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
I intend to appeal the debt. I am asking my university for evidence. In short, a decision maker in Centrelink decided to state that my higher degree was by course work, when in fact it is by research.
It has caused me some anxiety, but I know I have not done anything wrong.
Because of differences in reporting periods between my employer and Centrelink, they decided I had a debt of $66.
This would have been cheaper and easier to just pay out, but I couldn't leave it be, so I fought their claims and was vindicated.
This is not legal advice but I have just spent a week investigating and thought some of what I found out might be useful.
Really stressed about it, but Centrelink wont listen. This is the second time within twelve months.
When i first found out, i was furious, scared and angry.
This is my 4th year on Youth Allowance as I am studying in Melbourne and moved 2 hours to be closer to uni.
Heart sinking, stress,anxiety,feeling financial insecure.
My kids being affected due to my depression and anxiety.
I came home from psychiatric hospital after suicide attempt to the letter! My anxiety has yoyoed with every rediculous phonecall where all information has to be confirmed and explained ... arg!
Child support said I should have been paid more money but only updated the amount this year (back dated).
Obviously this means I never received the money as no body knew of the change.
Child support has been guessing the amount from older information to being with.
It has caused me a great deal of worry and grievance.
Before they started harassing me I was feeling good about everything in my life. Over the past two years I've been very happy.
Anxiety/stress levels through the roof.
The whole process has been hugely stressful and no one seems to give a clear answer as to how the debt may have occurred.
I have had a couple of explanations and could not understand them.
Recieved a call stating i had failed to return requested documenta by May 1st and had incurred a debt due to supposedly underreporting employment income for 2012/2013.
After going through huge amounts of stress, anxiety and now depression going through is and trying to track down the information needed to correct their issue from 6 years ago to prove I don't owe them anything!! They have now issued a full bill.
I recently received an employment information statement. My heart sank when I realised that Centrelink were asking for payslips dating back to 2015. I knew that this was the government's formal way of smothering full time students, with more debt.
I received a call from Centrelink in early June 2017 advising they wanted to review my Centrelink payments received in 2012 and 2013.
I have been put through a stressful anxiety-filled experience with the Centrelink debt recovery system.
They have kept changing the amount I owe them from $400 up to $2000.
Unbelievable stress. Had to prove fortnightly income for 7 years ago!!
Online system doesn’t work or accept as a supply teacher I sometimes didn’t earn any money.
Couldn’t obtain info they required without putting in special request from HR to prove my income which as a supply teacher is unsteady.
This debt has been something that has been looming over me for the current year as a result of a small mishandling of the previous year.
I had my daughter in April 2015. Spent 9 months on maternity leave then returned to work. Centrelink advised of this.
I had to report for my payments and did this without issue for a long time however reporting seized and payments were scheduled as per usual.
I am in the process of finalising a thesis, which in itself is very stressful - having to confirm my income, make over 15 phone calls to Centrelink to prove that I didn't owe debt added to my anxiety.
When I first made the the claim for Centrelink payments I completed all the paperwork supplied to me from them.
It has shot my stress levels through the roof.
Have had to go to doctors many times because of this...again!
The debt allegedly occurred over a brief 3 month period when it is alleged I underdeclared my income.
Anxiety high can not sleep and highly stressed