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Issued recovery notice more than 5 years after financial year - when I no longer keep documents

Debt amount: 
Date debt issued: 
Friday, 13 September 2019
Period debt occurred: 
July 2011 to June 2012
Has your case been referred to a collection agency?: 
Payment Type: 
Appealing Debt?: 
Yes in process
Tell us about your debt and how has this affected you? e.g. anxiety levels, financial and accommodation stress: 

Was issued a recovery notice in November 2017 for Austudy payments in 2011-2012.

After I lodge my tax for that year, I discarded documents older than 5 years (2011-2012). Issued recovery notice a few months later.

Received threatening text messages via a debt recovery company, ARL, I initially ignored it as I assumed it was a scam. I called Centerlink several times during the working hours and was placed on hold for 20mins+. Eventually spoke with someone that confirmed that ARL was recovering debt on behalf of Centerlink. Asked how to dispute debt. Customer service advisor advised to get bank statements and highlight/calculate all payments received in period and email to Centrelink. Payment revised is lower but I dispute the whole amount as I believed I was following the rules and was reporting all part time income in 2011-2012.

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

Issuing recovery notices more than 5 years after the debt is really sneaky - particularly as I found that the government made a special loophole that Centrelink can recover debt in an indefinite time period.

Debt calculation itself was flawed - should have been assessed before sending out threatening letters.

Inconvenient to sit on hold for more than 20 minutes each time I called to ask for more information or to dispute the debt. Information should be readily available as attachments to avoid the annoyingly frustrating wait times on the phone.