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
I haven't even been on centrelink for over a year, and they sent me letters a few months ago once I lodged my tax return saying that I need to update my employment details (as I moved to full time from casual)
Stress, spending repeated half days on the phone after working long night shifts, zero consideration to this.
Making work very much harder due to sleep loss.
Being gaslighted repeatedly, supplying requested documentation then told it was not provided at a later date.
Affecting family time due to exhaustion, repeatedly.
This has been so stressful.
I've been worry about this all day everyday. Second guessing myself that I declared my income wrong when I 100% declared it correctly.
I supplied them with my bank statements which show how much money was earning but they are still saying that I earned more money than I actually did.
In 2013 my dad had passed away with a 2 and a half year battle with a brain tumor
3 Years later my mum suggested i go on youth allowance as i had an unstable job and was looking for full time work so i had joined Youth Allowance but in the hope i could join an agency to help me find fulltime work.
I had just come off night shift and when I got the call I just could not stop crying.
Leaving me with more questions than answers..
I am not sure how the hell I could owe them money during this period as I was working..
Apparently i owe them 2000 during 2016-2017 which is total crap considering i reported properly.
I cant afford to pay for something that i dont have to its hard enough to pay to live as it is.
The government needs to pull their heads out and stop taking money from the less fortunate.
I received my debt letter and contacted Centrelink to give them my pay slips as I never falsely reported and assumed this must have been a mistake
I then appealed my debt
The initial debt amount was sent just before Christmas, due at the end of December 2016.
Many others received notices at that time.
No ‘human’ consideration was shown in the timing of these demand letters. It was extremely stressful.
I was initially told I owed close to $13,000.
Then the compliance line operator worked out that it was $2,300 - mind you, this was after I produced my payslips and had to chase them up to review them!
email received to my mum as she was dealing with my issues at the time, home detention, and stating i had a 3600 debt, what a joke as i couldn't work and was on home D, and the was subsequently suspended from centrelink because i started WORK again the idiots.
Recieved a letter in the mail requesting payslips from various work I had during 2013-14 from when I was paid Newstart in between jobs.
Extremely stressful as I have not been on Centrelink for 4 years!
I can’t understand how they could figure this out when I report my earnings.
Got told my debt was being put on hold for 3 months whilst being ReAssessed.
I then got text messages from Probe Group which I deregarded as I thought they were a scam.
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).
Whilst in medical school I received Austudy.
Additionally I worked on a casual basis as I needed to be able to pay for books, fuel, bills etc. as well as rent & food.
My income was declared, an exorbitant amount of tax was paid & I finally managed to graduate in December 2014.
On the night before we moved house, the online letter arrived for my daughter.
The timing has added immeasurably to the stress.
As her nominee I am dealing with this insanely confusing and totally unexpected issue.
This debt has stressed me to the point I am struggling to sleep trying to sort it out and I have taken up extra shifts at work to try to get myself in a better financial situation to try to feel secure
Stressed. Was in a frenzy trying to get payslips from Dec 2012- Jan 2013.
I was only on Centrelink for three payments to get me through the Christmas holidays as I work in a career that follows the school terms.
On the first day of a much awaited holiday I received three letters from Centrelink: one notifying me of a $4237 debt, one warning me to pay it, and one notifying me of punitive interest.
After the end of an abusive relationship I had to quit study for mental health reasons and look for work to make up for lost income and the increase in expenses from no longer sharing.
Processing the change from youth allowance to Newstart was a mess and I've ended up on the hook for 6 weeks of pay.
Six months ago I received a letter in the mail advising me that I needed to update my details with the ATO about my employment while recieving youth allowance.
I had applied for youth allowance while studying at university, and recieved payments for about three years while I worked part time.
BEEN CRYING MYSELF TO SLEEP EVERY NIGHT BECAUSE IM STILL STUDYING AND STRESSED. I’VE BEEN WORKING LOTS OF JOBS YES BUT I STILL ATTENDED UNIVERSITY FULL TIME AND PARENTS ARE NOT MEETING THE INCOME FOR ME TO NOT RECEIVE YOUTH ALLOWANCE.
Some weeks I earned under threshold and some weeks I earned over threshold.
Was issued with a debt notice (dated Dec 2016) but did not receive it as my address had changed and I hadn't been on Centrelink for around 2 years (even though my address was up to date with medicare and ATO).
When I eventually received it, it was for 2014-15 FY and around $5750 (including a late fee).
The debt and lack of information had a large impact on my stress levels.