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
So, i was told i had a debt of nearly 10 grand, for a three year period beginning eight years ago.
I was applying for Newstart at the time of discovering this information so i was understandably upset.
During the periods of 2015-2016 I was in a domestic violent relationship with my then partner who controlled all my finances and put me in a lot of debt over the 18 months I was with him.
I contacted centrelink in 2016 about the DVO I had placed against him as well as them providing me with a crisis payment.
This has had the same effect on me as everyone else.
I was originally told I owe over $10,000 before they reduced that to the current total of $3592.87, which I still can't believe to be correct.
I am still studying now and living on a paltry salary.
I was extremely shocked to hear about my debt from two years ago.
I went back through all my document uploads etc on mygov and Centrelink to see if i'd missed letting them know about any changes of circumstances etc back in 2016 that may have lead to mistakes, and me incurring a debt.
$1300 worth of stress whilst in the midsts of study.
Sick feeling of hopelessness that government agencies couldnt have attended to this at the EOFY in question. When tax returns were registered and calculations made with refunds provided. No cross referencing.
finally got off my debt... see previous story, they got it wrong and I got off it.
I watched my wife sob uncontrollably today for the first time since the traumatic birth of our first child. The last time I saw her that upset was when, because of the trauma of labour and an eventual emergency C-section, she was unable to walk or even hold her newborn baby in her arms.
I am a full time carer with BPD and chronic depression.
I am absolutely defeated by the fact that I can't prove this debt is not mine while centrelink will only apply the same flawed methodology to my evidence, as they had so arrived with their irreverent robodebt calculators.
My disability is bi-polar and anxiety disorder.
I have been unable to function and have regressed in my mental health as a result of this debt process.
Just to rehash ...
So far, I have talked to about 10 different CentreStink staff, always asking the same simple question... what is this first number in the calculation? The "old" column (what I reported) reads $0 ... and a "new" column (what CentreStink say I should have reported) reads $250.
an absolute joke I have paid my taxes I haven’t received a payment from Centrelink since 2014 when I was 18 and last year went back to study full time (so will soon owe the govenerment 40k more) and work as much as possible to avoid dealing with them again
What's the point of working if everything you declare is still not correct when a flawed algorithm is used.
For this exact same period I had an online audit with a real person in 2016 and everything was correct. Then they introduce this new system and now have to pay a double dip.
And on the saga goes. I m a carer for my severely disabled adult daughter. + I try and work a few hours, every now and then.
They reckon I owe them several thousand $ I’m angry, frustrated.
The fight goes on. As if I don’t have enough to worry about.
Suddenly I found myself with 2.5k of unjustified debt for periods where I was a full time student. Yet had to repay my allowance.
I am repaying at 10$ a week.
To me it is saving money as I am 100% sure the debt is incorrect just the process of fighting it is so painful... I’ll get round to it eventually
I was slapped with 2 letters within hours of each other correcting amounts on my PAYG statements from 2013/2014 and 2011/2012.
A day later a letter without prior warning they claimed I owed $18,000 from "overpayments" made to me from 2011-2015! It's 2018!
I worked intermittently that financial year due to poor health. I declared every hour that I worked.
Some fortnight's I earned a little, others a decent amount and many fortnight's nothing at all.
I have provided centrelink with all payslips, bank statements, medical certificates and my tax return.
This has seriously raised my anxiety levels as I do not have the time or resources to negotiate with a Centrelink staff member.
It is quite stress full having to explain your story to three or four departments in order to get the information across.
Completely stressed out l called them and she kept saying l was supposed to go and tell them about our income which l did and we did our tax and l received a letter everytime telling me based on my income this is the amount you are entitled to and she then said that they got nothing to do with the tax which l know it's all bull if it was a
I am currently paying off a debt ($2,057.36) from 2012 to 2013 for incorrectly declaring my income, I have been paying this debt off since 3 June 2017 on a hardship payment plan, paying $20 per fortnight.
Extreme levels of frustration, anxiety, stress, exhaustion, fatigue, depression
Working freelance im often between jobs, this period is quiet and im struggling financially already then to receive a letter saying you owe $6322 made me furious.
Im currently expanding my business and in the same week have discovered my wife is pregnant so the timing couldn't have been worse.
I handled the news relatively calmly, I’ve heard that people incur these charges from Centrelink all the time.
It’s an ‘Overpayment by Centrelink’ between the dates given.
I got to say, I have started to become really anxious about this debt. I haven't felt this anxious in my whole life. It is really starting to affect my health. I'm having to spend hours of my work days on hold and getting upset. It is outrageous.