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Centrelink has come under fire after reportedly ordering an elderly Australian woman to prove her identity.
Anne Hawkins received a letter from the welfare agency explaining how she suddenly had to provide proof of her identity and, if she didn't, would be cut off from her pension.
The main problem is that the 102-year-old from Punchbowl, Sydney, had to do this in person.
The centenarian is bed bound and would require special assistance to even get out of her house, let alone hand over evidence to Centrelink that she is who she says she is.
On her behalf, Anne's family tried to give Centrelink her Australian citizenship certificate, however they said they would need something like a NSW Proof of Age card.
Mary Byrnes told NCA Newswire Anne would 'need to be taken there by ambulance and wheeled into the Centre in a hospital bed'.
They have tried to sort it out with every relevant person at the welfare agency and nobody had budged on the rules.
Anne's son, Frank, explained how they have also tried to avoid telling their mum in case she got concerned worried about her future.
They eventually told her and she joked about having to get a job.
But Frank said Centrelink needs to understand the situation at play here and that it would be pretty much impossible for them to provide proof of identity, especially with Sydney's lockdown.
"We've been locked down since the last week of June," he told NCA. "This letter arrived on the 30th of July. It arrived during lockdown. It is pretty unreasonable that Centrelink should be asking people to show up to a service centre in the middle of a lockdown."
He's demanded an investigation be conducted into why his mum was suddenly asked to prove her identity.
Government Services Minister Linda Reynolds confirmed she is looking into the matter and will see if changes need to be made to Services Australia's procedures.
"I am also looking into the precise events to determine what exactly has occurred and any need for changes to the Services Australia's procedures and communication," she said.
"The health and safety of customers and staff is Services Australia's highest priority, and the agency is strictly adhering to the health orders set down by the relevant state governments."
"They have special arrangements in place to support customers who are unable to attend a service centre to prove their identity, and advise customers of this."
Featured Image Credit: Network 10
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