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They took my Family Tax Benefit without notice even though I was paying off my Robodebt.

Debt amount: 
Period debt occurred: 
July 2011 to June 2012
Has your case been referred to a collection agency?: 
Payment Type: 
Newstart Allowance
Appealing Debt?: 
Yes but I lost
Tell us about your debt and how has this affected you? e.g. anxiety levels, financial and accommodation stress: 

When I first had a review the debt was reduced from $5,000 to $2,500 but when I kept requesting an explaination of how they calculated that amount they increased it to $3500.
If they had picked up a discrepancy at the time I could have paid it back relatively easily. But now I am the sole carer of my son whose mum died from cancer when he was three. I moved down to Tassie to be close to family but have been unable to get regular paying work. I already suffer from Bipolar, anxiety and depression. This whole exercise nearly pushed me over the edge, so I gave up fighting and have been paying the debt back a small amount each fortnight.

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

I have been treated like a criminal, the onus of proof has been put back on me when I gave no means of proving my innocence. I have moved three times since 2011-2012 so have no idea where my payslips are from that period. The last straw was when I applied to receive my annual Family Tax Benefit for the year in a lump sum to pay my gas and rego bills and be able to buy my son a birthday present. They approved the payment then promptly garnisheed it to pay off my robodebt. I had no notification and when I asked what I was now going to do about the bills the person from Centrelink said go and ask Anglicare to pay them. Well it doesn't work like that and they should know that! By this time I was feeling so anxious I was suicidal and I said " well I may as well throw myself off a bridge" as I have no way to heat my unit, no car to get to any work and no money to buy my son a birthday present! The Centrelink guy said " oh don't be so melodramatic!"
This from a guy who had no idea what my mental health history was and didn't seem to care.