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
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.
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.