Mildura Weekly : Friday December 23 Vol 11 No 8
18 NEWS MILDURA WEEKLY FRIDAY, DECEMBER 23, 2016 CHANGES to Centrelink, Medi- care and Child Support pay- ments and services will apply over the Christmas and New Year period. All service centres and most phone lines providing Centre- link, Medicare and Child Sup- port services will be closed from December 26 to 28, and on Monday, January 2, 2017. Department of Human Ser- vices general manager, Hank Jongen, said self-service op- tions would continue to be available during the period. “The department’s Express Plus mobile apps, phone self- service lines and online ac- counts through myGov are the easiest way to do business with us over the Christmas and New Year break,” he said. “You will be able to check your reporting dates, update your details and report your earnings quickly and eas- ily with these options. You can also lodge some Medicare claims this way.” Mr Jongen said automatic payments would not be de- layed, but some people may receive their payments earlier than usual. “It’s important to remem- ber that an early payment is not an extra payment – it’s just your normal payment paid early,” he said. “You may need to budget carefully so this payment lasts until your next payment is due. “If you are due to report on a holiday closure date, you may need to report early. Your payment will be made after you have reported. “You can check your re- porting date on your reporting statement, which is displayed on your myGov and Centrelink online account or phone self- service. “We would have also sent you a reminder. While your re- porting date may be different, the assessment period remains the same. You still need to re- port estimates of earnings and other changes for your normal 14-day assessment period.” Mr Jongen said that no changes to child support ar- rangements would apply, how- ever payments made after De- cember 22 may be delayed by public holidays. “People can continue to lodge Medicare claims at their doctor’s office or using self-ser- vice,” he said. “Critical services for Medicare providers such as organ donor and PBS authori- ties will remain available over the Christmas/New Year pe- riod.” People can transfer funds to their BasicsCard through- out the holiday period by us- ing self-service, or by contact- ing 1800 132 594 between 8am and 5pm. BasicsCard balances can be checked at any time by calling 1800 057 111. More information about holiday period reporting and payment dates are available on- line at humanservices.gov.au/ holidays. The Department of Vet- erans’ Affairs (DVA) has also moved to assure veterans that access to crucial support ser- vices will continue throughout the Christmas and New Year period. DVA secretary, Simon Lewis, said that providing continued access to support services was important during the festive season – especially as many veterans find this time of year challenging. “While Christmas can be a time of celebration for most Australians, for veterans it can be an unpleasant reminder of all that was lost – a reminder of the men and women who didn’t make it back home, and of those continuing to serve our country far from their fam- ilies and loved ones,” he said. “I wish to reassure veterans and their families that while DVA services will be reduced during this break, help and support will remain available throughout the holiday period and they can continue to access crucial DVA services during this time.” The services that will re- main available to veterans in- cludes counselling, with the Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) of- fering 24-hour crisis counsel- ling, with the service available toll free on 1800 011 046 to vet- erans of all conflicts and their families. Also included is access to DVA’s online mental health in- formation and support portal www.at-ease.dva.gov.au, while DVA staff will be available to process transport requests for medical treatment between De- cember 28 and 30. The transport booking ser- vice will be closed on Decem- ber 26 and 27, and January 2. If transport is required during this period but has not been pre-booked, DVA clients can pay for the transport upfront and seek reimbursement when offices reopen. Alternatively, transport can be booked and reviewed, and travel expenses can be claimed online through DVA’s MyAc- count at https://myaccount. dva.gov.au. Doctors can also admit DVA patients into hospital and re- quest retrospective approval for the admission, where required, when DVA resumes full ser- vices on January 3, while help with Defence Service Homes (DSH) Insurance policy and claim enquiries will be avail- able 24-hours-a -day on 1300 552 662. Payments can be made on 1300 304 989, or via the DSH website www.dsh.gov.au. In regards to pharmaceuti- cal approvals, providers seek- ing prior approval for pharma- ceuticals can call the Veterans’ Affairs Pharmaceutical Advi- sory Centre (VAPAC) 24/7 on 1800 552 580. All DVA offices will close at the end of business today, and will resume full services on Tuesday, January 3, 2017. Mr Lewis added that there would be no change in pension payment dates over the Christ- mas-New Year period. Duo face multiple theft charges • From Page 8 He was remanded in custody to appear at Mildura Magistrate’s Court on February 1, 2017. The 27-year-old woman was charged with theft of a motor vehicle, attempted theft of a motor vehicle, two counts of burglary, two counts of theft, trafficking methyl amphet- amine, dealing property suspected to be the proceeds of crime, committing an indictable offence while on bail and 10 counts of contra- vening bail condition. She was also remanded in custody, and is expected to appear at Mildura Magistrate’s Court today. Mildura Tasking Unit members have been targeting offending in the Mildura area follow- ing information from the local community. Anyone with information about suspi- cious or criminal activity is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, or submit a confidential crime report online at www. crimestoppersvic.com.au. Residents urged to look out for festive season thieves • From Page 8 “While there is no good time to be a victim of theft, the holiday period is a particularly painful one,” AC Walsh said. “During Decem- ber last year, there were more than 13,000 in- cidents of theft (across Victoria). “That equates to more than $25million in cash, appliances, jewellery, equipment and food just to mention a few. Thieves will liter- ally steal presents off the backseats of cars and from underneath Christmas trees. “We’re also seeing the theft of personal items while people are out and about. Mobile phones, wallets and handbags can easily be stolen in a crowd if left unattended, or if their owner is distracted. “We want to encourage the community to do all they can to make sure they’re making it as hard as possible for these crooks so they don’t ruin their Christmas.” Residents are being advised to lock their cars, and hide any valuables left in the car, or remove them altogether. Parking in secure garages where possible is also advised. Keys should also not be stored in obvi- ous places inside the house, with people also encouraged to install good quality locks on doors and windows at home, and keep them locked, even when they’re at home. “If you’re going away for the holidays, ask a neighbour to bring in your mail and bins,” AC Walsh said. “While out shopping, make sure to keep your personal items close and do not leave them unattended. “If you need to store items in your car, make sure they’re out of sight. “While we can ramp up our patrols, we can’t be there all the time making sure you’ve locked your car or house, or that you’ve put your valuables out of sight in your vehicle. “The tips can be used as a checklist for families. They’re pretty simple and could re- ally save a lot of heartache.” Centrelink, Medicare announce festive season service changes HAVE YOURSELVES A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A SAFE AND HAPPY NEW YEAR.
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