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
A few years back I decided I was sufficiently stable to not have to rely on Centrelink anymore.
I (husband) am a commission paid salesman. Because my commissions and, ultimately, my end-of-year total earnings is unknown to me at the beginning of any given financial year, I was advised by the Centrelink staff to give my base wage. Since that is very low in comparison to my actual earnings, I estimated my earnings.
The debt was from June 2011 to October 2012… ridiculous.
My daughter requested for more information about the debt, she call numerous times and done nothing and start draw $95.20 out of my support pension.
Must be a huge mistake, extremely stressful for my family.
We have been just scraping through by the month with the payments this debt will be paid by drawing back on a loan - single income two kids. They both just had their birthdays and we are leading into Christmas. Wish us luck.
I suffer from schizophrenia and was hospitalised in 2014 when this debt overpayment began.
My partner is my only carer and was a temporary resident ineligible for any income payments from centrelink, None.
Major financial stress
I gave Centrelink my income information three times.
Two years later they came back to me and say I owe them $77,000.
They have no record of the info I gave them.
They are calling me a liar to my face and have said I should be happy I am not being prosecuted for fraud.
Issued a few weeks before xmas, with no warning and a demand for $6000 to be repaid before Xmas, I was rendered incapacitated by re-traumatisation and a serious relapse in my health conditions.
I recieved a debt of $1800 and i got the adex sent to me.
Are they creating debts now? I suddenly got an extra $150 in my fortnightly payment along with a letter stating I received it. The letter had no details explaining why. Ive had no changes in circumstances for 2 years. I went to centrelink to find out it was a "glitch in the system".
I too have been victimized by the automated debt recovery scheme, eventually pinned down by the Probe group.
Centrelink initially claimed an illegitimate debt of more than $17,000.
I am a support person for a person who is on the disability support pension. This person has extreme anxiety associated with being on the spectrum, dyslexic and intellectual disability. Now having to deal with a complex situation such as receiving an employment confirmation letter. That is totally incorrect.
I am anti-depressants, & my anxiety levels are skyrocketing because Centrelink aren't listening to me.
I think this is one of those things where you know it's wrong but you end up having to pay anyway because they have you over a barrel.
Like you have no idea how the hell am i meant to pay $22,603 thats a brand new car no one can afford that.
I just dont know what to bout this it makes my anxiety levels through the roof.
Received an E-mail to my private E-mail account from myGov, to notify me that I had a new message available in my inbox. This email notification was sent to me 3 days after the message was generated in my inbox on myGov account... The moment I opened this message and read that they wanted to confirm my income details, my stomach dropped.
I am a single parent of a 4 year old.
Debt collection agency is hassling me late at night and many times a day.
I’m a uni student in my final year of study and I have now been kicked off Centrelink all together!! Have had to move home and look for extra work just to survive.
I'm so stressed and scared and freaking out because I have like no money right now and I asked how to appeal this debt and the lady on the phone who told me about my debt today gave me no real information and said that my debt could increase if I appeal.
Had been told by Centrelink that I had a debt of 1400 approx from back in 2014.
I was told that I had been contacted numerous times throughout this period even though I had not once received a letter or phone call from them until September this year (3 years later) even though my contact details had not changed my entire life.
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).