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this debt is suffocating

Debt amount: 
$18000
Date debt issued: 
Friday, 2 February 2018
Period debt occurred: 
June 2011
Has your case been referred to a collection agency?: 
No
Payment Type: 
Youth Allowance
Appealing Debt?: 
Yes in process
Tell us about your debt and how has this affected you? e.g. anxiety levels, financial and accommodation stress: 

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!
There has never been a mention of this, no notifications and I worked really hard to ensure that I could support myself through casual work whilst I studied with a grad role in sight. With HECS, general living expenses, further study, health and medical expenses and fuel costs (I live regionally and travel almost 1800km a week for work and study) this debt is suffocating.

All my interactions have been positive with centerlink in the past, but not relating to this matter.
Staff are condescensing and naive to your circumstances, not willing to give you the time to discuss your options and simply do not listen.

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

There has been no warning prior to receiving these letters.
Centerlink staff are trained to refer and refer and pass the buck in this situation. Unable to offer any advice or resolution to this flawed system.
The government has turned its back on those truly affected by an automated and inconsistent system and furthermore the ATO is also at fault!