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 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 .
This happened to me last year.
Just leading up to Christmas I received a nasty letter stating that I owed around 1200 dollars.
This was a result of the centrelink glitch, same as everyone else on here. Between working roles I was on the dole for about 2-3 months of that year.
The shock of this debt has affected me greatly
I fear I’ll never get on top of it and it will hang over me forever
Beware they are taking the false debt directly out of tax returns now.
It's been like a one-way conversation.
15 months ago I provided all the evidence which if any logical person spend 5 minutes on it will make sense of, they still sent me a letter of debt this April.
Centrelink issued me with a debt of over $12,000 from when I was studying.
I was receiving youth allowance at the time and getting roughly $260 a fortnight.
Over the period I received under $4,000. I was gobsmacked that the debt was 3 times the payment I received.
I just got a call from Centrelink, I had changed my address and they sent the letter to the old address
Anyway I had to confirm who I was when he called me ?
I told him and he said between 2009 and 2010 may have run into 2011 I was overpaid
I knew nothing about this debt until last night. I had to look it up in the app. No one told me I had already paid $1300 off the debt.
I could barely sleep, which is not good considering I have been diagnosed with Bipolar.
I am currently unemployed with mental health issues such anxiety and depression as well as hormonal disorder I am finding it hard to hold down a job.
I suffer from depression and anxiety. I'm also a recovering addict. Not quite sure of exactly yrs but around 2009 to 2012 I was working at that stage of my life I wasn't an addict.
I was recently diagnosed with cervical cancer at 24 years old. I was without work for 6 months and already have the stress of cancer without the stress of having to pay back money
Received the 'debt' letter just yesterday. I'm assuming the initial 'explain yourself' letter was sent to my previous address, because I never got it.
I received notice in August 2017 that I needed to confirm my income from 2010/2012.
They say something payslips not matching and i owe this huge debt.
Financially, mentally and physically exhausted.
Currently i have no stable accommodation and looking for a breath of air where ever and when ever i can.
I have been very anxious about this experience.
Causing grief where it is not due, bringing back anxiety attacks whilst at work.
I'm lucky that the claimed debt amount would not be an issue to pay.
Luckily I was taught by my parents to keep all payslips and documents from a young age so I can easily prove this debt is wrong.
I was on Austudy between late September to mid December of 2014 because I was a full-time student (over 25), with a crappy retail job and on-top of that I was supporting my divorced, PTSD/Depressed Mother which was why I needed the centrelink payments in the first place to help cover expenses like rent, food, electricity, internet etc.