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
It's an absolute joke.
The time I have taken out of my full time roll to tackle this, hours spend on hold and the multiple letters I've even sent to get some kind of communication is obscene.
First I heard about it was from a debt collection agency. I was furious and yes it has caused considerable stress. There was no detail showing the alleged over-payment. Just our records show you owe us money. I indicated to Probe Group I was challenging the debt and was referred to Centrelink Appeals who put debt on hold.
Absolutely dismayed. Thier whole purpose is so you can 'move in to full time work' which i did.
Anxiety, stress, attempted suicide, anxiety attacks,
The fact that centre link is trying to make me pay this debt without acknowledging my side of the story or even giving me hard proof that this is really how much i owe has made me very stressed from giving me a spreadsheet of all wrong amounts that i "earned" to then telling me i cant go off that because its not right and wouldn't
Anxiety frustration unable to get same figure for debt twice. Unable to get explanation of debt. Continuously disconnected if able to get through at all. Worsening of mental health more withdrawn. Medication changes. Sleep disruption
I have a debt with center Link n now that I'm to the end of it there figures are wrong original debt was 1688.04 according to my calculations I still owe $101 but when I checked online they're records show that I have paid $1800 with a balance of $106 with $6.54 interest I didn't think I owed the money to begin with but they said
My stress levels went through the roof because I knew that I had done the right thing, and they gave me only 28 days to prove my case.
I’m having a mental breakdown, after over estimating and declaring everything I earned doing my tax every year I can not understand how I’ve accumulated a debt.
I suffer from ptsd and anxiety and depression I As been looking after my elderly mother whom had to go into constant care
I went in several times and was told my file was sorted and everything would be ok
How wrong was I
This has been on going for the last 2 or so years
Anxiety, depressed mood, angry, resentful,confused and powerless. It’s quite distressing to think I may have to use my super to pay for this debt. It feels wrong. I wish I had known this would happen and I would have simply found a full time job and made other arrangements for my child.
Financially it has ruined me, almost at the end of bankruptcy and making ends meet and this happens. I am suffering from depression and now have anxiety. My relationship has become strained.
I was totally stunned when i received it.
I had been on a Widows Pension since 2006, but I'm being paid a Newstart Allowance. I only worked part time. I have been retired since 2013. They said they had overpaid me by $4000 for 2011 to 2012!!
Unbelievable waste of time, money and not to mention that fact that I have been accused of rorting the system. Despite all of this I will fight them all the way.
Working seasonally at winery. Finished April, back on allowance. Union found underpayment, and a $600 gross payment issued in June 2014. Got a new job in Sept 16, no centrelink since. Debt account arrived december 2016.
I've been through this twice now. Both times it was obvious to me where the mistake lay in their algorithms and I was able to explain it. But I was told I had to prove it anyway.
Both debts were 100% waived but after a painstaking wait.
Receiving a debt notice of 6.5k has almost destroyed me. I question if life is worth living, because I don't know how I'm ever suppose to get by and pay this off.
Countless tears, breakdowns, anxiety. I feel as though I have no support, and that the Government will win this.
Highly stressed and suicidal can’t trust the government. The first I was aware off the debt was when I did my tax. I got a email to check my myGov account. Got a online letter from Centrelink saying I owed them money and they were going to take my tax refund.
Received a 7k debt letter for "underreporting" for a period from April 2017- June 2018. I suffer from anxiety and depression and am trying to manage full-time study and part-time work while dealing with this mess.
I have been incurring debts for the last 3 years dating back to 2014. These debts cause me a lot of financial stress. Anxiety and I have developed depression over time due to the chronic stress. It's not only the debt but centrelink,s unrelenting pressure to look for jobs that don't exist.
Massive stress and anxiety throughout this entire thing. I had no income at the time - I was tired of being unemployed, so I went back to uni & didn't have the requirements to claim AUStudy. Then robo-debt came in.
My original debt letter was for approximately $7000. Upon receiving this letter, I felt extremely sick and stressed. Throughout this entire process I have suffered from anxiety and depression. My younger brother received a similar letter and cleared his debt over the phone, explaining to Centrelink the error they had made.
I'm completely distraught, I have been organizing everything to go on a 2 year working holiday in Canada next year for the past few months,
I was completely shocked to receive a phone call announcing that I have to pay back $9,600 from overpayments from 2013-2016 and was told I could only discuss this over the phone so I asked for documentation to be posted and was told yes but of course nothing came so I went to my local office waited for an hour and a half to submit my earnings an
I already suffer from major depression and anxiety ae have suffered a previous trauma and this situation has made me feel like harming myself