Go to top of page

Centrelink claims I owe them for money I didn't have at the time

Debt amount: 
Date debt issued: 
Tuesday, 24 September 2019
Period debt occurred: 
November 2017
Has your case been referred to a collection agency?: 
Payment Type: 
Newstart Allowance
Appealing Debt?: 
Tell us about your debt and how has this affected you? e.g. anxiety levels, financial and accommodation stress: 

I received my first pay check more than a week after my last centrelink payment. Now centrelink say I should have declared that but can't point to any legal reason why. All legal precedent suggests that money wasn't mine till payment date, and Centrelinks own rules state I have 14 days to update them (instead I stopped receiving payments). Where's my compensation for every time they cancelled a payment in error, forced me to met requirements that I wasn't eligible for, stress about food and rent because there was never any warning before they mistakenly cancelled payments and then hours and weeks, months of zero payments and time chasing them because of their errors? Why do the people issuing the debts have no knowledge about the legal reasoning behind them?

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

Better than most for me but still poorly. The case worker called twice, however, both after their open hours (one at 5:37pm and one at 6:30pm). I answered the second call and the worker honestly seemed reluctant to offer information (and also forced me to give personal details despite calling me). Very slowly explained why she believed I had a debt, however, really just spouted a bunch of calculations. When I questioned about an overpayment of a dollar, she got very defensive and changed her story entirely saying the debt came from my other employment I hadn't declared, rather than the one I had declared that matched her calculations of $1 overpayment. I asked why legally I had a debt for money I didn't need to declare as payment date was outside of any centrelink payment period, and she had absolutely no knowledge of the legal reasoning behind why she was giving me a debt...