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NotMyDebt Stories

We are collecting stories on the site because we think it's important to have a way to people to add their voice to this issue by sharing their story. It's puts a human voice to the issues with using technology and automating systems and providing a blanket solution without providing staff and people that can right wrongs and help people when there is an error. 

Please share your story with us if you have a Centrelink debt story that you believe has been issued in error or due to a fault in the system. 

As frustrating as it is, persist with the appeals process, and know others are behind you. 

Stories are 100% anonymous

Debt amount:
$19000
Payment Type:
Family Tax Benefit
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process

Honestly, I am grateful that I have the opportunity to be able to appeal the amounts but I am so horribly stressed as to the outcome. I have two children under 5 to support. I hid the debt from my partner for such a long time because I was embarrassed that I had made so many mistakes that would cost us this amount of money.

Debt amount:
$1000
Payment Type:
Newstart Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
16 August 2018

Free leaving extremely abusive domestic violence this escalated my diagnosed issues of Generalised Anxiety Disorder, depressive disorder
and also CPTSD. I have been fighting this for the better part of a year now!!

Debt amount:
$8180
Payment Type:
Newstart Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
24 November 2018

I am confused as to how this has occurred and it is affecting my ability to get a loan. I cannot get on with my life while this is happening.

Debt amount:
$4500
Payment Type:
Newstart Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
Yes but I lost

When I first had a review the debt was reduced from $5,000 to $2,500 but when I kept requesting an explaination of how they calculated that amount they increased it to $3500.

Debt amount:
$1200
Payment Type:
Newstart Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process

I was working one day a week, meeting with a job agency one week and Centrelink the other week. I handed payslips in to the job agency, where they were scanned and added to my file. I applied for jobs, I trialed at a few, during which I did not get paid. Three years later, and three years off payments, I get the debt letter.

Debt amount:
$1010
Payment Type:
Family Tax Benefit
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
8 May 2018

The brains trust down there a Centrewank decided that because my ex husbands tax was amended by the ATO by $700 that I incurred a $1011 debt. They said we weren’t separated. My income was $5k for that year. I have appealed it 4 times.

Debt amount:
$5500
Payment Type:
Family Tax Benefit
Appealing Debt?:
No
Date debt issued:
1 July 2017

Opted to be in NIL rate of FTB for whole financial year as was not sure what income was to be... did my tax return and centrelink reconciliated my payment and I got a top up.

Debt amount:
$900
Payment Type:
Youth Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
7 June 2019

Receiving the letter, I felt a sense of doom. Yes I am now working full time and my financial situation has improved, but not too the point where I had a spare $900 to give them on demand.

Debt amount:
$1200
Payment Type:
Newstart Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
Unknown
Date debt issued:
18 September 2019

I have always kept all my records, receipts, diaries etc all the way back to 2000. I always was honest with Colonel Clink but their computer said "no" They changed the calculations so that I had a debt. Last year I earned a total of $25k because I had some work but mostly Newstart.

Debt amount:
$690
Payment Type:
Aged Pension
Appealing Debt?:
Yes & I won
Date debt issued:
15 August 2018

Firstly I had a series of 'silent number' calls with a fuzzy message but heard "human services" and to press 1, which then went dead. After two of these I called Centrelink who had no messages on my file and suggested they were hoax calls and to ignore them.

Debt amount:
$22200
Payment Type:
Parenting Payment
Appealing Debt?:
Yes but I lost
Date debt issued:
8 July 2019

So I got this email saying I owed $22200+ , I'm only 23 . This has destroyed my life . I'll be paying this back forever .

Debt amount:
$2300
Payment Type:
Youth Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
2 March 2019

I've had to take a day off work just to get the on the phone to discuss it with me and ended up in tears after the 8th phone call, 8 hours and getting different information each time.
I just heard back from the first reassessment where they have added on another $200.

