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
Recieved a call stating i had failed to return requested documenta by May 1st and had incurred a debt due to supposedly underreporting employment income for 2012/2013.
After going through huge amounts of stress, anxiety and now depression going through is and trying to track down the information needed to correct their issue from 6 years ago to prove I don't owe them anything!! They have now issued a full bill.
I recently received an employment information statement. My heart sank when I realised that Centrelink were asking for payslips dating back to 2015. I knew that this was the government's formal way of smothering full time students, with more debt.
I received a call from Centrelink in early June 2017 advising they wanted to review my Centrelink payments received in 2012 and 2013.
I have been put through a stressful anxiety-filled experience with the Centrelink debt recovery system.
They have kept changing the amount I owe them from $400 up to $2000.
Unbelievable stress. Had to prove fortnightly income for 7 years ago!!
Online system doesn’t work or accept as a supply teacher I sometimes didn’t earn any money.
Couldn’t obtain info they required without putting in special request from HR to prove my income which as a supply teacher is unsteady.
This debt has been something that has been looming over me for the current year as a result of a small mishandling of the previous year.
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.