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
Was a very big shock to receive letter notifying debt owed just 3 days before Christmas. With a young daughter this added heaps of unnecessary financial stress and I questioned whether we could even afford to celebrate Christmas at all.
depressed, stressed out financially broke
I can't even survive on the 'normal' rate of Newstart. Now, having 20 a fortnight taken out to cover this supposed debt, it is even more difficult.
This caused my lupus to flare up which means severe chronic pain which is preventing me from doing simple daily tasks like bathing, eating and sleeping, an anxiety attack and several hours of crying, not to mention the migraines caused by sleepless nights and sitting on the phone listening to the god awful hold music that seems to be designed to
I felt physically sick when I opened the letter. I had sleepless nights of worrying about the whole situation. I was stressed and worried for the the 3 months that it took to resolve the issue.
I'm in insecure employment in education, already on a very tight budget and felt I had no choice but to begin making repayments while appealing. Despite multiple phone calls I am yet to fully understand why I have incurred a debt & therefore what evidence is needed to dispute.
Financial stress and unnecessary anxiety surrounding the process of appealing
I'm a long term sufferer of depression and anxiety and being informed i was being investigated made my condition worse. I usually apply for my yearly cash advance at this time of the year to pay my car registration, however, now i have a debt with Centrelink, i am no longer eligible for this loan.
A huge amount of stress, I have had to take sick leave from work because of it. Financially, the debt collectors threatened to recover my wages in full if I didn't pay a large part of the sat up front, so I placed $500 on my credit card upfront, and was forced to set up a payment plan of $140/week.
Im very stressed. My debt is apparently from 2008/09 but i never knew until now and always received my benefit this whole time not knowing. Why did they come up with this now??
Has affected my depression very badly
All of the above. The anxiety I experienced after receiving the debt notices (there have been two) was paralysing, the attitude of the collection agency rude, belittling and unhelpful.
I'm stressed out about challenging the debt, even though I know I'm in the right I expect it to be tedious and drawn out and am loathing the idea of having to go through the run-around because of a stupid careless bureaucratic f***up. I'm also just... angry. Just so damn angry and I'm one of the lucky ones.