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Robo-Debt needs to go!

Debt amount: 
Date debt issued: 
Friday, 4 November 2016
Period debt occurred: 
July 2013 to April 2014
Has your case been referred to a collection agency?: 
Payment Type: 
Newstart Allowance
Appealing Debt?: 
Yes & I won
Tell us about your debt and how has this affected you? e.g. anxiety levels, financial and accommodation stress: 

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.
Started off as a request for more info on the 28th October 2016 - gave them the same info as they should have already had.
They sent me a letter saying I owed them a debt of $370 on the 2nd Nov.
Rang them to figure out why - they had to get someone to call me back. A couple of days later they called back at a terrible time & where talking about earning $900 a fortnight. I didn't understand what they were talking about or what was going on (not knowing the robot-debt's method was to take the ATO yearly figure and average over the 26 fortnights of the year, then compare that figure with what you reported).
They sent me another letter saying I owed them a debt of $1550 on the 4th Nov.
When I rang up again, I was put through to someone who understood what robo-debt was doing, as able to explain to me what was going on and cleared my debt. He was my saviour, in that moment.

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

The government shouldn't have brought in Robo-Debt. I understand their need to stop/find fraud but robo-debt doesn't examine a person's situation - e.g. did they work all year or not? Do they get a regular income per fortnight? If either one is no, then robo-debt isn't appropriate.
It didn't help that when I rang up, nobody seemed to know what was going on & were hostile to me, until the last guy.