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Why must I accept a debt that I don't agree with?

Debt amount: 
$803
Date debt issued: 
Wednesday, 4 April 2018
Period debt occurred: 
September 2013
Has your case been referred to a collection agency?: 
No
Payment Type: 
Newstart Allowance
Appealing Debt?: 
Yes in process
Tell us about your debt and how has this affected you? e.g. anxiety levels, financial and accommodation stress: 

The debt allegedly occurred over a brief 3 month period when it is alleged I underdeclared my income.

The fact that when I am asked to give income/earnings estimates I always overestimate to avoid accruing a debt and then am told it will be reconciled at tax time, which it is and any amount owing to me is paid by Centrelink to me and this has been the case for at least five years.

To now out of the blue receive a request for information, when I have always complied and provided correct information is offensive.
Also the online process is onerous ie having to provide details of 26 payslips from 5 years ago and then when they assess that there is a debt, I must accept this in order to get detailed information as to how they came to this decision.
If I don't accept the debt, I am not given any more information, either by phone or online.

This has resulted in increased anxiety and financial stress and is completely unnecessary as I have always complied and declared my income, as my tax returns and info to Centrelink shows.

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

The letter and website portal to use to report income is confusing.

Telephone contact to discuss this has not been easy as I want to dispute the debt but am forced to accept it as its the only way to get information and there is nothing on the online portal to give me information as to how this debt was calculated.

Isn't the onus on them to provide me with information to show their assessment is correct?