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
What happened was I tried to go onto Austudy for University.
During this time, I was on Newstart.
It took Centerlink months to decide not to pay me Austudy.
At that stage, I cancelled Newstart as I needed to focus on my university studies.
Then in late August, I was shocked to see that I got a debt letter.
Received a notification of approx $3100 debt caused by a discrepancy between my reported income and my PAYG statements provided by the ATO to Centrelink.
Debt started with threatening calls talking about amounts as high as $6000.
After I provided bank statements as payslips were unavailable the debt reduced to $600, and then was revised down to $540.
I have just become a qualified lawyer at the end of 2017 and to hear that I owe a debt of almost $4K has really upset me.
I was shocked when I received email to check myGov inbox, and it said I owe $2,100 from 3 years ago.
I rang them and they said they did not know how that amount was calculated, asked me to upload payslips from that financial year, which I did.
In June 2018 i got a letter in the post from centrelink.
It was 'issued' in early may and had a DUE DATE of 8 June.
My wife received an email telling her to check her My Gov mail inbox. She logged in last night to find a bill for $5319.90
I suffer from ulcerative colitis and one trigger for flare ups is stress.
Needless to say I didn't sleep last night and since finding out i've suffering severe symptoms of my U/C.
I am a single mum and victim of domestic violence.
My husband committed suicide and i am left to take care of two kids by myself.
I work 4 times per week and receive single parent payment from Centrelink.
I have anxiety and depression and I live pay check by pay check.
First came a $4,500 debt.
It's not worth the stress I thought.
Then another $8,000.
And now in the process of claiming a compensation case, they want me to repay everything because I may not have been entitled to it.
I am in my final year of study which means I have to complete 20 weeks of placement without pay, and generally away from home meaning I can’t work my other job either.
First contact, text message, phone call November 2016. I dismissed as a telephone scam.
Contacted DHS in person.
2018 tax return stolen.
Contacted my accountant.
Greated MyGov account, Uploaded payslips, bank statements and a letter to complaints.
I recieved my debt this year right before tax time.
I am being accused of being in a relationship with my children's father when everything I provided them proves otherwise.
It is very stressful, the debt is from so long ago I feel I have no way to prove they are wrong.
The debt collector also wants me to pay it back at such a high amount that I have been unable to pay my other bills.
After being stung for 8 thousand and losing for some reason in AAT, I thought the hell with it. I'll just cop it on the chin, it's less stressful than fighting it.
I recived the letter today and it has frightened the life out of me as im already suffering anxiety stress suisidal thoughts due to my job being at risk and everything around me falling appart health suffering and not feeling like i can cope with day to day life let alone another burden
I was asked for records of my payslips in April 2018 as I was being audited, which I provided to centerlink within 2 days.
The lady I spoke to (I have recorded all names I have spoken to) said she would get back to me within two days.
I did not hear anything and thought it was all finished.
So annoyed. I've wasted days on this rubbish. How dare they accuse me of defrauding. I erred on the side of caution every time I had to report.
I was not aware I had any “debt” until it was garnished from my tax return 5 years later.
In March 2018 I got a letter asking to confirm my employment income from 2015.
I know i always report perfectly. Lucky i have same employer so could get the payslips.
At the time i was pregnant. Had just gone from parent payment as my son turned 8 ( had to move house to cheaper rent already) so was already starving.
I am a young carer under 25 for my mother who is schizophrenic. I work casually in retail.
My income for 15-16 is 12k
My income for 16-17 is 11k
ATO contacted me and asked me to confirm my income and I submitted all my payslips to confirm my annual income stated above.
I'm still studying and working full-time to support myself, and finally get off Centrelink payments, the whole time I was getting them was stressful.
I've been threatened with a debt 3 times over the last 5 years, the first debt apparently occurred when I was 16.
Through FOI got data that didn't match mine including a copy of the C/Ls original ADEX Debt Schedule Report which showed they had me working full time with one employer and concurrently working with two other employers on some occassions and didn't show all reported income for the whole period.
Recently being diagnosed with MS i had to get sickness benfits as a bad flare-up put me out of work for 2 weeks.
Getting put on sickness benefits was a problem as it took six weeks for me to get a payment and i had to borrow money off others to get by during those first two weeks.
I first received a letter over a year ago stating I owed closer to $10,000 which sent me into a state of extreme anxiety even though I know it was preposterous!
I was asked to give individual weekly payslips from multiple past employments which I had to contact myself which gave me further anxiety.
I got the letter asking me to confirm my amounts from 2013/14 and 2014/15 like everyone else .