Welfare applicants told to register online

Rebecca Gredley
Labor's Bill Shorten says the government could do more to cut the long queues at Centrelink offices

Tens of thousands of sacked Australian workers are being told to apply for welfare payments online.

Services Australia boss Hank Jongen is urging people to avoid lining up outside Centrelink offices.

"Once you log in to MyGov you can simply click on 'an intent to claim'," he told ABC radio on Wednesday.

"That will give permission for MyGov to give us your personal details and we will then contact you. That locks in your date of eligibility."

Tens of thousands of people are seeking welfare after losing their jobs amid the economic fallout of coronavirus.

MyGov has had more than three million logins in less than a day, with the website crashing on Monday.

Centrelink will boost its workforce by 5000 people to deal with the influx of applicants and extend call centre hours.

Various income tests apply for the coronavirus supplement but the prime minister says these thresholds could be changed.

"When we get the feedback we will take action and then we'll get the system in place to support that," Scott Morrison told 2GB radio.

Government Services Minister Stuart Robert admitted the government hadn't planned for so many people logging on to get unemployment benefits.

Mr Robert apologised for claiming MyGov had been hacked on Monday when it had actually crashed due to overwhelming demand.

Mutual obligations have been suspended until the end of the month, so people already on welfare don't have to report their income or attend appointments in order to receive payments.