Appealing Debt?:
I don't know how to

I was at Uni and receiving aus-study and working part time. I was making around $600ish a week when I was told by centrelink I would have to pay them back over $4,000.

Debt amount:
$1070
Payment Type:
Austudy
Appealing Debt?:
I don't know how to
Date debt issued:
18 September 2019

Makes me anxious as i was full time at the time of the loan but i changed my study load later in the month following due to health reasons

Debt amount:
$3000
Payment Type:
Newstart Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
Unknown
Date debt issued:
2 September 2019

Although my debt has been cleared, I wanted to share my experience in the hope that it will help reassure others that this is not only a horrific injustice but definitely a computer system failure that the government and all those involved need to be held accountable for.

Debt amount:
$26100
Payment Type:
Parenting Payment
Date debt issued:
3 November 2016

Very annoyed and stressful

Debt amount:
$14100
Payment Type:
Parenting Payment
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
22 May 2019

Stress levels through the roof - about to undergo heart surgery, will likely lose my job and will now be unable to claim anything, can't do my tax return which I was counting on, hardly sleep at night anymore and will most likely get even more sick now as my heart condition is directly stress-related.

Debt amount:
$11000
Payment Type:
Family Tax Benefit
Appealing Debt?:
I don't know how to
Date debt issued:
13 September 2019

I’m in utter shock
How am I supposed to re pay this ? I’m not working
I am a single parent with two children one with special needs / autism which I receive carer payment from
I cannot work as I am his full time carer
Again I’m in shock
Feel numb
Anxiety levels are high
I feel like giving up

Debt amount:
$500
Payment Type:
Austudy
Appealing Debt?:
Yes & I won
Date debt issued:
10 August 2017

I received a letter from Centrelink in 2017 about an apparent discrepancy between my taxable income and reported income for the 14/15 financial year. They asked me to enter my payslip amounts for the entire year for three jobs into their system. Luckily I was able to find a record of all of these.

Debt amount:
$1950
Payment Type:
Aged Pension
Appealing Debt?:
Unknown
Date debt issued:
8 August 2019

I received $55,000 compensation for having to have revision surgery to replace a faulty hip implant.
I informed Centrelink when I received the compensation (12th. September 2017).
They now want to reduce our pensions and claim back a total of $1,950.

Debt amount:
$34000
Payment Type:
Newstart Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
I don't know how to
Date debt issued:
18 September 2019

Years ago when my son was in primary school (~2008) I got my first $12000 debt that I've now repaid although I always reported my income and Centrelink said it was an overpayment.

Debt amount:
$10100
Payment Type:
Youth Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
Yes & I won
Date debt issued:
23 June 2018

I was recovering from a bout of clinical depression for which I was receiving treatment when I first received notification of the proposed debt. This was communicated to me over the phone during business hours when I was at work. I quickly became distressed and upset upon being told that I owed over $10,000 to the department of human services.

Debt amount:
$1550
Payment Type:
Youth Allowance
Date debt issued:
8 May 2019

My anxiety levels due to this debt are crazy I am stressing about it all the time. I was waiting on my tax money so I could pay some bills and centrelink took my whole tax refund to pay off some of my debt!!!!!! They didn't even give me a chance to dispute it.

Debt amount:
$7000
Payment Type:
Sickness Benefit
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
11 April 2017

It frustrated me so bad that im scared to call them every time i call or get an email its another bill and no reason as to why they apporved me for the sickness allowance now i am paying it back also some family payments and partnered i have no letters as to why... i have been of centerlink since jan this year..

Debt amount:
$41000
Payment Type:
Parenting Payment
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
15 April 2019

Financial stress,living costs,school fees,homelessness. How can we live on $4 a week? Waited 5mnths before i got a payment from centerlink,lie after lie from them stating all was fine,just to be advised that $3000+ was taken for a ftb/parenting payment debt from 2006 to 2007. Takes 2 mnths to even hear back about my appeal.

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