If the federal government has its way, the days of rolling up to your local Centrelink, ATO or Medicare office will soon be a thing of the past. Instead of talking to real people, get ready to deal with an alternative online reality – via your very own myGov account.
The myGov platform will become the way most Aussies find themselves interacting with a range of government agencies. Finding your lost super, getting information about retirement-related issues, managing Age Pension benefits or making Medicare claims are all headed to the myGov service platform.
As with most new online services, rolling out myGov has not been without its hiccups. SuperGuide has received reader complaints and queries about using myGov, so we have put together a simple guide to help you understand the myGov service.
The aim of myGov is to provide Australians with a single online destination for accessing government services with one login and one password.
After registering, you receive an online ‘Inbox’ that acts as a central place to receive messages (such as online letters and statements) from government agencies including:
- Australian Taxation Office
- Child Support
- Department of Veterans’ Affairs
- My Health Record
- My Aged Care
- National Disability Insurance Scheme
Using myGov’s ‘Update Your Details’ service, you can update your address and contact details and the changes are sent to all your linked government agencies.
Note: The myGov service acts as a central hub between the different online systems run by each government agency. It does not hold any information about users and myGov is only designed to simplify the process of interacting with multiple agencies.
How to use myGov
Although the federal government will be rolling out a new-look myGov service during the first half of 2017, if you need to use it now, the first step is to create a myGov account:
- Go to my.gov.au and select Create a myGov account.
- Enter an email address. (This address can only be used by one person and cannot be shared with another myGov account, such as one held by your partner.)
- Read and accept the terms and conditions.
- You will be emailed a confirmation code, which you enter into your account application.
- Create a password.
- Choose and answer three secret questions. (These should be ones only you can answer, are easy to answer, and those answers are unlikely to change over time.)
- This process creates your myGov account. You will also receive an email with your myGov username.
If you wish, you can add a security code to your account (the section below explains security codes) by selecting Next and you can also set up your myGov Inbox notification preferences.
Tip: View a Department of Human Services video on how to create a myGov account here.
Security codes: adding protection to your account
If you wish to add more security to your account, you can use a single use security code to sign into myGov instead of answering your three secret questions. With this option, you receive a myGov security code via a SMS to your mobile phone each time you attempt to sign into your account, similar to the system used in online banking.
To use myGov security codes to login, turn this option on when you first set up your account, or sign in and follow the prompts. Find out more at the myGov security codes information page.
Protecting your privacy: making it tough to break in
Given the sensitivity of the private information held by government agencies (for example, your income and health details) and the ongoing danger of hacking, both logging and linking to different government agencies are designed to be secure and require you to provide your ‘proof of record ownership’.
Access is only granted after a user successfully presents several different types of identification, specific to the person.
According to Department of Human Services general manager, Hank Jongen, “The Australian Government takes the privacy of citizen’s information seriously and there needs to be rigour in our approach to verifying identity when linking member services to myGov accounts”.
When linking to each government agency like Centrelink, the evidence myGov requests will be personalised and based on the information already held by Centrelink. The more limited the information about you Centrelink holds, the more specific the information myGov will request. This is similar to a bank’s two-tier ID requirements.
Once you have set up a myGov account, you can link to various government agencies. For example, to link to the ATO:
- Log into your myGov account.
- Go to the Services page and find the ATO listing.
- Select the green link icon next to it on the right-hand side of the screen.
- Provide information to identify your ATO record:
- If you have an ATO online account, use your Tax File Number (TFN) and ATO account password to link myGov.
- If you don’t have an ATO online account, confirm your identity by answering a series of questions specifically related to you, such as your TFN, name and birthday. This information must match exactly the details held by the ATO.
- Agree to the terms and conditions.
- Answer two questions from information in:
- a notice of assessment received in the past five years
- a PAYG payment summary received in the past two years
- a super account statement from the past five years
- a dividend statement from the past two years
- a Centrelink payment summary from the past two years
- your bank account details. (This must be the account you had your income tax refund paid into last year, or one that has earned interest in the past two years.)
If it all goes wrong with myGov: what to do
If you have problems using myGov, answers to common questions are available on the need help? page. You can also call the myGov helpdesk on 13 23 07 and select Option 1 (Monday-Friday 7am-10pm, Saturday-Sunday 10am-5pm).
Complaints or suggestions about myGov can be made using the Centrelink feedback form. If you use this form, you will be asked for your Centrelink Customer Reference Number (see the next section).
If you don’t have a Centrelink CRN, choose the Third Party Organisation option at Step 2 on the feedback form, enter myGov as the organisation name and complete your details. Ensure you make it clear your complaint relates to myGov so it is directed to the myGov team.
For problems linking the ATO to your myGov account, check the ATO information at this link.
Important: Please note that myGov only handles enquiries or problems concerning the myGov website or your myGov account. If you have an enquiry about your government service, you need to contact the government agency directly. For example, for questions or issues in relation to lost super, you need to contact the ATO directly, not myGov.
Many Australians who deal regularly with Centrelink have a Centrelink online account. Examples of matters dealt with by Centrelink include family benefits, Age Pensions, the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, or child support. An individual-specific online account allows Australians to submit claims, receive reminders, and report income and activity requirements. By registering for myGov, an individual can link to an existing Centrelink online account and undertake these activities on myGov.
Regular Centrelink users also have a CRN, which is listed on Centrelink correspondence or your Health Care Card if you have one. To obtain a CRN, you need to visit your nearest Centrelink service centre and confirm your identity.
Using myGov is not an end in itself. The myGov service is designed to help the government, help you, navigate the many services that the government provides. If you are seeking general information on how to check up on your lost super or the Age Pension rules or eligibility for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, see the following SuperGuide articles: