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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:
$1800
Payment Type:
Youth Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
22 December 2016

Completely wasted my time while trying to focus on a hectic period at work! Debt was issued just before Christmas and I had a holiday booked departing on the 28th of December. I had to spend my time bothering old employers in their busiest time of year and spent my annual leave getting the docs together.

Debt amount:
$2145
Payment Type:
Parenting Payment
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
23 October 2016

I'm just very annoyed. I am now in full time employment as I've completed my PhD. If an undergraduate or honour's student put together an analysis with this level of inflexibility and fundamental flaws I'd be taking a deep breath and asking them to do a more thorough job before resubmitting their work for marking.

Appealing Debt?:
Unknown

Centerlink has sent me a letter saying that i owe them money. This came as a surprise, has caused me alot of distress. Being a low income earner i am already finding it hard to manage my week to week living. On top of this getting into contact with centerlink is probably the most stressful task.

Debt amount:
$3482
Payment Type:
Family Tax Benefit
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
23 December 2016

oh my god, i am a single mum and have always worked , my family tax benifit stopped in febuary 2016 as my daughter turned 18 ,, in september 2016 i recieved a letter that my ex husband income has changed to what was taken into account over the last four years from child support ,now somehow its my debt because he did his tax returns after 4 year

Debt amount:
$3500
Payment Type:
Austudy
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
4 January 2017

Political radicalism

Debt amount:
$1500
Payment Type:
Newstart Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
6 November 2016

It'll suck dry the last of my savings I was living off. I'm currently unemployed. I was avoiding going on payments because I had savings and was working on my depression. I was somewhat proud of not needing centrelink while I sorted my shit. I could've been on Newstart for the last six months.

Debt amount:
$12930
Payment Type:
Austudy
Appealing Debt?:
Yes & I won
Date debt issued:
2 February 2016

I was shocked and panicked to receive a letter from Centrelink to say that I owed them $13000 in "overpayments" from when I was a student in 2011/ 2012. I had always been honest and diligent in reporting my earnings when I was on Austudy and couldn't understand how I had gotten it so wrong.

Debt amount:
$752
Payment Type:
Newstart Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
17 October 2016

Since receiving an opaque, but threatening text message from Centrelink in October, I have experienced heighten anxiety levels. First, given my so-called debt relates to 2013, it was at first an ordeal to work out exactly what Centrelink thought I had done wrong.

Debt amount:
$16000
Payment Type:
Austudy
Appealing Debt?:
I don't know how to
Date debt issued:
6 January 2017

Anxiety levels through the roof, i have never in my life had such debt, a credit card max was 4 grand, a car debt of 5 grand.. so im not a luxury kinda person.. the government is asking me for 16 grand.. like..
i am in tears.

Debt amount:
$1700
Payment Type:
Newstart Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
24 November 2016

Receiving 3 letters advising of not having challenged a potential debt (and not receiving any letters asking for information) on my birthday was unpleasant. After phoning, trying online and going in to an office it almost seems easier to pay it. But I worked for one employer for 1 day in 2012 and received $90.

Debt amount:
$4600
Payment Type:
Austudy
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
21 October 2016

I received this debt notice a month before signing for my first mortgage. To suggest that debt collectors would be chasing me for this money right before signing could have had disastrous long term ramifications for me.

Debt amount:
$2200
Payment Type:
Newstart Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
No
Date debt issued:
18 August 2016

Extremely stressed, financial disaster

Debt amount:
$13000
Payment Type:
Newstart Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
Yes & I won
Date debt issued:
14 October 2016

The debt was raised due to a redundancy payment that was quite stressful. They basically made me relive to whole scenario and achieved the impossible of making it more stressful. I had payments deducted over the christmas period and was forced to borrow money from family and friends

Debt amount:
$4500
Payment Type:
Family Tax Benefit
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
12 October 2016

I received a letter of debt on my bday which is for FTB CCB and parenting payment. I reported my income correctly as an estimate as stated and the person I spoke to at the time said I was doing it correctly. Received debt letters on 12/10/16 and then another letter on 13/10/16 saying I don't owe anything.

Debt amount:
$85
Payment Type:
Disability Support Pension
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
2 November 2016

I raised this issue first when I ceased study in March2016 last year, according to Centrelink guidelines.

Debt amount:
$12000
Payment Type:
Family Tax Benefit
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
5 October 2016

About to have my electricty cut off may loose my house and struggling to keep my familys bills paid

Debt amount:
$4400
Payment Type:
Parenting Payment
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
12 October 2016

Debt for parenting payment, FTB and CCB totalling $4400 for one financial year. No way I can pay it back and I am a shift worker so my income varied fortnight by fortnight but they have averaged it out which looks like I earnt more than I did

Debt amount:
$751
Payment Type:
Austudy
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
15 November 2016

I know that the debt amount is incorrect and have asked for a review. I had to find my payslips from four years ago to prove that my income was earned when I wasn't receiving Centrelink payments.

Debt amount:
$5500
Payment Type:
Newstart Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
24 November 2016

My stress levels have gone through the roof, nearly crashed my car because I got double vision after being so stressed over having to pay a debt I know I don't have to pay because I know I did the right thing when I declared and being stressed because no one can help you face to face and you have to do all online, what kind of joke is that,

Debt amount:
$1911
Payment Type:
Newstart Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
29 November 2016

It's certainly made me anxious, but mostly I've found it incredibly frustrating trying to chase up the necessary information and provide it in the way Centrelink asks (i.e. the online system which for me has been impossible to use).

Debt amount:
$5600
Payment Type:
Newstart Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
7 December 2016

I have mental health issues that include High Anxiety, High Insomonia, Decreased Comprehension all from an Acquired Brain Injury, Post Concussive Syndrome and Meniers Disease.

Debt amount:
$920
Payment Type:
Family Tax Benefit
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
5 December 2016

Yes, I had daily calls at 8.30 am every morning on my way to work from a different phone number and I would become upset and anxious.

Debt amount:
$1293
Payment Type:
Austudy
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
24 November 2016

My anxiety levels are increasing, due to the complexity of the process and non-accountability of the organisations involved.

Debt amount:
$1040
Payment Type:
Family Tax Benefit
Appealing Debt?:
Yes but I lost
Date debt issued:
5 August 2015

I have gone through a part 9 debt agreement I now didn't get money for my daughter as she has turned 18 and can not get my loan for my pension

Debt amount:
$5000
Payment Type:
Parenting Payment
Appealing Debt?:
Yes but I lost
Date debt issued:
2 February 2011

I worked my arse off. Reported my earnings. Sometimes based on estimate, as centrelink ask for. Would even over estimate at times, just for peace of mind.
I had finished up work to have a baby.
2, nearly 3 years up the track, I've been hit with 3 different apparent debts, that, together, add to a neat 5000.

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