We all know singles get paid more than couples when it comes to receiving Centrelink. But in some cases, Centrelink has to determine whether or not you’re in a relationship with whoever you’re living with, and as it turns out, they ask a bunch of invasive questions to find out.
There’s even a specific document for it: the relationship details form.
“Use this form to tell us about your relationship with another person so we can assess your correct entitlement to payment at either the single or partnered rate,” the form says.
“This may be for future entitlements, or payments received in the past.”
Just how invasive these questions are was recently brought to light by a Twitter user who poignantly described them as “sick shit.”
get a load of this sick shit cenno ask you if you have housemates.
you fuck? have you ever fucked? fuck others?
"give details on how you and the other person access a bathroom" (real quote)
— David Sligar (@DavidSligar) September 21, 2020
Let’s take a look at some of the questions, shall we?
I… uhhh… what?
That’s right. After asking more mundane questions like how long you’ve lived together and who pays the water bill, Centrelink then point-blank askes if you and your housemates are banging.
Somebody should probably inform them that two (or more) people don’t necessarily need to fuck to be in a relationship, and two people can also sleep together – regularly or otherwise – without being in any kind of relationship.
The form then moves onto bathroom politics, which tbh, would be a nice problem to have.
Not sure if they think we all live in five-bathroom mansions, or if they’re just projecting their bathroom anxiety onto the rest of us, but once again: weird question, Centerlink.
Perhaps whoever came up with this questionnaire should give the public an itemised list of everyone they’ve slept with and a map of all the bathrooms they’ve ever used. Just to safe, ya know?
People reacted as you’d expect to this piss-take of a form.
I often request three laundries in any small apartment I rent, just so I don’t get in trouble with someone using the same washer or drier.
— We must save Koalas from extinction (@Learn15856480) September 22, 2020
Is this the form they make people on Centrelink fill out to prove they’re not sexually or romantically involved with their housemate? Because, in the eyes of the Aust government, having sex with your housemate instantly reduces your rent and they don’t have to pay you as much.
— Pearl (@pearlparky) September 22, 2020
centrelink is like "before we give you a little money, do you get the sloppy toppy from your housemates? do you want the sloppy toppy? do any of your housemates have a WAP? how do you know?" https://t.co/tU9DwJghJ2
— ruby innes! (@rubyinnes) September 22, 2020
But other responses were much more serious, and shocking.
When I applied for the sole parent pension 27 years ago, they asked me WHERE and WHEN we fucked. I said that was an invasion of privacy. They said if you don’t answer it, you can’t apply. I was 16, and in tears.
— KC Martin-Stone (@KCMartinStone) September 22, 2020
Welcome to the joys of the Centrelink Mod P (aka the “are you fucking your housemate” form).
It’s much more common for people to have to answer these questions since the same-sex law reforms were enacted in November 2008.
— Matthew Toohey (@TooheyMatthew) September 22, 2020
To be fair some of the other questions about sharing different rooms of the house do make a little more sense, but there are still plenty examples of people who share bedrooms who are not, in fact, couples.
In all, there are over 70 questions on the form, and some of them require paragraph-long answers.
Very weird, Centrelink. Very weird.