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 was seeing a counsellor for anxiety and stress before i got the letter ~ its why I never responded.
During the time frame they say the debt was accumulated, I was not required to report my income. This was while I was a at university.
I recieved a letter stating that I did not have to report to recieve youth allowance and I received payments without having to declare anything.
I did some part time work during the financial year of 2011/2012 (Aug-Dec 2011 then March 2012).
They say my reported earnings are different to what they have and what the ATO have.
-I am scared that it's never going to end. I am just so sick and tired of dealing with it and not getting anywhere.
-I need to stay strong and hang in there but it is so hard.
I am disabled, one of the injured workers of NSW with 80% of my weekly income... pay my taxes and atill centrelink claims I have a debt...
I was fortunate enough to be 'caught' in the 'new and improved' robo-debt dragnet, implemented in response to the scathing senate enquiry into Centrelink's implementation of a no-oversight policy of chasing ambit debts (whilst a government threatened jail terms for those who had received more than their allowance).
They provided no evidence of any debt (from over 4 years ago).
I was freelancing at the time and frequently had long periods when I was unpaid, and relied on Newstart completely.
They knew this at the time.
When I turned 25, I developed quite bad hip pain. It made working difficult due to the pain, so I had to drop my hours and I was on pain killers daily. I went to Centrelink to help supplement my income as I was on an extensive waiting list for medical treatment/surgery but couldn't get disability, so was put on Newstart.
First off I was unable to login to the stupid MyGov, as I haven't used it in nearly five years (since I became full time and stopped receiving Centrelink payments).
I went into a Centrelink office and was told they couldn't assist as it was debt related - they even refused to help me access MyGov.
A letter dated 8 September was added to my MyGov inbox 10 September, to which I was alerted 14 September. This should give you an idea how brilliantly the situation is being handled. I was given 28 days (from the date on the letter) to respond, which as you can see is 22 days from finding out I even had something to which to respond!
Was reporting my earnings to my job provider with pay slips now im stuck with a huge amount.
Have paid some off but feel terrified and scared
Anxiety. Totally stressed about the debt. Can't believe this is happening.
High stress. Bad moods. poor work performance .
Feeling like screaming but nobody hears.
anger at government.
Utter compassion for other affected worse than myself Especially children.
I had some financial issues in the late 2000's that resulted from me losing my job when the company I worked for went into liquidation.
It became difficult to find work and so I decided after multiple dead end jobs to go to university.
My stress levels have been through the roof.
I have lost count of the sleepless nights I have suffered since this whole farce began and whilst I am 100% convinced I have done nothing wrong I cant stop worrying about it.
High anxiety levels before work couldn't focus felt physically sick
It has given me countless sleepless nights an at one stage I contemplated suicide.
We were not notified by letter, only on the MyGov website which we hadn't accessed for several months, and forgotten the login and password.
My case is to prove my innocence against a perceived debt/recovery that HAS now been found 7 years later due to an INEFFICIENT SOCIAL SECURITY PAYMENT SYSTEM used by Centrelink
I see this as NEGLIGENCE AND/OR DEFECTIVE ADMINISTRATION on Centrelinks behalf.
Shocking situation this was a payment that I was recving for caring for my dementia suffering 90 year old mother.
Who had since passed away.
I got hit with Robodebt recently requiring me to detail *exactly* all my income from 2013.
I ended up with a bill for $154.52 which I paid because I couldn't deal with the stress of objecting.
(I cannot imagine how people deal with the ridiculous debts raised!)
Bloody furiously angry and fired up for a fight. I'm way too angry to be depressed about this.
The letter sent to me via my.gov.au with a confirmation code advised me to check the payment status as I maybe overpaid for the time I was provided with the New Start Allowance.
It affected on my trust to the Centrelink computer system and also the Taxation Office.
I have not been on any Centrelink payments for 5 years. They are asking me for money I earned on student income!
As a trained lawyer I know what my rights are to dispute this but I am stressed how they won't deal in writing and constantly try to put the onus on me (to not be a liar).
I had trouble finding work and I'm grateful to centrelink for keeping me alive during most of that time.