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 had trouble finding work and I'm grateful to centrelink for keeping me alive during most of that time.
Received a letter, so I called the number given — was startled at how quickly the phone was picked up; here I was, prepared internally for a 1 hour wait.
Feeling very worried being threatened to have all current payments cut!
I don't have money to pay... an absolutely stressful and false debt
Apparently I owe $1500 from 2011 to 2013.
This is 3rd letter I have received from Clink demanding payment.
Our family was incorrectly overpaid by Centrelink back in 2011, and they have since raised further debts against our family.
Working as a full time teacher, married and with 2 children, we estimate yearly income correctly.
mortified I spent a whole year crying myself to sleep because I thought I was going to jail and I still do
I am trying to study and get by working part time but there taking most of my pay
I was receiving parenting payment partnered before i returned to work after i had my daughter
after 12 weeks it was supposed to automatically end but it didn't due to a "complex coding error"
I was initially shocked and afraid as soon as I received a letter informing me to produce payslips going back to 2010 as there seemed to be a discrepancy between what I reported as earned & what the ATO said my employer reported.
Been ongoing for an entire year now!! Every time I call I speak to someone different, half the conversations I discovered the other day have not even been recorded. I know for a fact I DO NOT owe $8000.
In November 2015 I made a very serious attempt on my life and ended up in hospital for a period of time.
This wasn't the first attempt. It was simply the most serious.
I received a letter saying my income reported in 2015 and 2016 did not match the ATO figures.
I was rather stressed & exhausted, we were moving and I was struggling to also find time to work 2 jobs and look after 3 kids.
This debt has made me so stressed, my financial status isn't good I can never get on top of everything. I'm currently paying $220 a fortnight to pay off my debt. I can't prove any of this as I can't gain access to pay slips.
How in the hell do you try and find records for a 7yr old debt?
As if life isn't stressful enough, we now have to deal with arrogant debt collectors.
We have bills to pay like everybody else but this shouldn't be one of them!
Not to mention our credit rating!
Thanks for nothing Centrelink!
On an emotional level this was a disaster for me.
I was confident that I did not owe centrelink any money and had records to prove it. Getting someone at centrelink to listen to me was an incredibly difficult and time consuming experience.
I already suffer from chronic depression and anxiety.
This has been going of for 2 years and I still am yet to get a direct answer or any help for which i have asked for since the first letter.
Over the past 10 years, every year (all but one!) I seem to have a Centrelink debt show up on my tax return.
The debt has made my life a living hell. I thankfully live with my mum, but nonetheless it has made things incredibly difficult for me, especially since I'm unemployed.
I've been stressed and even contemplated ending my life, but thankfully, I haven't.
I'm suffering from high anxiety, stress, shock, confusion, annoyance, sadness, lonely.
Centrelink have sent my partner multiple letters advising of different amounts owed back to them, the highest one being $41,700, though then they advised that this amount was incorrect and the correct amount was only around $7,000.
My partner and I reported our income accurately and according to the income tests we were entitled to FTB payments.
Toward the end of the financial year, I changed jobs and got paid out 4 weeks annual leave from my previous employer whilst starting work at my new employer.
I am about to go through it again.
Causing enormous stress for me and my family.
Not eating, not sleeping, pouring over paperwork again, constant panic attacks . Chasing payslips from 5 years ago now.
I was always extremely diligent with my reporting and working.
This has to stop now.
I first received my letter on Friday 7th July (yet it was dated 9th November 2016) it was amongst a bulk lot of mail collected & forwarded to me by the new tenants who live at my old address.
I feel I will have a debt but not my fault - a casual teacher on Austudy - due to loss of job.
Got the letter asking me to confirm income... but because I said no I didnt have the bank statement from July 2013 for $50 I have been unable to confirm the rest.
I've had so many issues with Centrelink starting with first applying for YA when starting uni and it took something like 15 weeks for my claim to be processed then denied and then reviewed and found to be in error.