We are collecting stories on the site because we think it's important to have a way to people to add their voice to this issue by sharing their story. It's puts a human voice to the issues with using technology and automating systems and providing a blanket solution without providing staff and people that can right wrongs and help people when there is an error.
Please share your story with us if you have a Centrelink debt story that you believe has been issued in error or due to a fault in the system.
As frustrating as it is, persist with the appeals process, and know others are behind you.
Stories are 100% anonymous
I have always done what asked, reported when needed. I was told the computer never received my tax income for each year 2015-2018.Which I was diligent to let them know, even going into Centrelink with physical paperwork because it wouldn’t upload on their website.
They took my entire tax return no warning no nothing
I was diagnosed with bipolar during this time and have had severe anxiety and lack of sleep over this.
Im currently on compensation for a bad work accident witch im still dealing with with im really struggling with iv had the money already taken from me out of my tax with was 5500 maybe more in interest im struggling with debt an bank loans i dont have any family that helps im struggling with stress iv had a bad up bringing so iv been in jail an
So this year I decide to do my tax on the 6th of August 2019 with out any knowledge or prior information on even know that I had a debt with centerlink
so nothing in the mail, no phone calls, no any form of contact. Until. So I'm happerly waiting on my tax return to come through. Until
For three periods (beginning 2018 to mid 2019), I was receiving YA benefits and applied for a Student Start-up Loan at the start of each semester since I didn't have a job at the time.
The stress and anxiety (which I already suffered from) was extreme. My counselling sessions needed to be doubled. I was already skipping meals to pay rent and power.
I appealed TWICE. Twice they upped the debt.
I have been very stressed and got my first anxiety episode. It was very scary, didn't know what was happening to me
Stress anguish. My son was told he had incurred a debt when he wasn't even registered to receive payments. Centrelink told him that the money must have gone into our (parents) bank account. He paid the bill as he doesn't need the stress.
My husband didn't work for about 3 year and didn't receive any payments from Centrelink. Now he owes money back that was apparently paid to him????
Major stress and can't sleep at night over how to sort this out. We have appleled and haven't heard anything back.
Received a debt in 2017 of over $5000, from 2011-2013! And even though they had my reporting data they still averaged my income out from ATO over the years. (I worked uni holidays on a station and didn’t even get Centrelink payments during holidays).
I have experienced severe financial anxieties. I have not paid for things I needed such as clothes, food and fuel to get to work due to limited funds. I pay a little amount each fortnight just to get by. I have relied on other people to pay my food and bills as I cannot provide for myself.
I am a single mum with no support whatsoever from anyone else. This debt has really made us miss out on basic things
Centrelink contacted me in 2017 about resubmitting my payslips from 2011 to 2013, which I did twice, I was then informed in 2018 that I had this debt to pay which I had contested and wanted it reviewed. Centrelink didn't bother to tell me that I lost and I was contacted by their collection agency that I had to pay this amount.
My anxiety levels have gone through the roof, my depression is back, and the stress has caused physical illness.
On top of that, I wasn't able to enjoy the lead up to my wedding due to dealing with this, and it is putting a lot of strain on a new marriage and our finances.
I received 5 letters of different debts all adding up to $20000 have been fighting it for 4 years now without success only found out this year AFTER not during a 3 month review that I had to go to my bank and print out copys of my bank records from the years I owe debt and bring them in thats a fuckload of paperwork that im hoping the bank still
My story is alike many others on this site. The debts have been raised againat me for overpayment more than 15 years ago. I visited the office and declared my wages etc and declared my change in circumstances and Domestic Violence.
I apparently owed $2??? But yet they have taken my whole tax check of $4235 without notice also part or the debt was Centerlink saying I only paid $240 per fortnight rent when I sent them the lease agreement and informing them I have paid $240 per week for the last 2 + years at the same address and through a rental agency !!
Was contacted in Sep 2017 to provide payslips and confirm income. Thankfully I had email payslips and confirmed it.
At the time I received notice of this debt I was having chemotherapy. I was not on any payment whatsoever as I living off my savings and the few pays I was owed from my employer. I didn't actually apply for any type of Centrelink payment until September 2016 so how could I have a debt.
This has got to be the most stress I have ever been under. I work seasonally and make sure I save enough money so I only have to be on Newstart for a few months until I start work again. Usually, by the time Centrelink processes my application I only receive a few payments.
It has caused mental health and stress levels to sky rocket, unstable work and life balance as an outcome, endless time and money costing me to chase records from my old closed bank accounts and pay to get statements printed out from old archives. Very unprofessional and very incompetent of the Australian government.
I was issued a $4000 debt because of my husband's payslips, (which were all declared, but Centrelink always claims they are not years later) for a payment I never received. I have also had my FTB taken at tax time this year to pay the debt.