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 can't even begin to tell you the anxiety of being told you need to find $2K in 14 days, at Christmas time, because you're pretty much a lying scammer. I was completely honest during my three month gap in working in 2015.
I haven't been on Centrelink in 5 years and I got a letter saying I owed them $3800, I rang them and it apparently stemmed from 2011-2012 when I was studying and doing my Childcare traineeship when I wasn't even getting Centrelink!!
I had already reported all my fortnightly income back in 2010, so why did the new data matching system overwrite all that information with an average fortnightly income taken from the ATO? This new system is wasting everyone's time!
I reported my income and my partners and the CSO had to do it manually and when she became confused and it would not process she got another team member and together proceeded to give me a payment I was not entitled to.
Final straw, got a prescription for anti anxiety to help stay calm with dealing with centrelink. Xmas was pretty low.
When I was informed in October 2016 that C'link wanted to review my income, I was not too concerned. I knew that I had correctly reported all my employment income for the period requested and it would just be a formality.
stress levels has gone through the roof , financial stress . I have been unemployed for over two and a half years and on a DSP. when i received the dept , i was shocked . But when i did everything i ask centrelink online . I recived another letter late december i recieved another dept notice $700 more and that is now i am taking action .
When I became a single mother I went onto parenting payment, I would report every fortnight... then one day I couldn't report anymore so I rang up to see why the woman on the other end of the phone obviously had no idea because she said to me.... have you done an annual estimate?? I said yes! And I always overestimate so not to get a debt.
Annoyed n stressed from tax agents and Centrelink staff are not assisting us about the complaint nor referring us to take it further.
So I have seeked leagal advice.
I've finally go the ball rolling to start the appeal process. It's taken a couple of months due to the high stress situation of being homeless. I've taken strength in seeing how many people have been affected and the postive public response.
Has created anxiety and stress as income was reported correctly at the time. Have had contact with Centrelink many times in the last 2 months and still not resolved after supporting documents were supplied and a review being asked for. Am currently on Newstart and having to repay debt out of fortnightly payments until matter resolved.
I was stressed already when I got the letter. I had just lost my job and got that letter and another saying I'd be no longer getting Family Tax Benefit all within a few days.
Battling a $744 debt from Centrelink, they sent the letter to a wrong address that I hadn't lived in for 6 years, so had to start paying the debt immediately without even having it reassessed as I didn't have a chance to.
I returned to uni to study medicine after 10 years of full time work (and tax paying). I claimed Austudy in order to pay rent and eat. My situation was very complex and it took many hours of phone calls, centerlink visits to have my claim approved. I then ensure I reported every bit of income to them in order to avoid any issues like this.
It was a real shock when my mother received a letter stating I owe 1350 and if it wasn't rectified in 14 days it would go to a debt collector. So when I received her phone call I was outraged.
It's all connected to my 2014/15 tax return when I worked two jobs for half the year. I have not lodged my return because I owe money I can't afford ($7K) and don't agree with the return my accountant prepared.
$2,400 alleged debt from two periods in 2014 and 2015. One period i was receiving no centrelink money, the other i had just started work and am fairly certain i had an income bank built up which would explain the entire debt. No one has provided any of this information I would need to check this so I am in limbo.
I am a 28 year old male. When I was 16 years old Centrelink gave me a debt for $7000 for an apparent over-payment. They made the claim that I had intentionally received a higher amount of pay than I was eligible for.
I first recieved a text message from Centrelink at approx 2.30 am, thinking it was a Nigerian scam I posted my thoughts on Facebook. It was not flattering. I got a bit worried after recieving a message telling me to check my Mygov account for mail. After finally giving in, I found that I had a letter of debt approx, 7.1k.
I was already stressed when I got the letter that they were reviewing my records in case I owed them money and I had to verify some info from 6 years ago. How am I supposed to do that? Trying to login to myGov wasted my whole afternoon with no success so I phoned Centrelink. Highly stressed and anxious at this stage.
Got a letter saying I need to confirm my income..so I had to register online to deal with it and that was a major headache after 4 trips to centrelink and numerous phonecalls I finally register online but it was to late and a letter came saying I owe $4700 are you kidding me there's no way I ever got overpaid nearly 5 grand this has caused
Suicidal, once antidepressants and medications from back injury are paid, there's not much more than $5.00 a week left to live was on workcover from 2012
I was shocked to get a text saying I had a new letter from Centrelink. Had to set up myGov to check it out and had to do a compliance check as there was a discrepancy. Did the check and 13 days later I had a $2500 debt that was due in 14 days. I stressed and cried and caused major financial worries. Where was I going to get the money.
Anxiety levels, financial stress.
I am currently appealing my "online generated debt" for the 6th time. The first five appeals have resulted in fluctuating debt totals between $0 and $10200. No two decisions have arrived at the same conclusion.