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Money i'd put aside for the baby

Debt amount: 
$1020
Date debt issued: 
Wednesday, 10 January 2018
Period debt occurred: 
July 2016 to September 2016
Has your case been referred to a collection agency?: 
Yes
Payment Type: 
Austudy
Appealing Debt?: 
No
Tell us about your debt and how has this affected you? e.g. anxiety levels, financial and accommodation stress: 

I was extremely shocked to hear about my debt from two years ago.
I went back through all my document uploads etc on mygov and Centrelink to see if i'd missed letting them know about any changes of circumstances etc back in 2016 that may have lead to mistakes, and me incurring a debt.
I hadn't missed a beat and it was all there in order.

When i recieved the letter, i was 2 months off having my first son.
Obviously with the baby on the way my partner and i did not have much cash to spare.
Money i'd put aside for the baby was going to have to be spent elsewhere.

I was very stressed and worried and to make things worse the letter stated i must pay the debt back by Feb 9th, giving me less than a month to pay it back.
I tried to contact Centrelink but of course the site is always down or you can't get through.
I uploaded a complaint letter which questioned the debt but this was ignored.

I recieved another letter demanding i pay it back and eventually somebody called me on Feb 17th again requesting i pay it back.
SHortly after this i recieved a call from a debt collector and they sent a letter to my home.

I'd originally planned to appeal the debt but i had began to panick as the baby was coming soon and the appeal process was extremely complicated.
The whole thing affected me both financially and emotionally.

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

My requests for an explanation of how the debt had occured were ignored.

When i eventually did speak to someone they urged me to pay it immediately, organise small repayments or to lodge an appeal online (no help or explanation on how to actually do this).
She also called me on a Saturday morning at 8am to discuss the debt which i found extremely odd considering on a weekday you can never get onto these people.
I argued that any debt i owed was either wrong, or due to a mistake on Centrelinks end as i'd gone throught all my documents and eveything was in order.

She basically said, 'too bad, according to us, you owe money so you better pay it.'

I think the way the Government has handled this is disgusting.
Centrelink is meant to be there to support people, not destory them.