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 actually laughed when it first came.
It was around the time of the half billion dollar grant to an organisation that didn't ask for it and a time when politicians were under all sorts of scrutiny for the dodgy use of taxpayers' money.
Due to incorrect address recorded, did not even know this occured.
ATO garnished my tax return to pay this false "debt".
Took approx 3 months to get it back.
Had to provide employment records due the entire year as well as bank statements and statements from the employment agencies.
I have to repay part of my payment to Centrelink every fortnight because they won’t let me appeal it further.
I also now live alone so the financial stress is greater.
My parents handed me a letter in November 2018 they had received at their home that stated Centrelink had unsuccessfully tried to contact me at my own home address to have me re-report my income for a 12 month period from 4 years ago.
To breaking point. Constant stress day and night. Concern about how we can afford to live
I received an initial letter requesting employment confirmation back in 2015.
I attempted to fill out the online forms and dates for the last three years and of course it was all wrong.
I was shocked when I received this and felt sick, this has caused me a lot of anxiety and frustration at having to put a lot of effort to prove that I did the right thing.
This has been a truly awful experience.
I've had multiple Centrelink customer service operators hang up on me when trying to request a review or ask for a receipt number.
It has caused me great anxiety and has given me depression for weeks now.
Anxiety through the roof and don’t have the help to fight it
I got a bill in Dec.
I did try to communicate with varying Centrelink departments and when the phone did ring through and was answered I was only ever told that I needed to prove I did not owe any money.
Was 24hr carer for my father who had MND. Apparently I was working too.
Dear Centrelink. Absolutely no idea.
I was sent an email to mygov inbox regarding the debt the day befor xmas 2018
I have been suffering anxiety due to my circumstances (loss of a child) and this debt letter making it worse for me.
I sent them my bank statements my payslips but no reviw received and on top the debt is increased.
It is not fair reciving a bill to pay with no information or background into it that when it has happened.
Insecure anxious financially strained
Supper stressed, single mum of 3 kids, I don't know how I'm supposed to ever get ahead, they already left me homeless twice.
I'm scared and cannot understand how this has happened when i reported as i was supposed to, have provided bank statements to get a reassessment, i'm hoping its a misunderstanding.
I am very stressed and anxious and it doesn't make any sense
I deferred my university course for just 6 weeks in September. I had developed anxiety and carers stress while caring for a sick relative.
The first I new of my debt was from a text from the debt collection agency.
I called them and they straight away demanded payment.
Extremely upset and stressed.
I have had to take days off work to try and handle this mess.
This is going to cripple me for most of the foreseable future.
I was on income protection and sickness benefits and it seems i incurred a debt of 5.5k
After countless hours, over a period of 6 months on the phone and providing documents (178 pages of bank statements & immigration records-available free from immigration on a 1359 form) finally got onto someone with authority that could see the light.
Debt reduced from $9,800 to $477.
I received a debt approx 4 years ago from 2010-2011 for over $2500, I went on a payment plan and over a number of years paid the debt back.
This year, I received another debt of $1600 from the same year.
A few months later i received a debt of $3000.
During the period of any paid work I notified centrelink and submitted payslips.
Online self service showed nil amount from Centrelink.
Also at the branch.
Then in early 2013 applied for TAFE and then received AUSTUDY after 6 months of entering TAFE.
I first received a online in August letter saying that I needed to confirm my income.
The lady on the phone stated that I owed $7,000 in debt as I had under reported my earning. The lady also went on to make me feel like a criminal by going on how this was wrong and how did I intend to pay this back.