Hold up with birth certificate proves costly

What was the problem?

Hoda paid for express delivery of her daughter’s birth certificate shortly after her birth. The Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages was experiencing technical problems after it upgraded its systems. There were delays, and this meant the Registry could not tell Hoda when the certificate would be ready. The delay caused financial problems for Hoda:

‘Due to not having this document we have not been able to receive payments from Centrelink that we have been eligible for. My daughter has also been unwell and we have had to pay to see the doctors four times due to her not being on our Medicare ... PLEASE HELP!’

The Registry told Hoda there may be an error on her application, and a manager would contact her. When Hoda did not receive a call back, she paid for a new application and called the Ombudsman. By that time, she had been waiting two and a half months for her daughter’s birth certificate.

What did we look at?

Birth certificates prove legal identity and not having one can cause significant disadvantage. It can be difficult to access supports and services.

In 2015, the Victorian Government accepted a recommendation to create a new right to have a name and be registered as soon as practicable after birth. However, this new right hasn’t been introduced yet.

Noting the impact on Hoda and her family, we made enquiries with the Registry to resolve the problem.

What was the outcome?

The Registry quickly fixed the issue and posted Hoda the birth certificate by express post. It also refunded Hoda the cost of her second application.