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$20K debt, struggling to cope with the stress

Debt amount: 
$20000
Date debt issued: 
Wednesday, 16 November 2016
Period debt occurred: 
February 2015 to July 2016
Has your case been referred to a collection agency?: 
No
Payment Type: 
Youth Allowance
Tell us about your debt and how has this affected you? e.g. anxiety levels, financial and accommodation stress: 

My debt was given to me in a letter saying I owe $20,000. They say I failed to update my study details.

I was studying fulltime, in a domestic violence situation, struggling already to cope with everyday life.
I wasn't aware I had to update my details as I dropped one subject.
I wasn't aware I had done anything wrong, to my knowledge I was stil entitled to a payment.

I had no income for that whole year, and I would have been entitled to more than what they were giving me if I wasn't considered a student with them which is what they are saying.

Now im on newstart trying to find a job and I get more than what I got on a student payment.
If they considered me not a fulltime student for the debt time period, they would have had to pay me more, so they should if anything be the one owing me money.

When I contacted them beside myself all they could say was you should have updated your details.

I tried to fight it but I was rejected.
I am now going to seek legal advice in hope it will be waived.

I have already paid them back $5,000 from my centerlink payments. Surely this is reasonable enough for something so unfair?

I am struggling with this cloud of debt hanging over me. I am currently paying them back what I can afford just at $50 a fortnight.

Putting people in this financial hardship leads to all sorts of mental health and community issues within society.

How do you feel about the way the Government has handled this process?: 

I feel I don't have a future ahead of me now because the government doesn't care, they are punishing the wrong people