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
I had my daughter in April 2015. Spent 9 months on maternity leave then returned to work. Centrelink advised of this.
I had to report for my payments and did this without issue for a long time however reporting seized and payments were scheduled as per usual.
I am in the process of finalising a thesis, which in itself is very stressful - having to confirm my income, make over 15 phone calls to Centrelink to prove that I didn't owe debt added to my anxiety.
When I first made the the claim for Centrelink payments I completed all the paperwork supplied to me from them.
It has shot my stress levels through the roof.
Have had to go to doctors many times because of this...again!
The debt allegedly occurred over a brief 3 month period when it is alleged I underdeclared my income.
Anxiety high can not sleep and highly stressed
ATO data matching robodebt due to alleged under-declared income.
Investigating officer decided to enter the income as being for a 12 month period despite the income being for a three year period.
This incorrectly concentrated the three years income into a 12 month period and resulted in an exaggerated debt.
So, i was told i had a debt of nearly 10 grand, for a three year period beginning eight years ago.
I was applying for Newstart at the time of discovering this information so i was understandably upset.
During the periods of 2015-2016 I was in a domestic violent relationship with my then partner who controlled all my finances and put me in a lot of debt over the 18 months I was with him.
I contacted centrelink in 2016 about the DVO I had placed against him as well as them providing me with a crisis payment.
This has had the same effect on me as everyone else.
I was originally told I owe over $10,000 before they reduced that to the current total of $3592.87, which I still can't believe to be correct.
I am still studying now and living on a paltry salary.
I was extremely shocked to hear about my debt from two years ago.
I went back through all my document uploads etc on mygov and Centrelink to see if i'd missed letting them know about any changes of circumstances etc back in 2016 that may have lead to mistakes, and me incurring a debt.
$1300 worth of stress whilst in the midsts of study.
Sick feeling of hopelessness that government agencies couldnt have attended to this at the EOFY in question. When tax returns were registered and calculations made with refunds provided. No cross referencing.
finally got off my debt... see previous story, they got it wrong and I got off it.
I watched my wife sob uncontrollably today for the first time since the traumatic birth of our first child. The last time I saw her that upset was when, because of the trauma of labour and an eventual emergency C-section, she was unable to walk or even hold her newborn baby in her arms.
I am a full time carer with BPD and chronic depression.
I am absolutely defeated by the fact that I can't prove this debt is not mine while centrelink will only apply the same flawed methodology to my evidence, as they had so arrived with their irreverent robodebt calculators.
My disability is bi-polar and anxiety disorder.
I have been unable to function and have regressed in my mental health as a result of this debt process.
Just to rehash ...
So far, I have talked to about 10 different CentreStink staff, always asking the same simple question... what is this first number in the calculation? The "old" column (what I reported) reads $0 ... and a "new" column (what CentreStink say I should have reported) reads $250.
an absolute joke I have paid my taxes I haven’t received a payment from Centrelink since 2014 when I was 18 and last year went back to study full time (so will soon owe the govenerment 40k more) and work as much as possible to avoid dealing with them again
What's the point of working if everything you declare is still not correct when a flawed algorithm is used.
For this exact same period I had an online audit with a real person in 2016 and everything was correct. Then they introduce this new system and now have to pay a double dip.
And on the saga goes. I m a carer for my severely disabled adult daughter. + I try and work a few hours, every now and then.
They reckon I owe them several thousand $ I’m angry, frustrated.
The fight goes on. As if I don’t have enough to worry about.
Suddenly I found myself with 2.5k of unjustified debt for periods where I was a full time student. Yet had to repay my allowance.
I am repaying at 10$ a week.
To me it is saving money as I am 100% sure the debt is incorrect just the process of fighting it is so painful... I’ll get round to it eventually
I was slapped with 2 letters within hours of each other correcting amounts on my PAYG statements from 2013/2014 and 2011/2012.
A day later a letter without prior warning they claimed I owed $18,000 from "overpayments" made to me from 2011-2015! It's 2018!
I worked intermittently that financial year due to poor health. I declared every hour that I worked.
Some fortnight's I earned a little, others a decent amount and many fortnight's nothing at all.
I have provided centrelink with all payslips, bank statements, medical certificates and my tax return.