I am a 65 year old single pensioner working 3 days. I've done casual adult education/TAFE teaching for 25 As a casual teacher, I declared my income every fortnight so my Newstart payments varied throughout. My pension payments have been cut to virtually nothing. I've had 2 phone calls to the debt recovery line. The first revealed it was my employer's fault for not putting stop/start dates for casual teaching work so it appeared I earned money regularly across the financial year. The second revealed Centrelink had listed 8 employers instead of 6 as one had a name change and another was listed by its full name and also its initials - same ABN in each case.
All of my employers went to online or email systems with payslips somewhere in the 2 year period of the 'debt". Trying to get earlier payslips re-issued is difficult. All of my employers were incredibly busy before Christmas break, then closed. My GP wrote a letter detailing my health issues and stress. My debt includes a $828.60 recovery fee.
I use about 65% of my work income to pay rent and can't afford to stop work. Last year my housemate received government housing and I had to find another $250 a week for rent and utilities. The full pension with my small super payment would not be enough to live on after rent. If forced to move out of the city to find affordable rent I'll have to give up my job anyway and probably wont find another one at 65. If they recover this 'debt' by cutting my pension I wont have enough money to live on unless I use up my small super.
I feel very stressed and angry. I feel I've been treated like a cheat. The first phone call I had was with a helpful person who showed me how to find details on my.gov under "compliance'. When I went in a couple of days later the heading had been removed as it was set up for my recently granted pension payments not for Newstart. The local Centrelink office was unhelpful telling me to call the debt recovery number when the person I spoke to on the phone had told me to get details by going in to the local office. The second call I had to the number supplied was with a very rude and abrasive person and I will make a complaint after the issue is resolved.