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 was already in a dark place with anxiety so opening this letter sent me off the hook. To make it worse I'm a uni student with a job that can only provide 3 shifts a week. The debt is from 2012-2013, I was in and out of hospital with serious mental healthy issues... how could you have over paid me $5600 and I some how spend it...
This is what happened to me, and I am one of those people who keeps record of all payslips and letters from Centrelink even those over 6 years ago, proof I was honest.
At first I thought the debt letter I received in the mail was a scam, Centrelink didn't have my married name or my current address.
One assessment says I owe money, had it reassessed and recieved letter saying I owe nothing and to do nothing further, but debt still existed on my account. Had to pay it by the 12/1/17 or pay 7% interest. They are now manually assessing it to hopefully get the credits applied that the computer system can't seem to apply to the debt.
At the heart of what they are saying is that I'm a liar, a thief and a cheat. With another review under way, I'm feel like I'm just delaying another argument with them because regardless of what proof I can show them all they have to say is their computer says different.
I have a 2 month old son and a partner who has gastric issues preventing him from working at the moment. We are both 19. It caused fights and almost destroyed my family, my anxiety and depression was horrible, especially since we were unable to contact anyone until January of this year.
Well....where do I start. I meet a man when I was 20 and ended up having a child to him. Now not my shining moment but he was living at a caravan park & I was living with my mother. He moved to qld I stayed in NSW till my child was 3 months old. Saw that rentals were extremely cheaper up here and I could actually make a life up here.
Had temporary work in 2011. When this work finished, I contacted CL as my husband & I were under severe financial pressure. He had been on sick benefits for some time due to a medical condition that they could not identify. I was concerned for the health of my family.
I received the "income reported does not match your tax return" notice in October 2015 regarding youth allowance I'd claimed between September 2011 and October 2013.
The CSA has been using this algorithm for years on unsuspecting non custodial parents... They have sent many to ruin and suicide already.. Now I am happy they are using it on unemployed and they can feel the hopelessness of dealing with these pigs as many at the CSA have been doing for years..
My stress and anxiety is through the roof at the moment and I have no money to my name, because I work a casual job which I might work a whole week then the next week have barely anything on, the debt collectors tried to push the debt onto my partner who has never been involved with Centrelink and we are struggling to keep a roof under our heads
In March of 2016 I dropped units and became a part-time student. I know this effects payments so I changed my study load on the app. I did this before AUSTUDY payments came out. Apparently I did not give them enough notice, I received the payment and thought 'ok well that's nice, I still get money for being part-time'.
Increased anxiety as a single parent caring for two small children on my own. I have debts from my marriage that I am wearing on my own that aren't all mine but ex refuses to pay. Receive very little in child support. I fear that the bank will foreclose my house.
I have 5 children and because if this debt I was unable to get the advance payments that I rely on to buy my kids their presents.
Centrelink falsely believes that I have income other than Austudy. I can only conclude that its belief the result of bad data matching because I have no income other than Centrelink. Since Sep 2016 I have been trying to resolve the matter by writing to Centrelink and delivering the letters to the local office or uploading them.
As a single parent with two children working part time with another government dept. I had reported my earnings fortnightly, though due to payments errors over a three year period. I contacted centrelink post tax corrections in 2007 regarding errors.
I woke up to my phone beeping with a text message saying that I had a letter waiting for me at my.gov.au from Centrelink.
They ruined me and said i had to pay 5 grand in less then a week :(.
having a letter saying I owe over $4500 was a massive shock. I have spoke to centrelink officers a few times now and it hasn't got any clearer and trying to find payslips from four different employers from 5 years ago is also difficult.
Repayment are the same as a tank of fuel. Or food for a week. Shame on Centerlink
After moving to Port Lincoln SA in January 2010 I ended up receiving new start allowance till I found causal work in a local fish factory. Casual being the operative word because I never knew from one day to the next if I had work until a text message came through the night before.
Even though it's obvious from centrelinks own records that the accusation under which the debt stands is wrong and is due to generic financial year end dates on the group certificates, they still persist that i need to provide evidence from employers, of the dates of the commencement and ending of the jobs, not once actually considering pul
I feel like my debt is a small amount in comparison to some others I have heard about, but as a casual retail worker, I don't exactly have a steady income of money. This fact alone has had me in tears on multiple occassions.
So my "debt" has apparently occurred when the information I gave to CENTERLINK when I started employment was "______ hotel" as on my payslips but when I got my group certificate it had "______ Nominees trading as ______ hotel" so they have this as 2 employers...
Back in 2012 I worked for a major Australian employer and was terminated due to illness. It was an extremely traumatic period of my life. Fortunately I was able to receive sickness allowance from Centrelink. This helped me stay afloat while I rehabilitated myself. I believe this is the point of social welfare.
I've had 4 different letters for 4 different amounts. Many hours in the phone, in person meetings, 'alleged' phone calls from appeals team...no never got them. All for an amount they have decided I owe from when I was actually a single parent with no financial support from the father.