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.
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Has given me severe anxiety and depression. No way possible I could owe this amount let alone pay it back. They say one debt of 34000 is from a 6 month period in 2015 where they overpayed me.
Bad credit rating
Unable to obtain any credit/loans etc
After I cancelled my payment they paid me extra money, I was actually entitled to it but they tried to say it was a debt they also tried to pay me money I was not entitled to and refused to stop the payment (even though I was asking them to stop the payment before it happened).
I kept getting phone calls, a number i didn't recognise, 3-4 times a week. When i answered it would be prerecorded message, an American accent telling me I needed to contact some legal firm, when I called the number, i'd get another pre-recorded message.
Centrelink contacted me in 2018 claiming I owed $1950 due to misreporting my income while on Newstart during the 2014/15 financial year. I disputed the debt but lost so had to repay the full amount.
Centrelink has sent me a letter today stating that:
I had been working as a vet nurse for around 7 month (casual work) while still on Newstart (2015) centerlink gives you 1000 points so when you do find work you provide your income amount from paid employment and they deduct some of your payment you get from Newstart.
Over $20,000 debt dating back to 2012. In that time I was working casual, doing courses and also homeless.
I had 2 children to worry about.
All my tax returns where taken from me and any FTB.
I had a breakdown in 2016.
I have lived with stress since the start of all the debts coming in, 9 in total !
I did not actually get a robo debt but they sent me a letter saying I might have been over paid which immidately caused me a huge amount of anxiety as I find them hard to deal with at the best of times. I have anxiety and depression but I knew that I tried by best every fortnight to do the right thing.
The first time I received a demand for payment was in 2017.
I commenced repaying $150 per fortnight in 2017 to repay a debt that I did not and could not be explained.
The threat has made me feel sick
I was driving home from work and they rang me up and told me that I have a day at first
They told me I owe $9000 as I didn’t report my income correctly and I should not have claimed maternity leave and single parent payment. I was also told not to bother appealing as I had no hope of getting anywhere as 100% of cases get rejected. I was told I can not prove my case.
I have 3 kids and $7000 is a lot of money that could have been used to help with hospital stays, food, medication and much more.
I was hit twice by the RoboDebt scheme.
I am a single mum and due to this debt have a record so it's hard to find work now.
I live in a private rental home and do not work so it is very stressful.
I have paid money to it since 2014 and all lump sums in July have gone on it.
In 2014 when I was heavily pregnant with my first child and while my husband was out on a deployment, I have received a 30 thousand dollar debt from centerlink, saying they have over paid me, when I was in my hairdressing career back in 2009/2010.
These debts have affected me mentally, physically.
They have contributed to my levels of anxiety rising I have more frequent episodes with PTSD and Anxiety Depression.
I have had relationship breakdowns. Unwanted thoughts.
I am a single mum of 3 girls.
Have paid $5863( + the interest) back of this debt,
only to be hit with another $3915 + $1818 in August 2019!
Have not received any tax refund back over numerous years, as it goes back towards repaying the Debt
They have taken it all!
My sister, who is a single mother of two young boys received a bill for $20,000 and another for $1,700.
These debts have arisen from 2011 until now. No mention of how the bill got so high.
She was informed one fine related to her youth allowance, and the bigger to her parenting payments.
I found out I had a debt when my tax return was garnished in 2018.
My partner and I had just had our first child, I also moved house (rent more expensive than my last), and I started a new job (paying less than my previous job), suffice to say, we were under a heck of a lot of pressure, both emotionally, physically and financially.
Change of care percentage when I already declared it, then was accused of not declaring it when someone accessed my records. Yes I have vital proof
In October 2019 I opened my centrelink app to update my family income as we just finished our tax return, when I notice a letter on my inbox.
When I opened I went white as a ghost. The letter said I was overpaid by $6000 as I underestimated my income.
My husband and I were devastated as this never happened to us before.
I broke both my legs and was in a wheelchair for months and I work as a chef I had to prove I wasn't working, and told me that I declared that I made $0 that year which is a lie gave me $5500 debt I asked for evidence several time with no success.
I was hit with 3 debts.
Two from way back in 2011-2012, apparent over payment of newstart allowance due to my "incorrect reporting" & another debt from 2015 occuring due to me not declaring my partnership date correctly WHICH I ABSOLUTELY DID!!! Totaling $28,000!!!!
I lost my tax refund without due notice of the debt.
No one is giving me any reasonable response and when I have appealed under info given — so told info supplied was wrong.
Where is this ok? ARO supported decision but did not address my reasons — merely quoted Acts about overpayments.
I received a debt letter in 2016 and have been fighting it ever since.
When I submitted payslips in 2017 I heard nothing back until recently (2019) when I requested a review of the 9k I supposedly owed.
I lost the review and they increased the amount to 11k and took my tax return.