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 am a University Student who also work part-time.
As part of the student loan program i was entitled to a $1050 payment at the start of year and half way through the year to help with student costs etc. I pay this back through the student loan help program through the government when I am earning more money..
I am 61 and have had nothing to do with Centrelink for over 15 years. They were not on my radar. I have been working full-time for many years and am still working 4 days a week. I've always submitted my tax return when I needed to. Today I received a letter from Centrelink saying I owed $8700 - a Non-Lodger Debt from 2001/02 (what???).
I'm 20 and Autistic.
I was on youth allowance from July 2017 to March 2019(but Centrelink says it's November 2018) and I received the book loan for the 4 semesters I was on it.
I switched over to the Disability Support Pension when I found out I was eligible for it.
I’m so stressed out a) I can’t afford to pay it and b) u understand how they think I was over allowed by so much when I was barley receiving the equivalent of minimum wage, while also doing 30 hours or university a week.
I work seven days a week. I simply do not have the time to forfiet income and deal with this. I am doing this so that I actually make a high enough income to contribute to my HECS debt, which gives me a sizeable chunk of tax repayments and will likely take me 10+ years to be clear of.
tax check taken no warning,my dog saved me
I received my letter claiming of overpayments between 11/2014 & 07/2016. I was not on any assistance or received a single payment for an entire 12 months in between these dates of when they are claiming I was over paid.
in 2017 I was sent a letter wanting to confirm my employment dates between the years of 2011-2017. During this period I had worked for three different employees, all on a casual basis, I never worked permanent hours, my earnings always fluctuated.
My story in a nutshell...
Since January 2019, I've been dealing with going through divorce, I was coward punched which landed me in hospital and had me recovering for the best past of 3 months, I've developed anxiety and severe depression and recently found out I have ADHD as well.
June 2019 i received a letter with 3 debts for different years 2015-2016 2016-2017 2017-2018 total amount of 14000
I worked three casual jobs during this time and reported my income on a fortnightly basis. I received a phone call claiming I owed $2400.
Im a single mum of 3, my eldest is 5 and twins 3yrs.. i had all my children in my care until my twins were 4 months old due to false allegations they still showed on records of being in my care 100%.
I appealed at a Centrelink office but they fobbed me off a few times until I insisted. I then appealed the decision which is pointless as it's still just you vs Centrelink but once that is complete you are elligble for AAT and AAT2.
A debt raised by Centrelink can be waived if it can be established that
I have sat on the phone line for over 2 hours, transferred 4-5 times between Child Support & Family Tax only to be given conflicting advice and reduced to tears. I am an educated, 45yr old women with finance/legal background and I felt like I was going mad... I fought the law and I won !
i was working as a Housemaid in hotel/motels, i declared my income every fortnight as required to report.
It's not just Centrelink. I had $3090 taken from my tax refund. I phoned the ATO and they said I had a tax debt. Some years ago my only income was an Australian Postgraduate Award which was not taxable. So I thought I didn't have to lodge returns for that period.
I am receiving threatening phone calls from ARL collection agency, with summons, legal action etc.
I am also in middle of a high risk pregnancy, which means expansive obstetrics appointments every fortnight. For first 3 and a half months, I was attending hospital for fluids every 2 days.
I have always done what asked, reported when needed. I was told the computer never received my tax income for each year 2015-2018.Which I was diligent to let them know, even going into Centrelink with physical paperwork because it wouldn’t upload on their website.
They took my entire tax return no warning no nothing
I was diagnosed with bipolar during this time and have had severe anxiety and lack of sleep over this.
Im currently on compensation for a bad work accident witch im still dealing with with im really struggling with iv had the money already taken from me out of my tax with was 5500 maybe more in interest im struggling with debt an bank loans i dont have any family that helps im struggling with stress iv had a bad up bringing so iv been in jail an
So this year I decide to do my tax on the 6th of August 2019 with out any knowledge or prior information on even know that I had a debt with centerlink
so nothing in the mail, no phone calls, no any form of contact. Until. So I'm happerly waiting on my tax return to come through. Until
For three periods (beginning 2018 to mid 2019), I was receiving YA benefits and applied for a Student Start-up Loan at the start of each semester since I didn't have a job at the time.
The stress and anxiety (which I already suffered from) was extreme. My counselling sessions needed to be doubled. I was already skipping meals to pay rent and power.
I appealed TWICE. Twice they upped the debt.
I have been very stressed and got my first anxiety episode. It was very scary, didn't know what was happening to me