I was on Austudy between late September to mid December of 2014 because I was a full-time student (over 25), with a crappy retail job and on-top of that I was supporting my divorced, PTSD/Depressed Mother which was why I needed the centrelink payments in the first place to help cover expenses like rent, food, electricity, internet etc.
Now I've been contacted saying I owe $2319.46, and that the reason was I was overpaid, and Centrelink says that according to their records I never "during this period claimed your income from your employer to us", which is 100% a shock to me cause I am 100% sure I did.
I had been on Centrelink back in 2013 (youth allowance while studying) and I worked and I always claimed my income when I reported, why on earth would I not do the same this time around?
I was only on Centrelink for less than 3 months, why would I completely lie for less than 3 months that I didn't get an income when all previous times I had reported employer income to them? Not to mention I have my Mother as a witness, having seen me report during that period of time.
It's become a "my word against theirs" as I am unable to access my previous reporting on my centrelink cause it's been 4yrs since I was on it!
I had to take the day off work to sort this out, and I've spent the whole day in tears on the phone with centrelink because of this, it has completely aggravated my Depression and anxiety.
I already have a hard time, still supporting my Mother financially, and centrelink is coming round and telling me I owe them money?
Thanks Centrelink for the headaches, the tears, the stress, anger, and plunging me into MORE financial burden because there is something fishy going on here, cause there is NO WAY I wouldn't of reported my income earnings unless
1. There was no box for me to fill out or
2. I was told I didn't have to.
In the end this site helped in telling me what I need to request from Centrelink under the Freedom of Information Act, so hopefully I can find some proof...otherwise I will be forced to pay this debt that I believe is false.
Overall, the people I did talk to today were trying hard to understand, but none could give me a proper answer as to how it was possible that I didn't report my income earnings for that period of time I was on centrelink.
The guy just kept saying "well according to the records I have, it says you didn't report anything".
So they tried, but weren't 100% helpful.