Make sure you understand changes to payments over the holidays.
Make sure you understand changes to payments over the holidays.

Centrelink and Medicare changes - what you need to know

THERE will be some changes to payments and services over the Christmas and New Year holiday period for Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support customers.

All service centres and most phone lines providing Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support services will be closed on the following days: Tuesday December 25, Wednesday December 26, Thursday December 27 and Tuesday January 1.

Some smaller sites - including Remote Service Centres, Agent Services and Access Points - may close from December 24 and re-open for business on January 2. Closure dates will be advertised to local communities as they may vary between sites.

Department of Human Services general manager Hank Jongen said self-service options would continue to be available during the holiday period.

"You will still be able to use myGov to access your online accounts during this time,'' Mr Jongen said.

"The department's Express Plus mobile apps, phone self-service lines and online accounts are the easiest way to do business with us over the Christmas and New Year break.

"You can use your Centrelink online account through myGov to change some of your appointments, apply for an advance payment and request a document."

Mr Jongen said people would be able to check their reporting dates, report employment income, update their details and also lodge some Medicare claims.

Automatic payments would not be delayed by the holidays, but some people may receive their payments earlier than usual.

"It's important to remember that an early payment is not an extra payment - it's just the normal payment paid early. People may need to budget carefully so this payment lasts until their next payment is due," Mr Jongen said.

"People who are due to report on a holiday closure date may need to report early. Their payment will be made after they have reported.

"Reporting dates are on reporting statements and people can check them through their myGov and Centrelink online accounts or phone self-service.

"While reporting dates may be different, the assessment period remains the same. People still need to report estimates of earnings and other changes for their normal 14 day assessment period.

"There are no changes to Child Support arrangements, however payments made after 22 December may be delayed by public holidays.

"People can continue to lodge Medicare claims at their doctor's office or using self-service. Critical services for Medicare providers such as organ donor and PBS authorities will remain available over the Christmas/New Year period."

People can transfer funds to their BasicsCard throughout the holiday period by using self-service or calling 1800 132 594 between 8am-5pm. BasicsCard balances can be checked at any time by calling 1800 057 111.

Find out more about holiday period reporting and payment dates at humanservices.gov.au/holidays