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Austudy While Doing Nursing Placement

Debt amount: 
$4800
Date debt issued: 
Friday, 2 November 2018
Period debt occurred: 
December 2015 to February 2016
Has your case been referred to a collection agency?: 
No
Payment Type: 
Austudy
Appealing Debt?: 
Yes & I won
Tell us about your debt and how has this affected you? e.g. anxiety levels, financial and accommodation stress: 

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.

I then received a letter in the mail saying I owed a significant sum of money.
It was from 3 years prior when i was doing my nursing placement (which was working for free to get experience for 6 months).

At that time I had no other income, however as I went straight back to work after, I still earned a wage for the financial year.
They said I had earned too much and i was not entitled to it and they wanted it back within 14 days.

I had to go through all my bank statements for that time period while looking after a young child, and it was quite stressful.
I called them and then went in to centrelink office, with my statements.

They then put the debt on hold pending review, then 2 weeks later sent me a letter saying my debt was cleared.

I think it was a pretty unfair and stressful situation, and is basically guilty until proven innocent.

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

This process goes on the basis that people will be so scared that they will just pay these debts, and it adds to unnecessary stress and anxiety to the general public.

If they can't find people trying to rort the system at the time or within 12 months, they should wipe the debt clean, as telling people out of the blue that they owe money is not a good way to go about things.