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Disability advocates add to calls to suspend Centrelink debt recovery system

5 January 2017
Guardian

Disability advocates have put further pressure on the government to suspend its automated debt recovery system, while Centrelink continues to refer distressed and suicidal individuals to Lifeline.
Disabled People’s Organisations Australia, a collection of disability support and advocacy groups, has called on the government to immediately halt the recovery process, which has relied on a crude and automated data-matching process to begin chasing 169,000 debts from welfare recipients since July.

Alan Tudge says Centrelink may check letters received before debt imposed

11 January 2017
Guardian

Alan Tudge says he may attempt to change the law to ensure letters being sent by Centrelink’s controversial automated debt system are actually being received before a debt is imposed.
The human services minister, speaking with Guardian Australia on Wednesday, continued to defend the controversial debt recovery system, which has been the subject of repeated complaints accusing it of inaccuracy and unfairness.
But he said he was looking at changes to ensure initial letters demanding welfare recipients explain income discrepancies were actually being received before debts were imposed.

Broken Centrelink system sending false debt notices to sick

9 January 2017
Sunshine Coast Daily

Centrelink's automated system, which has ramped up since October, is now sending 20,000 review letters about supposed discrepancies each week, with scores of Australians - including people with cancer - telling news.com.au of the anxiety, stress and even suicidal thoughts prompted by the debt letters that dropped through their mailboxes just before the festive period.

Disability Sector Joins Calls for a Halt to Centrelink ‘Fiasco’

6 January 2017
Probono Australia

The Disabled People’s Organisations Australia, a collection of disability support and advocacy groups, has raised concerns the current debt recovery process, that uses automated data matching, is particularly unfair for people with disability.
It comes after Centrelink has come under fire for using data from the Australian Tax Office to check records about people’s income, without staff involvement or oversight.

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