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 have only received the initial letter, which states "This is not a debt letter"
I had immediate anxiety about this debt, as I was certain of my honesty in my situation, I have raised 3 boys alone and struggled for 7 years, only working permanent for 2 years
While my debt may seem small compared to many others the intial amount I was told that I owed was $2,751.42. I was informed of this via a phone call at 2pm on the day they insisted it had to be paid before being put into the hands of a debt collector. It seems the staff at C#ntrelink are as ill informed as their customers. What a joke.
Was obstructed at every turn by centrelink, refused to answer my letters or supply Debt explanation report, there officers upheld the bogus decision.
When heard by the AAT is was rejected on multiple counts
1/ Centrelink had information in onscreen doc reports debunking the claim.
2/ The length of time 6 to 7 years.
Around the back end of 2015, I started receiving letters from Dunn and Bradstreet.. very vague ones that just said "call us".. some of these letters didn't even have the D&B letterhead on it, they just said "Hi! please call this number regarding a serious issue"..
Lost, did not know how to respond, still lost.
I work in education. The casual contracts never span a full year. So every year from 2011 to 2015 I've had a period were I haven't been employed. During such times time, I claimed Newstart.
This is by far the biggest stress anxiety hole i have ever had.
Trying to appeal this debt has now consumed 45 angry hours of being on hold only to have each day at 5:30pm a dead signal sound.
I tried going directly to centerlink and they tell me they are not dealing with the debt side i have to call.
I recently got a letter saying that they miscalculated my partners earnings and now I have to pay the money back, while I rang them up to arrange for them to take some money each fortnight out I am still shaken and upset about the whole situation, I have Aspergers along with C-PTSD and anxiety and this has caused my anxiety to go through the roo
My debt, to me was obviously wrong.
I had no idea I had been overpaid at all my Centrelink. Last year I owed money to the ATO due to being overpaid- and I happily paid that back. Now I'm handed a debt starting from 7 years ago stating I owe all this money. I always was honest in my income declaration!
Massive amounts of stress, cant afford to buy food as cost of living too high for one income family and we are a very large family.
feeling no way out as im studying to work next year when my 3 yr old starts school.
Huge stress having the 'debt' applied following being in hospital milultiple times for mental health breakdown - I wasn't reporting properly because I was absolutely not capable!
I left my fulltime job in October last year, and whilst searching for new work I started receiving Newstart payments in Dec2016. (Previously hadn't been on centrelink for over 18 years) I did happen to find casual work and began around the same time. (and have been declaring all income)
OMG I'm stressed to the max just trying to get old payslips which 2 of the 4 companies they say I worked for during that time no longer have any records as they legally are allowed to shred them after 5 years.
Centrelink originally refused to supply anything in writing such as a debt explanation report saying they do not manufacture letters they also had differing verbal accounts and would not answer my letters because i did not submit it on the correct forms, how are we expected to know this without any feedback, on my first call to the above listed
They had our taxable income from 2015-2016. They sent us a letter saying that they have worked out from our annual family income that they owe us $4,176.23. They put the money in our nominated account right before Christmas. It did not take long for that money to be spent.
Today they have sent letter saying they over paid $3,800.27.
I'd heard about Robodebt. I'd made jokes with my friends that I'd probably get a debt letter since I'd been a Centrelink recipient, hate this government with a passion, and generally have shitful luck. I'd also stopped opening Centrelink letters as I was happily, finally, no longer a beneficiary.
I have an accumulated debt from a period in which I worked 3 jobs apparently. From 5 years previous.
This year I am completing my honours degree at ______________ University under scholarship. I am neither uneducated or easily unnerved.
I have been fighting this so-called debt since around October last year. Despite constantly asking for details on how this amount was calculated, it took months for someone to give me a detailed explanation, which turned out to mostly be errors on their part.
I got a random telephone call when I was in the middle of shopping. I couldn't understand the person very well and they were trying to get me to remember addresses from years ago to verify my identify so I said i'd have to deal with it later.
So I have received this letter yesterday in my mailbox saying I owe them $10000 for the 2015-16 . I seriously have no clues what is this for . The phone does not go through. I feel so gutted right now . I have a constant headache since last night . Don't know what will happen but in no state i can afford to pay that big amount .
Stress, shame, anger. Financial stress as deducting from my payments over $100 a fortnight.
Caused both financial and study hardship. JSP informed me to study 40 hours per week and work 40 hours per week.