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
This happened to me last year.
Just leading up to Christmas I received a nasty letter stating that I owed around 1200 dollars.
This was a result of the centrelink glitch, same as everyone else on here. Between working roles I was on the dole for about 2-3 months of that year.
The shock of this debt has affected me greatly
I fear I’ll never get on top of it and it will hang over me forever
Beware they are taking the false debt directly out of tax returns now.
It's been like a one-way conversation.
15 months ago I provided all the evidence which if any logical person spend 5 minutes on it will make sense of, they still sent me a letter of debt this April.
Centrelink issued me with a debt of over $12,000 from when I was studying.
I was receiving youth allowance at the time and getting roughly $260 a fortnight.
Over the period I received under $4,000. I was gobsmacked that the debt was 3 times the payment I received.
I just got a call from Centrelink, I had changed my address and they sent the letter to the old address
Anyway I had to confirm who I was when he called me ?
I told him and he said between 2009 and 2010 may have run into 2011 I was overpaid
I knew nothing about this debt until last night. I had to look it up in the app. No one told me I had already paid $1300 off the debt.
I could barely sleep, which is not good considering I have been diagnosed with Bipolar.
I am currently unemployed with mental health issues such anxiety and depression as well as hormonal disorder I am finding it hard to hold down a job.
I suffer from depression and anxiety. I'm also a recovering addict. Not quite sure of exactly yrs but around 2009 to 2012 I was working at that stage of my life I wasn't an addict.
I was recently diagnosed with cervical cancer at 24 years old. I was without work for 6 months and already have the stress of cancer without the stress of having to pay back money
Received the 'debt' letter just yesterday. I'm assuming the initial 'explain yourself' letter was sent to my previous address, because I never got it.
I received notice in August 2017 that I needed to confirm my income from 2010/2012.
They say something payslips not matching and i owe this huge debt.
Financially, mentally and physically exhausted.
Currently i have no stable accommodation and looking for a breath of air where ever and when ever i can.
I have been very anxious about this experience.
Causing grief where it is not due, bringing back anxiety attacks whilst at work.
I'm lucky that the claimed debt amount would not be an issue to pay.
Luckily I was taught by my parents to keep all payslips and documents from a young age so I can easily prove this debt is wrong.
I was on Austudy between late September to mid December of 2014 because I was a full-time student (over 25), with a crappy retail job and on-top of that I was supporting my divorced, PTSD/Depressed Mother which was why I needed the centrelink payments in the first place to help cover expenses like rent, food, electricity, internet etc.
I had to change my living situation from student to job seeker in office.
I already suffer with anxiety and this has really taken its toll on me.
Mentally it has depressed me as I’ve had to go on medication as this issue has just tipped me over the edge.
Physically my body had broken out in a stress psoriasis, which I am now having to get treatment for x3 times a week.
Severe anxiety, chest pains, inability to sleep, focus very difficult.
Financial impact is debilitating.
Work has become extremely hard to focus on and I work in Mental Health !!
My debt was given to me in a letter saying I owe $20,000. They say I failed to update my study details.
This is my second debt. No one can explain to me how it has happened except my pay slips dont match up with my reporting.
Right before exam period approaches I get a letter to say I owe a mass amount of debt, absolute panic attack as I've never owed in my life and all of a sudden they want money in 14 days!
Requested a hold and a copy of DATA BREAKDOWN which allows you to verify what you reported so you can cross reference your pay.
Centrelink performed a data matching with the ATO.
The ATO had my earning $X for a particular period but centrelink had recorded $Y for the same period being less than the ATO.
They then decided this meant I had underdeclared my income.
Very stressful as I am already struggling on my current income.
There’s not a chance this debt could be accurate.
I received notice in August 2017 that I needed to confirm my income from 2012.
Panicking and unsure what to do, I spent hours going over old bank statements calculating the fortnightly net payments from my employer.
I am about to undertake my final exams for my degree (ever) and I feel very overwhelmed that they have just contacted me.
Very anxious and uneasy and have two exams this week. Can't stop thinking about it.