Students have been left empty handed and struggling after Centrelink welfare payments haven’t been provided for months.

Students across Australia have been left waiting for months for Youth Allowance and Austudy payments after Centrelink backlogged thousands of payments.

Some students have been waiting for almost four months for payments that should only take 28 days to process.

Youth Allowance and Austudy are programs that have both been set up by Centrelink and are run by the federal government.

Both systems were set up with the purpose of financially assisting full-time students.

According to the national Student Financial Advisors Service chairman Stuart Martin, “It’s been happening for at least four if not five years,” and is supposedly getting worse as the years go on.

Some students have been waiting for almost four months for payments that should only take 28 days to process.

The system has been put into place with the intention that every person should be given equal opportunity to undertake higher education whether or not they can financially support themselves.

According to the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU), there have been thousands of jobs cut over the last 12 months, resulting in a lack of staff to process payments.

Source: Centrelink

Lisa Newman, the deputy of the CPSU claims “It would need 1000 extra staff,” to process and update current claim requests.

The Department of Human Services (DHS) general manager Hank Jongen has recently confirmed that at least 16,500 students are currently on the backlog for their payments to be processed.

Students remain unimpressed even after the general manager issued an apology.

Many are currently struggling at university without the fortnightly payments, unable to buy educational necessities such as textbooks worth hundreds of dollars.

The payments have become a vital part of student life for many who are unable to financially support their education on a small income if, any at all.

In the meantime, Centrelink has added 600 new members of staff to help process the thousands of claims.

The DHS says that all backlogged payments will be processed within the next two weeks.

[Triple J interview with Minister Alan Tudge. Tuesday, April 26th]

Over the last few weeks students have rightfully been outraged.

Many have repeatedly tried contacting Centrelink about the delay with no success, frequently getting busy phone lines or even being hung up on after an hour of wait time.

Mr Jongen states that action is currently being undertaken to “reduce call wait times” as Centrelink endeavours to hires more staff to handle any future delays.