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.
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I do not even know what words to describe my frustration. I finished University & a new year has started for me. The first thing i received in the letter box is a letter titled "Account payable" stating i owe $5,000+. I repetitively questioned myself how is this possible?
The debt collector called me, and ask to pay the payment immediately.
Me : What debt? I never receive any letter about debts
Collector: originally you own $300 something, but you have paid $260 last year, so you owe...
Me: I never be on any pension or benefit before tho..
This began as is standard. I received an unexpected letter asking me to confirm my income for the 2010-2011 year. I visited a centrelink office to query the letter and was told that if the figure matched my records, I should simply login and confirm it. So I did.
I am a single transgender parent who works 3 jobs and have been clawing my way out of debt this year only for them to drop this on me a week before xmas. This makes me wonder why I even bother.
I was issued not one, but two separate debt letters. The first referred to when I received newstart allowance in 2013/2014.
Centrelink issued a debt for a $4,458, which included a "Recovery Fee" of $261, for alleged under reported income for a period of study in 2010-2011.
I am lucky enough to be in the position that I knew there was absolutely no chance this debt was correct and had contacts who could supply me with my payslips. Hence, it hasn't affected me too much emotionally from that standpoint.
Both people I have spoken to regarding this debt have been forced to admit I have received this debt in error but are powerless to do anything about it, they were forced into admitting it when it is CLEARLY listed in my records as payments stopping around the date my debt starts and then starting again at the end of my debt period, meaning I hav
When the debt notice arrived, I knew it was nonsense. (I hadn't earned 69 000 since 2010!!)
However, I was very affected by it - I could not sleep that night and spent most of the next few days in tears.
The debt that arrived just prior to Christmas was very upsetting, I instantly felt anxious & had trouble sleeping as I worried about it.
I knew I had always been honest when reporting my income, but I felt I was accused of being guilty, even before I had a chance to prove my innocence
Got my centrelink BS sorted out at the end of last week!
I have not relied on Centrelink for a long time but am still a financially struggling student with both anxiety and depression. Christmas time is already very hard for me and before I saw that it was a widespread issue I felt so alone I was contemplating suicide.
Well at first , i received the assessment process letter , i rang them up and advised that the information they had was incorrect , the lady on the phone advised me that this was unusual and would help me complete my review , i had faith that they would review it , but i was sadly mistaken.
My Family Assistance was cut off with no warning in December 2016. There was nothing in the post, and so I checked the myGov website, which said that as I had not responded to Centrelink communications, my matter had been referred to debt collectors.
Have only just got this today but I had lost my job yesterday. I am extremely anxious and will have to draw down on Superannuation to make ends meet. We are also looking after my daughters 18 month old son but we are not able to claim allowance for him because she is a single parent struggling herself.
I feel helpless, I tried appealing because the debt was such a long period. The problem was they wanted payslips to assess how much I really owe them, not all my employers kept my records. So I'm struggling to gather that information.
I knew this debt was false as soon as I saw the dates where they claim that I didn't report my earnings from 7th April 2011 till May 18th 2011. I was made redundant from my job and replaced with people on 457 visas on the 7th April 2011.
Please bear with me, I've made this as brief as humanly possible.
I'm extremely stressed.
Tired of this system, suicide is a common thought.
I have been feeling stressed about the debt because I don't know how I can repay it. I submitted an official proof of full-time enrollment to them and they still say that I need to make repayments even if I have launched an appeal against the debt. I don't know where I'm going to get the money.
Luckily I am pretty familiar with Centrelink processes. First thing anyone still on payments should do is have the repayments reduced to $15 a fortnight. If even that will cause financial stress, they can suspend repayments, but I've read they've been told to resist that.
So my mum got a debt notice because she told them she works casual at christmas for australia post and she told them but somehow shes got this huge debt. she couldnt stop crying and called my sister who is working as the only gp in a country town. so my sister had to take work leave to calm my mum down and my mum thinks shes going to jail.
paralized with depression have been considering suicide since I received this notice. How am I suppose to pay this when already multiple times throughout the year I go to bed hungry because I'm unable to pay for food medication and housing expenses on the allowance I get
Today I received a text saying Centrelink would call me to discuss my payments. I missed the call. Eventually, after 9 attempts to call and (only) 36 minutes on hold, I was able to speak to someone who told me I owe $913.51 for Newstart from 1.1.13 to 17.5.13- 4 years later!
I received the debt notice the same time I was organising my finances for the Xmas period Having a debt in the thousands I realised I would have to make cutbacks where I wouldn't usually and would have to possibly loan money to get me through Christmas.