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
After spending many hours on the phone trying to get answers and a clear explanation of how I incurred my debt, I finally gave up and accepted the debt.
If I wasn't busy with work and family commitments I would have fought it more.
Called me out of the blue. No letter received.
Say I owe them money for 4.5 years ago.
Told to find payslips but certainly don't still have those from that long ago.
Found bank statements that prove that Newstart payments ended when I started a new job!!
My daughter allegedly incurred a debt during a period she suffered a major physical injury after which she battled suicidal depression for 2 yrs, and could only work for short periods. She then lost her brother to suicide in 2014.
Apparently This debt has come up from issues with parental tax and has ONLY come up now.
I have been fighting this debt for over one year and 2 months.
I don’t have $6000.
I was a single parent due to partner suicide, went back to work to support me and my daughter, no support from partner as I was single, renting, I now can’t sleep, feel sick, worried as I work for a bank and would no way like to have this debt over my head at any stage in my life....
I received a robot call from Centrelink last October telling me I was overpaid and I owed around $2000!
I couldn’t believe it! I was freaking out!
The girl said to me that it’s only $2000?
Really I said well if you feel that way maybe you should pay it!
Spent 6 years at university living dollar to dollar and quite poor to finish and get a mediocre job.
In between paying back staggering amounts of tax and HECS debt I get lumped with this.
Have had this issue placed under review, only to receive no information from Centrelink for 6+ months.
Even contacted them to try and find out what was happening but no one could tell me.
I have only just completed my first year out of university and as a graduate I don't exactly earn a lot, as majority of it either goes to tax or towards my HEC's debt.
This supposed debt dates back to 2011, when I was grieving for the loss of my best friend to suicide.
my debt stemmed from my first and only job. when i got the job i tried to end my relationship with centrelink, but they insisted i had to continue to report my income and attend job services for an undisclosed amount of time
A couple of weeks before the end of financial year I got an angry call from Centrelink telling me i was avoiding them. Turns out they sent me a letter to an old address and when the due date arrived, they called and threatened me.
Was at work today and opened the electronic letter... WTF!!
Caused disruption to my work all day, having to make phone calls to centrelink and previous employers.
Whilst routinely reporting income online, I noticed I had a new notification to update some details.... After updating those details, I randomly continued to scroll down the page. At the bottom of the page I noticed it said I owed $4000!!!! I HAVE NEVER BEEN NOTIFIED ABOUT THIS 'DEBT' IN ANY WAY!!!!!
My DEBT has put a huge financial stress over my head. Money is tight as it is.
barely being able to pay my bills and they keep withdrawing $100 per fortnight from my bank account. I've tried negotiating cheaper repayments as i've still got about $5600 left to pay but they won't lower repayments.
When I received my debt back in November of 2016, I had knots in my stomach and cried and just couldn't believe I had received a letter of this nature, it wasn't until not long after that I realised that so many other individuals would be targeted too.
They raised my debt in my opinion because I told them I was lodging a complaint about Centrelink & the Early Release of Super section of Dept Human Services over their treatment of me while in hospital having a leg amputated with the Ombudsman (I did that).
Very stressed both mentally, emotionally & financially & got very sick .
This debt has been a nightmare for me, due to the debt being from 2012 it was very hard for me to get and provide the required information by the extended due date so Centrelink started forcefully collecting the debt from my fortnightly payment at $60 each payment, this has made it extremely hard to live and has now got me in debt with other com
This debt has far reaching effects, I suffer from severe depression bordering on suicide, I am living with my parents as I can't afford to live anywhere else, I am also concerned that my taxation refund will be taken to part pay the debt.
EVERYONE should appeal! The centrelink office even gave me the form, it's also online.
It's left me not being able to pay for food or a full fortnight's rent.
I'm always scrapping by and still trying to pay it.
Would have been easier to have nothing from them at all.
I had to research all the facts and read the appropriately named SSAct, you should too, no case is the same.
Initial review officer (i requested after calling centrelink debt recovery) called once and left no message so concluded that i owed over 9k for moving from a share house to a home with a parent and not telling them.