In 2017 I got a letter saying I was overpayed Newstart allowance from 2 years prior to this, and that I needed to provide additional information to the debt recovery team.
I provided additional pay slips as requested and was asked to phone back in 2 weeks time so they could review them.
I phoned back and spoke to a man who said if I didn’t hear from them there would nothing further to do.
Fast forward 18 months I start getting random text messages and phone calls from a private debt collector saying I owe Centrelink $6000 + administrative fee charges for overpayment.
They had said they had sent me numerous letters and on myGov despite moving interstate and having my mail redirected and registering in my new local council and had physically been into Centrelink for another matter.
Yet Centrelink say they were unable to get in contact with me.
It has been incredibly stressful for me particularly with trying to manage renal dialysis x6 per week waiting for a kidney transplant, being unemployed (and not entitled to any benefits).
I worry how I will be able to pay this and what it’s even about and how it might affect my credit rating in the future.
It is absolutely appalling how Centrelink have handled this.
Their lack of transparency and inability to explain what the debt is for several years after the dates in question is disgraceful.