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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Well considering I was given a total and permanent disability for PTSD and Anxiety after 13 years of policing service but I chose to get more counselling and get my crap together, then actually return to work because I didn't want to be on a pension for 25 years. I feel pretty upset about it and the anxiety has come back fairly strong.
Thankfully i didn't even know about it until post-christmas since i was only contacted via email despite centrelink having my posting address and both my landline and mobile numbers. So from the get-go i'm already past my due date to submit any documentation to counter the claim.
received prior to xmas, i work casually only, stuffed up all xmas plans,holidays, children,etc, suggested i pay minimum $ per week bk to c/l by solicitor, so far payed $40.00 only to slow debt collector
Waste of time
I got this letter saying that I owe Centerlink money because they overpaid me for the above period. I was receiving Austudy for 12 months while finishing my honours degree and I told Centerlink that would be working when I initially filled out the online form.
The original letter asking me to confirm my income for the 2010/11 tax year was sent to my old address. I only received that letter because I happened to go to that address for some classes at the end of October.
I'm 19 and I live out of home. I attend full time university and have a casual job to help me get by, along with receiving Youth Allowance. Before Christmas in 2016 I was required to confirm my employment income from the 7th of November 2014, until the 3rd of July 2015. A bit crazy right?
Further to my previous story. Called to negotiate a lower payment to my debt repayments.
They didn't update my records and they are still trying to make me pay out of my fortnightly work income as well as my rent assistance.
Apparently I was reporting wrong, which I still don't get. I also resigned from my job end of April 2012 but they wanted the missing payslips to end of June. No amount of explaining to them that they didnt exist because I was not working helped. So they added on what I would have earnt and made it my debt. I still do not understand it.
5 calls in one day debt collection agencies wanting the debt paid and I sill have no invoice for any debt , and letter saying they have removed $80 a week , removed from my Account they cancelled my DSP , because of my debt ,
This has caused me an enormous amount of stress because I am already struggling to make ends meet. This debt was six years ago. I was reporting my earnings fortnightly and was always on time and honest with the amounts I earned.
This whole affair has been very stressful. I am currently a disability pensioner and this ongoing saga has meant a great deal of lost sleep and has been detrimental to my health.
It's always stressful getting a letter from centrelink because it's never good. When I opened the letter saying that I had to pay back over $300 (which is small compare to some) my heart sunk.
After a career change and 10 months I full time study in a new professional field supported by Austudy I spent 3 months working a casual job 60+ hours a week before moving to take full time employment in my new field.
Centrelink took my annual income for the 2011-12 financial year, divided it by 26 and said 'our records show that this was your fortnightly income for the year, here's what you owe, prove us wrong'. This is all the new data-matching system seems to do. Innovative? No. Revenue raising? Yes... well, maybe (more on this below).
Due to divorce I decided to study nursing, and qualified on age pension. I got a job starting as casual 2 shifts a week and made myself indispensable. Obviously the amount I earned each fortnight varied greatly due to hours worked and penalty rates. Work in its wisdom paid the last fortnight in June 2010 a day late on the 1st July 2010 i.e.
As I had broke my leg a few weeks prior and had time of work being a casual working full time hours I was shocked considering only a few months earlier I tought and won a mat leave debt as I tried 3 times prior to return to work to tel them and the over paid me.. it would have put me in financial hardship to pay the debt then..
Despite multiple mental health disabilities and an autistic spectrum disorder I tried reentering the workforce. I obtained two qualifications and found work teaching other people with disabilities. I was, for most of that time, working three part time casual teaching jobs.
Lets be clear on something, I am not someone who has spent more than 3 months on Centrelink payments.
I have only accessed assistance thrice since 2010 due to medical issues.
I was sent a debt collection notice for $1300 approx. I knew on receiving this that there was a stuff up by Centrelink.
For the past several years I have been under major financial stress. To the point I was very close to declaring bankruptcy.
Initially the letter I received wanted me to confirm my income for the period jan-jun 30 2014 as tax record did not match my declared income in that financial year. I made an error as I could not work out from the very limited options online as to how to give my somewhat complicated earnings.
Was given the debt, couldn't pay our rent anymore. Had to move my family around for six months until we found a house we could afford. I reported all my income I made from 3 casual jobs, even when I wasn't actually given the money by some slack bosses, I still reported and lost out twice.
3 years ago I had been working casually part-time when I needed to stop because of a back injury. I completed all the necessary Centrelink documentation to receive Newstart allowance under a medical exemption. I was not granted this allowance until I could prove via Separation Certificate that I was no longer working and thus had no income.
I went onto newstart snd austudy when i commrnced fulltme studies in feb 2015.
Getting the letter right before Christmas and going overseas was incredibly difficult. Then had to try and talk to someone at Centrelink about what to do and chase up payslips from employers from over 6 years ago. Lots of extra work and stress. Still waiting for a resolution.