I received notice in August 2017 that I needed to confirm my income from 2012.
Panicking and unsure what to do, I spent hours going over old bank statements calculating the fortnightly net payments from my employer.
I then had to enter each fortnight's data into the online portal that is absolutely atrocious. This system is not easy to use!
As you can imagine, the idea of an as yet unknown debt hanging over my head caused me undue stress and anxiety.
I had always been honest in my dealings with Centrelink, making sure to accurately submit my earnings each fortnight.
The discrepancy between my declared income and the ATO record was about 20-something cents. It seems decimal figures are too complicated for the Liberal Government!
The online portal where I logged my fortnightly earnings does not allow the entry of decimal figures.
All of the ATO figures were even numbers also which I found rather odd. This automated debt calculation is not very effective at finding the truth.
I naively accepted the debt as I assumed "Centrelink must know what they are talking about, I probably made a mistake somewhere", I organised a payment plan of $30 per fortnight to pay it off.
It was only weeks later that I discovered this site (notmydebt.com.au) and realised that I have rights and that I should exercise them.
That is what I intend to do, I'm keen to have a pair of human eyes look at my case and make some sense from it all.
I have been requested to confirm my income around the period of when I finally found full-time employment (with no help from my Job Services Provider) in mid 2017. I jumped through the hoops, rounded up my payslips and confirmed my income.
The same as before, the figures involved between my actual gross income and that provided by the ATO were merely cents off the mark.
All of the whole numbers were correct. They were just given as even numbers with no decimals.
Poor form by the Department of Human Services!
Upon completion of the income confirmation, I was instantly notified of a provisional debt of $191.87.
I do not know how they have arrived at that figure.
The page urges the user to accept the debt otherwise the ATO figures will be used instead.
Knowing my rights, I will absolutely not accept the new debt and will be seeking a review on both debt issues.
I feel the Government has handled this process terribly. I am all for the following up of overpayments and eliminating fraud but the 'scatter-gun' approach is not the way to go about it. There are probably thousands of benefits recipients that have received an unjustified debt notice, it's not right.
I have since become unemployed and have decided to forgo my right to Newstart Allowance as dealing with Centrelink and not knowing if you will be given a debt notice in the future is unbearable.
I have been slowly selling my possessions to get by.
It's no way to live.