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
The establishing of this debt has been extremely anxiety-provoking and very depressing for me.
I have been "randomly audited" and interviewed for an hour, then asked to provide every voluminous financial detail they requested (in hard copy) - and I did.
on the 23rd of December I received the call from a collection company asking me for 15K and to my horror they wanted it straight away. I was not aware of the money owing or l would have paid it back.
I had to move out of my home, as i could no longer afford the rent.
i took about 2 months before i found a place to live.
i had to stop using my car during this time and i was living off friends couches and eating a non nutritious diet, just to get by.
Annoyed. It was 5 years ago. It was an oversight by Centrelink as I had given them all the info.
I now have to repay a lump sum which is not easy or convenient.
What business would be allowed to do this? "Oh. We made a mistake five years ago. You owe us $X."?
My parents debt. My mother depressed cried shook from anxiety for over a year.
We were told about this debt 10 yrs after they were put on old age pension even though dad lost his hands when he was 40 and for 25 years could not get health care card for heart and other issues.
I had a perpetual block placed on my MyGov account, which no one on the telephone service was authorized to clear (they kept reporting the 'unusual' error report of "classification access status denied" when trying to alter the block).
Quite frankly I wish I had been successful in my suicide attempt years ago.
I never received any letters and then I received a phone call and I was out shopping for food and the girl was rude and asked for the money now all of it, I said that I didn't know what she was talking about and how, why, when.
I had already been to a Psychiatrist over financial stress not long before I received my false debt letter. It has given me a great deal of stress as well as depression. I have nettled making plans to eradicate all other debt that I have, which was already a struggle, and this had made it significantly worse.
we received 3 seperate debt notices totaling $5461.61
this was sent to Dunn and Bradstreet and then the calls and texts came
we have started paying $50 a week which is very hard for a one income family, this stress and harrasment from Dunn & Bradstreet is having an effect on us.
Because I am currently (and was at the time I was issued the letter) on a Newstart allowance, I am living below the poverty line, in community housing (which isn't always healthy) so the instant money issues appear, the stress increases.
I have been disputing this debt ever since it was raised. I provided all the information required to show there was no debt right from the start but to date they simply have not used it. Every time I call they tell me it will be reviewed and it will take three weeks.
Financial stress, frustrated...
The debt notification came via a collection agency text in mid feb. after the letter was sent to my old address.
This has caused me serious concern as i may now have to cancel an expensive holiday and am unable to afford basic necessities.
What a complete & utter waste of mine and centrelink workers time. I answered YES to the initial question asking to confirm if the amount stated by the ATO was correct, and incurred an alleged debt.
Huge, I never even received notice from Centrelink just a letter from a collection agency now I can't even be approved for a credit card so obviously this has affected my credit score which will in turn affect my ability to one day buy a house.
Late last year I received a postal letter saying that I needed to confirm my employment income. I disregarded this because I hadn't claimed a dollar from Centrelink in over 3 years.
Just wanted to let you all know that I appealed my debt and I won.
I am elated.
Mind you, it took 2.5 months of stress and 25 hours of my time digging up time sheets, creating Excel spreadsheets, combing through financial records from more than two years ago.
My debt came in very early in the latest batch that's been in the media. Around October last year I had a notice that I'd been overpaid around $1200. Unlike many who'd been on a disability support pension and found work, I had treatment for my disorder that enabled me to find a very good job, and I had the funds to pay it.
Highly stressed and a constant worry that I am seen as a welfare cheat. Threat of debt collectors and passport cancel in the letter causes me to breathe difficult. I did everything asked of me and hope they can sort this out.
Totally anxious, stressed, I don't have a job but a huge mortgage and too many bills. I am in a bad position and did not need this debt at all.
My husband is on DSP and cannot deal with Centrelink bureaucracy, I teach full time so cannot sit on hold for hrs. It's stressful bc we had info from Centrelink re this and now they just say it was wrong.
I have been all over the place with this debt. Scared, anxious, stressed, angry, relieved.
It has been a process.
The online review took it $794 (after the person at Centrelink took off the $154 debt recovery fee for me).
I was livid, they sent me a letter without any information whether debt was accured, as it covered two financial years.