How to File Centrelink Low Income Health Care Card Renewal (As an Artist)

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How to File Centrelink Low Income Health Care Card Renewal (As an Artist)
Are you a low-income Australian artist, looking to get a health care card? This blog post will show you the whole process from start to finish, with steps tailored to print on demand artists.

Introduction

Do you need help filling in your application for your low income health care card renewal? This blog post will show you the steps you need to take. Plus, it will take it from the perspective of an artist, including identifying what income needs to be declared. 

I recommend taking notes as you go through this process, and bookmarking this site if you ever need to refer back to these instructions.

Also, full disclaimer, you shouldn’t take this as official legal advice. I am in no way a pro or expert at financial and taxation topics. I’m just a young lady figuring this all out as I go.

With that said, let’s do it!

Step 1: Log in to MyGov

So, you’ve received the email that your card needs to be renewed. That means we need to go to the Centrelink website. And to do that, we first need to log in to MyGov. So visit https://my.gov.au/en/ and follow the log in proceduce. This will likely involve a security code being sent to your phone, so make sure you have that on hand.

You’ll reach a screen that looks like this:

mygov-home-page

From here, you’ll click the ‘Go to Centrelink’ tile. That will take you to the Centrelink home page.

centrelink-home-page

At the bottom, marked in orange, you will see your outstanding task, which also tells you the due date. In this case, I have to complete it by the 16th of December. Click ‘Start Task’.

centrelink-claim-tasks

You are now on the webpage that shows all your claims, both ones completed in the past, current, and incomplete. Click the Continue Claim button on your incomplete claim.

centrelink-steps-to-complete-claim

This webpage breaks down the steps of completing your claim. It will start with entering personal details, then details about your circumstances and your finances. Followed by reviewing and submitting. Let’s click the Step 1 tile to begin.

Step 1: Your Personal Details

personal-details

In this step, you will be confirming your current personal details. That will include your name, birth date, gender, whether you identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, or South Sea Islander. It also includes whether you need an interpreter and what language you write in.

After this section, you also will need to provide your…

  • Home address
  • Contact details
    • Mobile phone number
      • Whether it is silent
      • Whose name it is in
  • Email address
  • Relationship details
    • Marriage status
    • Whether you’ve lived with a partner

This is followed by  a section on Contact Details. This includes whether you want to authorise a person or organisation to make enquiries, updates, act and/or receive payments for you.

The next section is on Home Ownership. You will be asked the following:

  • Do you own the home you are living in?
  • Do you own a home you do not live in?
  • Have you sold your former home?

Next section is Child Details. You will be asked the following:

  • Do you have any children under 19 years of age in your care? (Meaning ones that are dependent on you, that you have in your care, and that live in AUS?)

 

Step 2: Your Circumstances

Congrats, you are already on to Step 2 in this application process!

We will now click the Step 2 tile that says Your Circumstances.

Employment and Study Details

You will be asked:

Do you get any government payments from an Australian Government department or agency other than Services Australia?

For me, I said no, and that completed this whole step. If your answer is yes, more questions would follow.

Step 3: Your Financial Details

We are now on to the third part of this submission. Let’s click the Step 3 tile, ‘Your Financial Details.’

Savings Summary

In this section, we will be identifying what money you currently have in your bank accounts.

list-of-bank-institutes

You will see a list of any bank accounts you have previously identified to Centrelink, their current balances as you last input them, and your share of the finance therein. You will need to update each entry.

So go to the first account on the list and click Edit. Make sure you look carefully at the account number first to make sure you input the right dollars to the right account.

You will then be asked:

  • Do you still have this account?
  • What is the current balance, in whole dollars, rounded down?
  • What is your share of ownership?

 

I got a term deposit in the time between my previous claim and this one, so I will also be clicking the Add button and adding a new account.

You will be asked:

  • What type of account or investment is this?
    • Savings acocunt
    • Bond
    • Debenture
    • Money loaned to someone
    • Other
  • Is this account based outside Australia?
  • What is the current balance?

 

Extra note: Since this form specifically asks for BSB and account number, that means you do not have to declare PayPal or other such accounts.

Investments

In this section, you will be asked about any financial investments you have made.

