A trial to streamline ABSTUDY claims has seen a halving of processing times and a better start to the school year for Indigenous students.
The trial, which began last November and was conducted by the Department of Human Services (DHS), simplifies the ABSTUDY claim process by enabling students to complete their claim over the phone in full.
Previously, customers were required to mail a paper-based declaration form to confirm the accuracy of their claim. This method could result in delays, especially for customers living in regional and remote areas.
Recipients can now complete a binding verbal declaration using the Department’s existing staff-assisted telephone service to submit their claim for processing immediately.
Claims lodged through the new streamlined process in 2016-17 compared against the same period in 2015-16 were finalised nearly 50% faster.
There have also been positive results from a campaign encouraging students to lodge their claim early to ensure their support is in place for the beginning of the year.
Information encouraging students to lodge their ABSTUDY claim as early as possible was provided on the DHS website, social media channels, through third parties such as schools and targeted radio advertising.
Minister for Human Services Alan Tudge said DHS received about the same number of claims in December and January as the same time a year ago.
“However, this time around nearly 500 more of these claims were lodged in December, so there has been a definite trend towards earlier claiming,” Minister Tudge said.
“The Government has improved the processing of claims to make it more efficient and faster – ensuring people get the support they need to commence their study or training.
“These faster processing times for ABSTUDY recipients mirror the results we achieved with a halving of processing times for Youth Allowance and Austudy claims this year.”
Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion said the changes would result in better outcomes for Indigenous students.
“With financial support and travel arrangements organised ahead of time, students from remote areas can get to school from day one,” Minister Scullion said.
“The earlier these students claim and the faster those claims can be processed, the better the chance for these young Indigenous people to start the school year knowing financial assistance is in place.”
For more information about ABSTUDY visit humanservices.gov.au/ABSTUDY