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1f. Centrelink online and setting up a myGov account

Est. read time: 3 min

Affected by coronavirus (COVID-19)?

The best option for everyone’s health and safety is to do as much as possible online, or over the phone.  You do not have to attend a Centrelink office with ID to register, or wait on the phone. You can now prove your identity over the phone and lodge an intent to claim online through MyGov.

New streamlined processes have been implemented to register for Centrelink payments online.  Centrelink will then contact you directly to confirm your identity, give you a Customer Reference Number (CRN) and a linking code to set up your access to your Centrelink online account through MyGov.  The next step is to finalise your claim.

Important changes to some Centrelink support payments apply from 1 April 2021, including Jobseeker and Youth allowance payments. If you are self isolating due to COVID-19, or are caring for someone who is, then you may be eligible for exemptions from mutual obligation requirements until 30 June.  You can read more about the changes, and the timeline of changes, on the Services Australia website.

Centrelink services can be accessed online, by phone, or by visiting a service centre. Specialist services (social work and financial information) are now only available online or by phone.

[Updated 1/4/20]

Centrelink online services include claiming an entitlement to a payment, updating details, getting reminders and reporting your income. You can also subscribe so that you only receive letters from Centrelink online, which can help with keeping your details private and only accessible by you.

Centrelink also supports people affected by family and domestic violence by providing specific information, resources and referrals.

A complete list of all the things you can do with your online account is found on the Centrelink website.

In order to create a Centrelink online account you need to:

  1. Create a myGov account if you do not already have one.
  2. Register online with Centrelink to receive a Customer Reference Number (CRN)
  3. Using your myGov account, create a Centrelink online account.

Registering with Centrelink


If you have previously received a payment from Centrelink, you will already have a Customer Reference Number (CRN), which can be found on a letter that Centrelink has previously sent to you, or on your Health Care Card, if you have one.

If you have never received a payment from Centrelink, don't have a CRN or don't know your CRN, you will need to register online and provide evidence of ID.  

If this is not possible, or you do not have the required ID for online registration,  you can visit a service centre to get a CRN. See this list of locations of Centrelink Service Centres.  You will need to bring certain original documents to confirm your identity. See these Examples of acceptable identification documents. If you do not have enough documents, let Centrelink know so that you can talk about other options.

Create a myGov account


MyGov is a way to access a range of government online services with one login and one password, including Centrelink, Child Support and Medicare.

To create a myGov account visit the myGov website, select the “Create an account” button and follow the steps. You will need to set up a username with an email address, and a password. You can also choose to access your account by either answering a series of secret questions, or receiving a text with a code to your mobile phone. You will need to select the option that is most appropriate to keep access to your account private. You may need to limit access to your mobile phone by other people if you choose to receive the access code by text message. When accessing online services, you will need to be wary of cookies or other prompts on your computer that may save usernames or passwords, especially if your computer is accessible by others, in order to keep your account private.

You can learn more in the guide page: Creating a myGov account.

Create a Centrelink online account


If you have received a Centrelink payment before, you may already have a CRN and access to an online account.

In order to create your online account, you will have to link Centrelink to your myGov account.  You will need:

  • your CRN;
  • access to identification documents that prove your identity to Centrelink (e.g. a bank account statement that Centrelink has deposited money to, driver's licence or passport you have provided to Centrelink previously or a letter you have received from Centrelink);
  • to set an online account password and secret questions. Make sure that your password and secret questions are only answerable by you.

To link Centrelink to myGov:

  1. Sign in to your myGov account and select Services, then select Centrelink.
  2. Follow the steps to link your Centrelink member service to myGov.  If you do not already have a Centrelink account, choose the ‘I do not have an online account with Centrelink' option.

Learn more on how to link Centrelink to myGov.

You may also choose to register for Phone Self-Service by agreeing to the terms and setting a PIN.

Read more about how to register for a Centrelink Online Account.

Once registered, you will receive a Customer Access Number (CAN) – a number you need to access all Centrelink online services. You will need to keep a record of your CAN.

You can use your CAN to access your Centrelink account through Centrelink's Self Service Centre, including via their Express Plus Lite mobile app. You can provide documents to Centrelink through the app by taking a photo with your phone and uploading to the app. This can make reporting to Centrelink quicker and easier and your interactions with Centrelink more private.

Centrelink online and mobile app is available 24 hours, 7 days a week.

[Article last updated:  1/4/21]

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