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Tales of Centrelink debt collection woe in central Victoria

13 January 2017
Bendigo Advertiser

When a Bendigo aged care facility decided to change its name, a simple re-brand was probably the only thing on the board’s mind.
But the decision – inadvertently – set in motion a series of events that left one of its former employees owing $2558 to Centrelink.
At least that’s what Rob K and his accountant have since discovered.
He was one of the tens of thousands of Australians to receive a Centrelink debt recovery letter in the second half of 2016 as part of an automated nationwide audit.

The screenshots that show why Centrelink is broken

12 January 2017

The 33-year-old dad from Adelaide received a letter telling him his family tax benefits would be cut if he did not update his details within two weeks. But his repeated efforts to speak to a human between January 5 and 8 all failed.
He wasn’t put on hold, or offered a callback service. The line is supposed to be open Monday to Friday from 8am to 8pm. When he visited a branch, he was told to use the phone or website, the latter of which he has been unable to do.

This Man Got A Centrelink Debt For A Time He Wasn't Even On Centrelink

6 January 2017
Huffington Post

Brett, from Sydney, was told by Centrelink on Thursday that he'd been overpaid and that he owed them $2360.06. They cited two periods in the past, one in 2013 and another from mid-2014 to mid-2015, when they claim he'd been working and therefore not entitled to benefits.
The problem is, though, the 2013 period was before he'd ever even applied for Centrelink payments.

Centrelink is using debt collectors like never before, says Legal Aid

6 January 2017
The Courier

Centrelink is using debt collectors like never before and making snap decisions based on “limited information” since the introduction of a new automated debt recovery system, Victoria Legal Aid has said.
Collectors have been used by the government agency before but never based on such an “inaccurate and blunt” system, Civil Justice, Access and Equity executive director Dan Nicholson said.


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