You will be asked the following:

  • Do you receive income from any income stream products in Australia? Includes:
    • Account-based Pension (also known as Allocated Pension)
    • Market-linked Pension (also known as Term Allocated Pension)
    • Lifetime, Pooled Lifetime, Life Expectancy or Term Income Streams
    • Annuities
    • Defined Benefit Pension (e.g. Commonwealth or State superannuation pension)
    • Superannuation Pension (non-defined benefit)
  • Do you have any shares in a public company? Include:
    • Shares, options, rights, convertible notes, or other securities
    Do NOT include:
    • Managed investments or
    • Investments purchased with a margin loan
  • Do you have any managed investments? Include:
    • Trusts – Investment and Unit
    • Bonds – Life Insurance and Friendly Society
    • Margin Loans
    • Property Development Funds
  • Do you have any funeral bonds or funeral investments?
  • In the last 5 years, have you given away, sold for less than their market value, or surrendered a right to, any cash, assets, shares, property or income?

I answered no to all of these.

Business, trusts and companies, real estate

Now we are covering financial interests.

You will be asked:

  • Are you involved in any of the following, either inside or outside Australia? 
     

Next you will need to give a business details summary about any businesses you are involved in as a sole trader or partnership. This applies to me as a professional artist.

Self Employment Business Details

You will be asked:

I had previously selected non-farming sole trader, so the drop-down box was greyed out and I couldn’t change it. But I didn’t need to so that’s okay.

  • What is the address that this business is registered to?
  • Is this business still operating?
  • Are you working in the business?

I personally estimate this at around 20.

  • Is anyone helping you to run the business?
  • Does this business have a depreciation schedule?

I said No. To be honest I’m still not 100% what this even is.

  • Does this business have a balance sheet?

Centrelink are going to want to see a balance sheet, and they are not too hard to make. I will show you how they are meant to be formatted. So say Yes.

  • Does the balance sheet include investments and bank accounts, that the business operates?

Yes, we will include this.

  • Has this business been running for a full financial year?
  • Are income tax returns for the most recent 2022/2023 financial year complete?
  • Does this business own real estate?
  • Is the income you currently receive from this business substantially different from your last income tax return or profit and loss statement? | I said No
  • Is the value of the current business assets and liabilities different to that shown on the latest balance sheets for the business? | I said No

 

Now that the business section is complete, you will be asked

  • Do you own any real estate?

Income

In this section you be asked about any income you have earned in the last 8 weeks.

You will be asked:

  • Were you paid any income from work in the period between 23/9/2023 and 18/11/2023? | I answered No
    • Does not include self employment
    • Does not include parental leave pay
  • Do you receive any other Australian government payments not paid by us? | I answered No
  • Do you have any compensation or are you able to claim compensation? | I answered No
  • Do you receive pensions or allowances from an overseas authority or agency? | I answered No
  • Are you paid any overseas income or do you have any other assets overseas?

I asnwered Yes to this last question. Which means that I need to provide details about this income from outside Australia. Click the Add button.

 

Income or asset outside of Australia

For my business, I am counting income earned from Threadless and Zazzle as income from outside Australia. Redbubble is not in this category because they are based in Australia, same as me. Threadless and Zazzle are both US based. Because my earnings fluctuate every month, I am instead totalling all earnings for the period and stating it is a ‘one-off’ payment.

So I need to total the earnings I got from Threadless and Zazzle between 23/9/2023 and 18/11/2023.

 

You will be asked:
Question My Answer
What type of income or asset outside Australia do you have? Employment income Income Streams Other income Other assets Other
What is the asset, investment or income? Royalties
What country is the asset located in and/or income received from? United States
What is the gross amount of overseas income paid and the currency it is paid in? Currency: US Dollar Gross income paid: $$ Income Frequency: One off

Then, I need a second entry for Ko-fi, I think. It is based in UK. Pays out in my set currency, AUD.

QuestionMy Answer
What type of income or asset outside Australia do you have?
Employment income
Income Streams
Other income
Other assets
Other
What is the asset, investment or income?Royalties
What country is the asset located in and/or income received from?United Kingdom
What is the gross amount of overseas income paid and the currency it is paid in?Currency: US Dollar
Gross income paid: $$
Income Frequency: One off

Also will be asked:

Do you receive, or expect to receive any assistance with studying?

Are you paid any other income you have not told us about? This could include:

  • money from boarders and lodgers
  • lump sum payments received in the last 12 months
  • ex-gratia payments
  • disability benefits from your superannuation fund

I answered No.

Step 4: Review and Confirm

Well that section was a bit tiring! Reviewing will be easier though. You simply need to look over your previous answers and verify that they are accurate.

Step 5: Next Steps

This will likely be the biggest section for you to handle, because we are going to need to collect a lot of evidence to show that what you have said in the form was accurate.

Here are the items you will need to provide with your application.

 

Balance Sheet

For a very small business like my art one, you will probably just have one asset – cash. So that makes creating the form easier. Just input the total of money you currently have in your business bank account.

