This putative debt relates to an extremely stressful period when my daughter was very unwell. Revisiting this has been extremely distressing for both of us, and this has been exacerbated by the terrible way in which the process has been handled.
The way this has been handled has been appalling. The original letter was threatening in tone and very unclear. I have just learned that even though I have lodged an appeal (the centrelink rep I spoke to agreed that it seemed too high), the amount needs to paid now in order to avoid being sent to debt collectors, and if the appeal is upheld will be repaid, as 'they don't know how long the appeal process might take'. I can't believe that we are expected to be out of pocket because of the slowness of these processes, particularly as it relates to events from four years ago. The forms on the mygov website were also extremely unclear and difficult to complete accurately. The expectation that we would be able to produce the dates on which she declared her income, and pay slips from this long ago is ridiculous. The whole process is incredibly stressful, and I'm appalled that we now appear to live in a country where people in need of financial support can be asked years later to justify the payments they received, when no clear explanation about how the size of the 'debt' was calculated has been provided.