We are collecting stories on the site because we think it's important to have a way to people to add their voice to this issue by sharing their story. It's puts a human voice to the issues with using technology and automating systems and providing a blanket solution without providing staff and people that can right wrongs and help people when there is an error.
Please share your story with us if you have a Centrelink debt story that you believe has been issued in error or due to a fault in the system.
As frustrating as it is, persist with the appeals process, and know others are behind you.
Stories are 100% anonymous
My sister, who is a single mother of two young boys received a bill for $20,000 and another for $1,700.
These debts have arisen from 2011 until now. No mention of how the bill got so high.
She was informed one fine related to her youth allowance, and the bigger to her parenting payments.
I found out I had a debt when my tax return was garnished in 2018.
My partner and I had just had our first child, I also moved house (rent more expensive than my last), and I started a new job (paying less than my previous job), suffice to say, we were under a heck of a lot of pressure, both emotionally, physically and financially.
Change of care percentage when I already declared it, then was accused of not declaring it when someone accessed my records. Yes I have vital proof
In October 2019 I opened my centrelink app to update my family income as we just finished our tax return, when I notice a letter on my inbox.
When I opened I went white as a ghost. The letter said I was overpaid by $6000 as I underestimated my income.
My husband and I were devastated as this never happened to us before.
I broke both my legs and was in a wheelchair for months and I work as a chef I had to prove I wasn't working, and told me that I declared that I made $0 that year which is a lie gave me $5500 debt I asked for evidence several time with no success.
I was hit with 3 debts.
Two from way back in 2011-2012, apparent over payment of newstart allowance due to my "incorrect reporting" & another debt from 2015 occuring due to me not declaring my partnership date correctly WHICH I ABSOLUTELY DID!!! Totaling $28,000!!!!
I lost my tax refund without due notice of the debt.
No one is giving me any reasonable response and when I have appealed under info given — so told info supplied was wrong.
Where is this ok? ARO supported decision but did not address my reasons — merely quoted Acts about overpayments.
I received a debt letter in 2016 and have been fighting it ever since.
When I submitted payslips in 2017 I heard nothing back until recently (2019) when I requested a review of the 9k I supposedly owed.
I lost the review and they increased the amount to 11k and took my tax return.
As a single parent, I have always been grateful for the assistance given me that was not forthcoming from my child's father.
I have always worked part time and diligently declared my earnings so such a scenario never arose!!
For most of my working life my wife was my daughters carer, in 2012 her health had deteriorated to the point that Centrelink wouldn't allow her to be carer anymore.
This is the second time I have been given a Robo Debt. The first time was for $12,000. I disputed it and have now received this.
I woke in the middle of the night to an email sent at 12:46am saying that I owe money as I was overpaid when I received Youth Allowance back in 2017.
Contacted business that is supposed to keep Pay slips 7 yrs.
No, business sold.
ANZ bank account closed in 2016 and unable to get Bank statements.
Daughters health at all time low, struggling to make ends meet & Centrelink making her repay money she doesn't owe not have.
I got one debt & so far Centrelink has taken $8,257 in repayments towards the debt with an outstanding amount of $9,183 but then they hit me with another debt of $2,662.
They said both debts are because I didn’t declare my income correctly but I don’t know why this wasn’t picked up when I did my tax returns.
This debt has been extremely hard on me mentally.
I am so stressed out all the time about paying this off and raising three children on my own without a permanent job.
This has been an incredibly stressful event that I have no control over. It has left me shaken and in tears multiple times.
This is very stressful, and quite embarrassing to have to tell people, especially previous employers.
I am lucky in that my alleged debt amount is fairly low, and if Centrelink can prove that I do owe the money I can actually pay it. I just don't agree with the way the Department of Human Services is going about it.
I was medically retired 2009. Aged 40
Decided to retrain - had been put on disability - drs approved & supported retraining.
Took me 7 yrs to become an Registered Nurse
I was getting family Tax for my 4 children. Centrelink / Child support decided that I did not care for my 4 children during the separation until divorce. I was never told how the decision came about because my ex-husband confirmed that I had care and did not claim any family tax.
I was told I could work upto 25hrs per week without it affecting my carers payment. And I did so for 3 yrs while my partner was fighting for his life with kidney cancer. I had an initial debt of approx 25,000 (I threw out the letter, it stressed me too much to look at it) Ive been paying $100 a month since Sept 2016.
Called by a rude Centrelink employee who I could barely understand. Told I owe money and have a month to pay it back. Anxiety, cried after the phone call, not sure how to pay it.
I received my first pay check more than a week after my last centrelink payment. Now centrelink say I should have declared that but can't point to any legal reason why.
In 2018 we received 4 letters asking us to repay debt. 2 letters we received in July 2018 and anther 2 in November 2018. The amount of debt we had to repay was over $13,000.
the lack of information provided , the verbal contradictions of staff, refusal to provide requested information about the debt. I feel under a conspired attack intentionally targeted as a vulnerable in a period of great distress around domestic violence, family court and grieving the loss of a parent.
I actually don't know how I got the debt or when I got the debt. I logged on to mygov.com.au to check my payments and requirements and there it was.I ran away with my 2 young daughters in 2012, from a monster of 23 years.
in many ways this has affected me.