What’s going to change for you when you need support while finding work?

Alison is in her late 20s, has a science degree and is a qualified professional with several years’ experience working in the mining industry until the shutdown of her work area.  

3 years ago Alison was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in her spine. This makes it even harder for her to look for work because she currently can’t work full-time. Her stress levels mean that she has trouble finding the energy and motivation to search for a new job.

The upheaval in Alison’s life has left her feeling overwhelmed, anxious and a failure. She is extremely anxious about her financial situation. She worries about keeping up her mortgage payments as well as meeting her other expenses.

It is 10 years since Alison last accessed government support. She has no idea what help is available and where to start looking for it. She wants to return to work and feel like a valued professional but isn’t sure when or how to do this. She is anxious about the stigma that some people attach to welfare.

Getting support in 2018

Alison goes to the payment finder on the Department of Human Services website. Even though it presents a limited number of choices, she selects the first option as she feels overwhelmed. She follows the instructions on how to claim, but is unable to continue as the system requests information she doesn’t have.

Alison goes to her local service centre to prove her identity. Waiting to be served is difficult for her. Her anxiety is causing her to feel restless, with a tightening feeling in her chest.

The following day she completes and submits her claim online. The ‘next steps’ page asks her to book a telephone interview to work out her job search requirements.

When Alison receives a call from Centrelink for her interview she finds it hard to concentrate and doesn’t understand what it is about. They ask her some questions she has already answered in her claim and is frustrated that she has to answer them again. She is worried that Centrelink will not believe that she is unwell and override her doctor’s advice. The interviewer is kind and patient, advising exactly what extra documentation she needs to provide.

A couple of weeks after the interview, Alison hasn’t heard anything so calls to find out what is happening. They tell her that everything will be finalised soon.

Although she is relieved that her payment has started, Alison is still feeling anxious that Centrelink will not accept her medical condition as she has received a letter advising she will need to have a further medical assessment.

It is a worryingly long time until the next assessment is available. She attends her assessment but feels confused by the different terminology used. The uncertainty of her future leaves her feeling disengaged. She is unsure of what will happen after her assessment and whether she will find work.

A woman holding a job application.

Getting support in 2025

Alison worries about how she is going to pay her bills and is feeling like a failure. She seeks government support.

Alison already has a myGov account and an established digital identity. Records reported to the Australian Taxation Office show that she is no longer employed. Alison interacts with a virtual assistant in natural language. This helps her to find nearby work that may be suitable and of interest to her. It will also alleviate the stress of completing her claim for financial support. Her claim is assessed based on the data she provided and Alison is advised her claim is successful.

Alison is surprised at her ability to claim financial support online. Alison thinks it is great to be supported as she steps through the claim process. Relevant information is pre-populated to her profile, including the Australian Taxation Office verification of employment separation details.

Alison receives an email explaining the process. This helps her to feel positive about the future and excited to be getting help to be able to work again.

As all of Alison’s information has already been uploaded she is not required to provide anything further. Her assessment is completed on the spot, with suggested support that is tailored to her situation. It takes into account Alison’s personal and medical factors to give her the best chance of regaining long-term, sustainable employment.

After her assessment Alison collaborates with a specialised provider. They negotiate a job plan tailored to her needs using all the data she has provided.

As Alison’s circumstances change, relevant agencies are automatically notified and she receives information to better understand the impact on her support. Alison feels secure and more confident about her future and returning to work.