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Systemic Abuse

Debt amount: 
Date debt issued: 
Friday, 9 March 2018
Period debt occurred: 
August 2011 to June 2014
Has your case been referred to a collection agency?: 
Payment Type: 
Newstart Allowance
Appealing Debt?: 
I don't know how to
Tell us about your debt and how has this affected you? e.g. anxiety levels, financial and accommodation stress: 

I am currently paying off a debt ($2,057.36) from 2012 to 2013 for incorrectly declaring my income, I have been paying this debt off since 3 June 2017 on a hardship payment plan, paying $20 per fortnight.

On 27th Feb 2018 while online checking on the status of my current newstart claim, I saw a notice on my centrelink mygov profile telling me that centrelink had a different income on their system for me than from the info they got from the ATO.

I then had to provide my details from my payslips for 2011 to 2012 and 2013 to 2014. I went through them with my mum for quite a few hours, inserting all the figures from my password protected payslips into the online form that centrelink provided. It took longer than necessary because the system kept logging me in and out. The whole time I was crying and very stressed out as well.

At the end of it all I got a notice that I had to call the centrelink compliance program number because they had problems with the information I had provided. It was after office hours so I had to call the following day and found out that they wanted to see copies of all the payslips from that time period.

So I had to print each payslip to pdf to remove the passwords from all of them, which took quite some time. Then I had to combine the pdf documents so that I didn’t have to transfer as many documents through. After all that I had to call several times to check that they had received my documents.

When they eventually called me back about their findings from looking over my payslips, they told me I had a $3,433.51 debt for declaring incorrectly.

I have no idea how they could only be realising this now and I don’t understand why they didn’t notify me about all this other debt back in June 2017. All of this has caused me a lot of stress and I feel traumatized, because it has been such an awful process, especially during a time when I am struggling. I already have anxiety and depression and this has only made things worse for me.

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

I feel like the government have handled this process very badly. I am traumatised and I feel abused by the system.
I am angry that this is happening to countless other low income earning citizens as well.
I am disgusted with the state of the Australian government. Us people on the coal face are just another number, to be herded into submission by the rich and powerful bullies. Most people I know who have been hit up with these debts are just rolling over and paying the debt off, just like the kids in school who had their lunch money taken from them by the ones who were stronger.