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
Was phoned yesterday by centrelink, the young lady on the phone said, "I am averaging out your income across the year."
I have always earned very little, and have definitely been entitled to my centrelink payments as often i earn under $450 a fortnight.
Centerlink slapped me with a 3k fine/debt for a period I was overseas.
I arrived back in November 2013 from UK and claimed 2 new start payments only.
I have proof of this from bank statements which i opened with NAB on the 5th of November.
I am very distressed and angry that this has happened
I have a 9 month old son, and Centrelink called me while I was putting him in the car.
He was crying and I was trying to do two things at once, I thought it was a scam and I told them to send me a letter if it was real and hung up on the person.
Not eating or sleeping and effecting my parenting and working capabilities
In my case the ATO data was completely incorrect and it was easily fixed when I provided bank statements.
I'm sorry for everyone who is struggling to provide evidence.
I haven't even been on centrelink for over a year, and they sent me letters a few months ago once I lodged my tax return saying that I need to update my employment details (as I moved to full time from casual)
Stress, spending repeated half days on the phone after working long night shifts, zero consideration to this.
Making work very much harder due to sleep loss.
Being gaslighted repeatedly, supplying requested documentation then told it was not provided at a later date.
Affecting family time due to exhaustion, repeatedly.
I had just come off night shift and when I got the call I just could not stop crying.
Apparently i owe them 2000 during 2016-2017 which is total crap considering i reported properly.
I cant afford to pay for something that i dont have to its hard enough to pay to live as it is.
The government needs to pull their heads out and stop taking money from the less fortunate.
I received my debt letter and contacted Centrelink to give them my pay slips as I never falsely reported and assumed this must have been a mistake
I then appealed my debt
The initial debt amount was sent just before Christmas, due at the end of December 2016.
Many others received notices at that time.
No ‘human’ consideration was shown in the timing of these demand letters. It was extremely stressful.
I was initially told I owed close to $13,000.
Then the compliance line operator worked out that it was $2,300 - mind you, this was after I produced my payslips and had to chase them up to review them!
email received to my mum as she was dealing with my issues at the time, home detention, and stating i had a 3600 debt, what a joke as i couldn't work and was on home D, and the was subsequently suspended from centrelink because i started WORK again the idiots.
Recieved a letter in the mail requesting payslips from various work I had during 2013-14 from when I was paid Newstart in between jobs.
Extremely stressful as I have not been on Centrelink for 4 years!
I can’t understand how they could figure this out when I report my earnings.
Got told my debt was being put on hold for 3 months whilst being ReAssessed.
I then got text messages from Probe Group which I deregarded as I thought they were a scam.
I initially had no idea about this debt as I had received no communications from Centrelink, even though the lady on the phone assured me they had sent 8 letters in the post (somehow I doubt that).
Whilst in medical school I received Austudy.
Additionally I worked on a casual basis as I needed to be able to pay for books, fuel, bills etc. as well as rent & food.
My income was declared, an exorbitant amount of tax was paid & I finally managed to graduate in December 2014.
On the night before we moved house, the online letter arrived for my daughter.
The timing has added immeasurably to the stress.
As her nominee I am dealing with this insanely confusing and totally unexpected issue.
This debt has stressed me to the point I am struggling to sleep trying to sort it out and I have taken up extra shifts at work to try to get myself in a better financial situation to try to feel secure
Stressed. Was in a frenzy trying to get payslips from Dec 2012- Jan 2013.
I was only on Centrelink for three payments to get me through the Christmas holidays as I work in a career that follows the school terms.
On the first day of a much awaited holiday I received three letters from Centrelink: one notifying me of a $4237 debt, one warning me to pay it, and one notifying me of punitive interest.
After the end of an abusive relationship I had to quit study for mental health reasons and look for work to make up for lost income and the increase in expenses from no longer sharing.
Processing the change from youth allowance to Newstart was a mess and I've ended up on the hook for 6 weeks of pay.
Six months ago I received a letter in the mail advising me that I needed to update my details with the ATO about my employment while recieving youth allowance.
I had applied for youth allowance while studying at university, and recieved payments for about three years while I worked part time.