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'm currently overseas and received the dreaded email saying I had new mygov messages. I had submitted my payslips to them for 2014-2015 and had hoped that had been enough. In 2015 after I started getting Austudy they accused me of misleading them and made me start to pay it all back ($7k) while I was contesting their decision.
I got my debt whilst studying 2 yr diploma it went for 2 yrs but everyone but a few finished and as its actually 2yrs we got approved to do the rest online or come in to class and study there online which would of been roughly 6 months of work and work placement if that and i would of been graduated they only rung me and said.i jad to get.on ne
I received a letter on MyGov a month ago requiring me to confirm my income for July 2017 to June 2018 - the period I was receiving Youth Allowance while studying and working part time.
I stopped Centrelink over a year ago as I started working . Last month they told me I owed $890 due to wrongful reporting on my behalf which I knew wasn’t true. Had to get payslips from all of 2018 which bought it down to $760 I ignored it for a little bit, and got bombarded with random phone calls from Milton and Graham asking me to pay.
Very depressed and stressed. Because of this supposed debt from 2015/2016 they took my family tax benefit and child care subsidy for this year .. on their version of what o earnt in 2016, they have two different names for the one employer and other discrepancies but I was too scared to Appel and just entered a payment plan.
I feel so much stress and anger regarding this "debt". They claim I owe them $3000 in oce rf payments, AFTER paying back $1300 years ago. AND they make me provide pay slips and info that THEY SHOULD ALREADY HAVE!! I will take this fight to the end.
I was on Youth Allowance due to having to move out of home at a young age in 2013, and pay my own bills while going to High School. I was then told in 2015 that i had to pay back everything i was ever paid by centrelink due to not being enrolled in an educational institution when i was.
Debt has been reducting for the past 4 years now few weeks ago it got rubbed of where i couldnt see on my account now they have taken the rest $1700 that was left from my family tax bemefir supplement with out any explanations and i already have been paying back slowly what i can afford
I was given a $6000 debt for a financial year I ONLY earnt $14000! I appealed, sent all bank statements, tax etc paperwork.. still waited since last year for a result! Last week I get a letter asking for $18900!! I literally shook and cried and vomited all weekend.
About a year ago I also received a Robodebt notice that I owed about $5.5k in total from two financial years, from 2014 to 2016. I had lodged my tax return and received my FTB as a lump sum on both of those years. Four phone calls to Centrelink later, I was told that they had made a coding error and they would sort it out for me.
I received youth allowance alongside studying and part-time work. I finished studying last year and headed out into the workforce, whilst paying my taxes and chipping away at my HECS I received a debt notice. This was incredibly disheartening, I felt incredibly stressed and ultimately misled by a system I once saw as a support.
I got my first letter just after I moved overseas to study my Masters. It had been years since I had received Youth Allowance so I didn't even have a proxy set up and had to call from overseas. I had to set one up on a visit back to Australia.
I'm 22 and have never been employed. I'm not sure how to explain this or convey myself through this but here goes nothing.
I felt very stressed, it affected my everyday life!
I couldn’t think straight, I couldn’t sleep. It affected my work where I have to be alert. I felt like I was a criminal when I did nothing wrong.
During 2014 I became partnered, I already had a toddler and chaotic lifestyle, despite this i notified centrelink when I become pregnant with my second son. I was chronically sick with HG during this pregnancy and made 2 attempts to rectify the wrong payment. This overpayment was ongoing until 2017.
I have made so many complaints about this, and I am seriously considering ending my own life as a result of this, not just because of the debt, but how Centrelink have handed this
Am utterly broken. Two disabled kids whose therapy I already can't afford. I'm immune supressed with bacterial infection in my tooth that could kill me, and I can't afford to get it removed. My car needs repairs.
We filled in paperwork correctly, as a defacto relationship. Centrelink failed to tick the box that said we were in a defacto relationship so were paying my partner single father payments. They admitted our debt was caused by an admin error by Centrelink, yet we still have to pay the money back, because we accepted the money in good faith!
So much frustration and anxiety.
I am lucky that mine was dealt with (mostly) in a short period of time but that is only due to my persistence.
It was keeping me up at night, making me wait around, constantly retelling the same story with no outcome.
I'm a Masters student living in Melbourne only just surviving on the money I earn to buy everything. I received a letter from Centrelink last month saying that I owed $3700 from 2 years ago.
Huge anxiety single parent with two children one with a disability, contacted Local member of parliament was given telephone number of local Manager of Centrelink, very polite, but still said pay your debt or else...
I received a payment that I was not expecting on the 25th Dec from a past job. This payment was reversed as soon as the office reopened (Christmas break). Centrelink payment stopped in January as found new job. I am stressing over having to pay back an imaginary debt. I also don’t know how I am to declare ‘earnings’ over Christmas!
Not sleeping ,,,, anxiety ,,, worrying as haven’t been on Newstart for 3 years !!!!!
I worked in mental health since 2006. I live with Bipolar, PTSD and Dissassociative disorder. In 2011 I had to stop work as I was fighting a 12 month long depressive episode. I was actively suicidal and ended up hospitalised.
I received this debt more than a year after starting my current job after providing payslips on request after a call informing me I had a $400 "provisional debt".