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1f. Centrelink online and setting up a myGov account

Est. read time: 5 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 no longer 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.

If you are new to Centrelink, 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.  The next step is to finalise your claim.

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 31/12/20]

Response to COVID-19:  JobSeeker Payment

There have been temporary changes to the eligibility rules during the Coronavirus pandemic.  You may be able to receive the JobSeeker payment if your work situation changes because of COVID-19 for one of the following reasons:

  • employees stood down or let go;
  • sole traders, self employed, casual workers and contract workers who’s income has been effected as a result of the economic downturn due to the Coronavirus; and
  • those caring for someone who’s affected by the Coronavirus

You can read more about the timeline of changes to JobSeeker during COVID-19 at the Services Australia website.

Response to COVID-19:  Support for Individuals and Households

  • The Coronavirus Supplement is available to recipients of the JobSeeker Payment and other eligible income support payments.  From 1 January to 31 March, 2021, the supplement will be $150 per fortnight.
  • If you are eligible for the Coronavirus Supplement, this will automatically be paid to you – there is no need to contact Centrelink

[Updated: 31/12/20]

Response to COVID-19:  Changes to Claims and Your Obligations

Earlier in the year, the government suspended mutual obligation requirements. However, in all Australian states other than Victoria you must now meet your mutual obligation requirements.  Full details of your obligations, and circumstances under which you might receive an exemption, are on the Services Australia website.

Response to COVID-19 :  JobKeeper Payment

Businesses that are significantly impacted by the Coronavirus will be able to access a wage subsidy in the form of the JobKeeper Payment to reimburse them for payments made to eligible employees.  This payment is passed on to the employees (regardless of whether they previously earned more or less than the amount of the subsidy) by the employer minus any tax withheld by the employer at the relevant rate

From 28 September 2020, the JobKeeper payment reduced to $1,200 per fortnight, and to $750 per fortnight for those earning less than 20 hours per week. The rate will fall again on 4 January 2021 to $1,000 per fortnight and to $650 per fortnight for those working less than 20 hours per week.

You can find information for employees about JobKeeper at the Australian Tax Office website.

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

Registering with Centrelink


The procedure below is the normal process for registering with Centrelink.  Please see the alert box at the top of this page for the new streamlined process implemented in late March, 2020, to deal with high demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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 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.

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