Here is what my balance sheet looks like:

2023-11-23-jessica-duggan-balance-sheet-example

So I just took a screenshot of this part of the document and saved it as a picture. At least, that’s what I’ve done in the past. This year, the Centrelink uploader is not accepting the screenshot, regarless of if I save as JPG or PNG.

Another option is to export this sheet within Excel as a PDF. I went to Home tab, Export, then chose Adobe PDF. I then got this popup:

PDF Maker in Excel

I specified that I just wanted one sheet, the Balance Sheet, to export. And I chose to scale to page width.

After accepting this popup, you’ll get a second popup stating that Acrobat PDFMaker needs to save the file before continuing. Click Yes. Then just choose somewhere to save it to. During these times where I’m doing a Centrelink claim, I always make a folder for the claim, within my Accounting folder on my computer. It helps to keep things organised, and can be used referred to in the future.

Current Balances

For this one I have to provide a list of current balances for each investment and bank account that the business operates. This is pretty straight forward to do. 

First, we log in to our bank website. For me that’s Greater. Then, choose your business bank account.

greater transactions

You might think you need to find your bank statement to provide to Centrelink. But because they are only released monthly, you may not have one recent enough for this claim. But I have another way to get your current balance printed out.

Click the print icon in the heading above your list of transactions. A print window will appear. Then, in the Destination options, instead of choosing a printer, choose Microsoft Print to PDF. Then choose somewhere to save it to.

In previous years, they have specified that we have to include our BSB number, which is not included in this printout. So we will have to add it manually. Personally, I just open the created PDF in Adobe Acrobat, add a text box above the business name and just type in “BSB: (my BSB number).” Then save it.

Extra note: In previous years I’ve been asked for balances for all my accounts, not just my business account. But I haven’t been asked this time. The process for creating the documents is the same, regardless.

Profit and loss statement

For this one I have to provide a profit and loss statement for the previous financial year.

I have a special Excel spreadsheet I got from my mum’s accountant where I track my income and expenses, and it has a profit and loss sheet built in to it. It auto populates my numbers in it, so this one was easy for me, but willl probably take you a while, depending on how well you track your finances during the year.

Here is my profit and loss statement.

profit loss statement

Tax Return

For this one I have to provide my latest personal tax return. This is another simple one to get, assuming you have already done your tax return.

Go back to your MyGov homepage https://my.gov.au/en/myaccount/dashboard/

Then click the button that says Got to Australian Taxation Office.

 

ATO homepage

Then click Manage Tax Returns.

You’ll see a page with a history of your tax returns. For your most recent year, click the Notice of Assessment button. It will open up your return as a PDF. Just save it to your computer.

Income from outside Australia

For this one I have to provide current statements for all income you receive from outside Australia showing the gross amount of income in the foreign currency and frequency of the payment.

For this one, I am referring to PayPal, because that happens to be where Threadless, Zazzle and Ko-Fi deposit money to me.

First, I log in to PayPal. Then, click the Activity tab at the top of the page. In the dropdown, choose Reports > All Reports.

Click the Activities tab, then click Activity Report.

For Transaction Types, I chose All. For Date Range, I chose Past 3 Months (to cover the 8 week period that Centrelink is concerned with). For Fortmat, I chose PDF. Then click Create Report.

The report will then take a short amount of time to be created. At which point, you’ll receive an email notifying you. But you might as well wait, it only took me 15 seconds for the process to finish and the Download button to appear on the PayPal site. Then, save the document to your computer.

How to Submit Documents

Next to each document tile, you’ll see a Submit button. When you click this, you’ll get these instructions:

submitting-documents

After this, there will be a Select a Document Type button. Click this, and you’ll get a dropdown of the documents Centrelink wants you to upload. Select the one you are currently wanting to upload, and click Continue.

You can then upload the file by clicking upload, or dragging and dropping the file onto the screen.

If you have problems uploading files, try the following:

  • Make sure ad blockers and tracking protection are disabled in your browser
  • Log out and log in again
  • Change file types, instead of PNG try JPG
  • Try a different browser

Submitting the Claim

Once you have uploaded all your documents, you can submit the claim. Once you click Submit, you may find the screen shows a loading symbol for a while. Mine showed it for several minutes. I refreshed the page, and then it seemed to work again.

You’ll then see that your submission was successful.

claim submitted

From here you can check your previous answers and view history of the claim.

Conclusion

Congratuations! You have done it! For me, this took about 3-4 hours to do from start to finish. But I did have the benefit of old notes I had taken, old documents to refer to. On the other hand, I was writing this blog post simultaneously!

I hope that sharing my process will help you complete your submission in an efficient way with much less stress than I had the first time I did it! If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below.

Peace, love and and sunshine,

Jessica

   Amber