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Stress and worry

Debt amount: 
$7407
Date debt issued: 
Wednesday, 18 July 2018
Period debt occurred: 
February 2014 to February 2015
Has your case been referred to a collection agency?: 
No
Payment Type: 
Austudy
Appealing Debt?: 
Yes in process
Tell us about your debt and how has this affected you? e.g. anxiety levels, financial and accommodation stress: 

I initially had no idea about this debt as I had received no communications from Centrelink, even though the lady on the phone assured me they had sent 8 letters in the post (somehow I doubt that).

I had logged on to Mygov to check something for Medicare and I saw this debt notice in my inbox for $7407.
I immediately freaked out and called them, got it put on hold while i went hunting for my old payslips, which i finally managed to get and submit.

Didnt hear anything till now (oct 2018) when i got sent the same letter with a new due date on it.
I went on to the employment details part of the website and checked the figures...they were still wildly different from the paperwork i had submitted.

Another 1+hrs on the phone and i am told that the person who reviewed my case didnt use the new information i provided. Seriously?!

My debt is on hold for another 3 months now, and I requested an ARO (Authorised review officer) as suggested by http://www.legalaid.vic.gov.au/find-legal-answers/centrelink/get-help-wi...

Fingers crossed they might get it right this time, because I am 100% sure I DO NOT OWE ANYTHING.
I always delcared all my income, even though i was paid weekly and centrelink required fortnightly income reporting, working as a casual meant I didnt know how much I would make each week, so I would over estimate just to be safe.

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

Horribly. It makes students and part time workers who pay their tax, follow the rules and do everything in their power to do the right thing feel like absolute trash and criminals.

I can't believe they would just let a computer system handle something so personal to each individual, each case is very different, everyones circumstances are different, if you use a calculator to do an average of your yearly earnings of course its going to throw up some differences!!

Centrelink is a joke. If I could remove all my information from their databases I would.
I would never rely on them for any payments, support or customer service.