Opinion Panel. He has a regular weekly column in the Sunday Mail (Brisbane) and writes regularly for the Business Daily section of the Herald Sun in Melbourne and many other newspapers and magazines.

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Disclaimer: The views of authors on our website are not necessarily representative of those views of our website. Articles contain only general information, correct at the date of publication. For advice regarding your own personal circumstances, always seek individual advice from a qualified professional. This article may not be reprinted, reproduced, or retransmitted in whole or in part without the express written consent of Please read the complete Disclaimer here

What does it mean to be a single mum?Of course, the


are the most important thing in a single mum's life. Kids are the focus and always have been. But along with the children, there are other matters that can confuse a single mum's life.


plays a big part of a single mother's life, mainly because this is where a large percentage of single mums get their finances from. Centrelink are the source from where the

single mother pension

, or as it is otherwise known, the single parent payment comes from. The single mother pension is a subsistence amount, but just the same, it is money to live on, and so it is important, no matter if it is called single parent payment, single mother pension or whatever Centrelink welfare classes it at the time

Often, single mums come out of a


or defacto relationship only to find that their troubles have just begun, and find that their first step leads them towards Family Law - it's time to engage a lawyer.
There are more than just Centrelink finance problems to worry about, as mentioned before, but also

child custody

issues. Child custody is something that hits right at the heart of

single mums

. If a single mother's ex husband or ex partner has been a domestic violence perpetrator, the mum may be greatly worried about child custody. They worry that their kids won't be safe with their spouse, who has already proven to be abusive because they caused

domestic violence

, which resulted in a divorce or separation.

Even so,

Family Court

will often still order a form of child custody named

Shared Parenting

. Shared Parenting is a form of child custody division of time or parental responsibility between the parents. Mother's often look for a good divorce lawyer to try to avoid share parenting with an abusive ex-spouse after divorce, however in many cases Shared Parenting is still the outcome after the divorce, no matter how good the divorce lawyers have been. They will often settle for visitation at a contact centre or access centre where fathers or mothers are supervised during child custody access.

Please remember the bigger font words,because we will use it often in our website.