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 have always kept all my records, receipts, diaries etc all the way back to 2000. I always was honest with Colonel Clink but their computer said "no" They changed the calculations so that I had a debt. Last year I earned a total of $25k because I had some work but mostly Newstart.
Firstly I had a series of 'silent number' calls with a fuzzy message but heard "human services" and to press 1, which then went dead. After two of these I called Centrelink who had no messages on my file and suggested they were hoax calls and to ignore them.
So I got this email saying I owed $22200+ , I'm only 23 . This has destroyed my life . I'll be paying this back forever .
I've had to take a day off work just to get the on the phone to discuss it with me and ended up in tears after the 8th phone call, 8 hours and getting different information each time.
I just heard back from the first reassessment where they have added on another $200.
I was at Uni and receiving aus-study and working part time. I was making around $600ish a week when I was told by centrelink I would have to pay them back over $4,000.
Makes me anxious as i was full time at the time of the loan but i changed my study load later in the month following due to health reasons
Although my debt has been cleared, I wanted to share my experience in the hope that it will help reassure others that this is not only a horrific injustice but definitely a computer system failure that the government and all those involved need to be held accountable for.
Very annoyed and stressful
Stress levels through the roof - about to undergo heart surgery, will likely lose my job and will now be unable to claim anything, can't do my tax return which I was counting on, hardly sleep at night anymore and will most likely get even more sick now as my heart condition is directly stress-related.
I’m in utter shock
How am I supposed to re pay this ? I’m not working
I am a single parent with two children one with special needs / autism which I receive carer payment from
I cannot work as I am his full time carer
Again I’m in shock
Anxiety levels are high
I feel like giving up
I received a letter from Centrelink in 2017 about an apparent discrepancy between my taxable income and reported income for the 14/15 financial year. They asked me to enter my payslip amounts for the entire year for three jobs into their system. Luckily I was able to find a record of all of these.
I received $55,000 compensation for having to have revision surgery to replace a faulty hip implant.
I informed Centrelink when I received the compensation (12th. September 2017).
They now want to reduce our pensions and claim back a total of $1,950.
Years ago when my son was in primary school (~2008) I got my first $12000 debt that I've now repaid although I always reported my income and Centrelink said it was an overpayment.
I was recovering from a bout of clinical depression for which I was receiving treatment when I first received notification of the proposed debt. This was communicated to me over the phone during business hours when I was at work. I quickly became distressed and upset upon being told that I owed over $10,000 to the department of human services.
My anxiety levels due to this debt are crazy I am stressing about it all the time. I was waiting on my tax money so I could pay some bills and centrelink took my whole tax refund to pay off some of my debt!!!!!! They didn't even give me a chance to dispute it.
It frustrated me so bad that im scared to call them every time i call or get an email its another bill and no reason as to why they apporved me for the sickness allowance now i am paying it back also some family payments and partnered i have no letters as to why... i have been of centerlink since jan this year..
Financial stress,living costs,school fees,homelessness. How can we live on $4 a week? Waited 5mnths before i got a payment from centerlink,lie after lie from them stating all was fine,just to be advised that $3000+ was taken for a ftb/parenting payment debt from 2006 to 2007. Takes 2 mnths to even hear back about my appeal.
I felt severely depressed, pillaged and taken advantage of. I feel more sorry for the poor people who were hit with over 10k.
I am a mother of 2 single and had advised child support of my shared percentage of my children this was to download to centrelink automatically centrelink informed me child child support records didn't download to them properly so they took there own information and made me repay $8000 back which left me broke unable to live and nearly home
I was diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety, Also I would be dead before I pay the dept
I had just moved my 3 kids from regional Queensland to Brisbane. Only working sparingly.
Im gutted, as i try to be as honest as i can when dealing with government. They have taken all my tax and FBT this year $3k that would really help. But instead they take it away from a mother of 3 kids.
I’m 26 years old and I got advised of my debt when I first started back working but I could not afford to make repayments as I was supporting my mum paying rent of over $500 per week plus we are behind.
TL;DR - centrelink lost my rental documents, as such robodebt claims my rental assistance was invalid, provide rental documents, find out I UNDERCLAIMED $200, ask for $200 from centrelink, get rejected because claim was OVER 5 YEARS AGO ??? (WHY CAN THEY CHASE ME FOR "DEBT" OVER 5 YEARS AGO)
12 months of fighting Centrelink and the debt was reduced to $2500. They took my tax return 2 years running and reduced payments while the dispute was ongoing.
I had irrefutable proof that they were wrong and still got penalised. What a joke.