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I’ll keep fighting

Debt amount: 
Date debt issued: 
Thursday, 22 December 2016
Period debt occurred: 
June 2016
Has your case been referred to a collection agency?: 
Payment Type: 
Family Tax Benefit
Appealing Debt?: 
Yes in process
Tell us about your debt and how has this affected you? e.g. anxiety levels, financial and accommodation stress: 

Back in 2016 I was working and studying for my Real Estate Cerficate. I hadn’t receive any payments from Centrelink in a couple years so when I got the letter I was perplex as I had always been truthful with Centrelink. The letter said I owed back almost $20,000!!! How? And it was due on Christmas Eve. That threw our whole life’s into an anxiety tailspin. I wasn’t giving up without a fight though! I had to take time off work to go into Centrelink on a number of occasions over a 2 year period and majority of the time they stuck me on a phone when all I wanted was to talk to a real person. I finally found someone willing to listen and she was helpful in appealing my debt. Centrelink had been taking my tax returns to pay back this magical debt and this woman was able to clear the debt and get my tax released back to me. I hadn’t changed my annual income estimate due to the fact my account with Centrelink would close off not allowing me to fight the debt and this was also instructed by the lady at Centrelink. She said this financial year my tax return would automatically adjust my income estimate and my account would just close off. This did not happen! Instead the other week I receive yet another debt this time for $4,000!!!! Went back to Centrelink, again taking time away from my job to sort out their mistakes, only to be told a different department handled the debt enquires and you cannot go there only contacted by phone. Funnily enough the number they provided me wasn’t on any of the correspondence from Centrelink which I found strange. They obviously don’t want people to challenge these false debts. After hours on the phone my new debt is on hold and under appeal. Let’s see how this goes........

How do you feel about the way the Government has handled this process?: 

These debts are causing so much stress on lower income earners and I’ve even heard of people taking their own lives because they couldn’t see a way out. The government has done nothing to assist the people. They should be investigating why this is happening but instead they sit on their hands and do nothing