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 took my payslips in and they reduced the debt from $20000 to $16500 but i know i still dont owe that much money to them
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.
I have been dealing with this debt for years, I originally apparently owed over $4500 from Single Parenting Payment, which I tried to fight but with my anxiety and depression and what not, I gave up and agreed to pay a certain amount fortnightly. I finally paid ALL of this off, just before the final payment.
I received this debt out of the blue, 2 years after I am supposed to have incurred it. I am now no longer on a family tax benefit as my son has finished high school. I am actually now on a Neis payment while I try to start my own business.
I was receiving parenting payment at the start of 2016, by the start of 2017 i started working a different shift which meant i could work more and stopped recieving parenting payments.
I used to contract for work and would have spates of work then not. I then went to uni In between and was eligible for Austudy and took a causal job to pay bills.
They called me saying that there is income discrepancy from ATO and my centrelink, however I was 120% sure I've updated my income statement with centrelink, but when I check with them after receiving the letter they said the amount for $0.
I have been on a disability pensions for over 20 years due to a mining injury at work. This injury has left me with chronic pain and depression, so how could I possibly deal with a debt from 8 years ago, and because of a supposed income of an ex-partner. Every fortnight she contacted Centrelink to declare casual earnings.
Going through divorce, lost my father, lost my job, all in last month.. do my tax hoping to use that money to help me until I get new job... Waiting for my tax return to find out they have taken my whole $5800 return!!
Sent me letter without calling or pre letter to allow my evidence. Quit caring in 9/2018 but said i was not caring in period from 1/2018. Have all evidence friends, court, police, 000 call etc but not interested in my evidence that the person i was caring for was in fact living at my address.
I am a single mother with 2 young children aged 4 and 2. I am recieving single parenting payments (reduced because i will not seek child support) and familly tax benefits. I have a very tight budget but i manage to get by. I dont recieve any other income but centrelink i have chosen to be a stay at home mum for my childrens benifit.
Initially in June 2019 on my gov it showed I had an overpayment of $23000, which I rang centrelink about at which time I asked that they provide me with detailed and fortnightly information of how this debt was calculated. They did not provide this.
I initially got the debt at $9100 and when I called, admittedly a little hysterical, I was told that I lied to Centrelink about how much I earned in the 2016/17 financial year.
I remember clearly spending hours on the phone to Centrelink when my wage went up (I went up one day to working 4 days per week).
I called Centrelink to and got transferred 4 times with no assistance or compassion.
Had to explain my story 4 times and by this point I was very distressed and angry.
I called Centrelink to and got transferred 4 times with no assistance or compassion. Had to explain my story 4 times and by this point I was very distressed and angry.
So anxious because I have to pay rent!
I had no units to study from August 2018 to Nov 2019 but I had one to study in Jan 2019. Still had above 75% full time study load.
I called up Centrelink and asked if there was anything I could to to continue payments. They said yes and nothing happened for a year.
When I first received the letter informing me of my debt, I knew there must have been some kind of mistake. I had been on Youth Allowance as a high school and undergrad student, and was always diligent in recording my fortnightly income.
This debt has come at a time where I'm venturing out to start my own business.
Money is tight, stress levels are high and there are so many balls in the air that I have to juggle – this debt is a source of stress, anxiety, and frustration.
1 DEAD 2 DEAD 3 DEAD 4 DEAD - me INCLUDED and due medical I am still here so Centrelink has killed me TWICE now
This debt caused me months of stress and anxiety, months of not sleeping or eating properly, severe suicidal ideations, feeling of complete hopelessness.
I felt like I had done something wrong when I hadn't.
In November of 2018 I received a call alerting me to my massive debt. They told me it was 67 thousand but were doing me a favour by reducing it.. don't see how. I have 4 kids, 3 with disabilities and mental challenges and 1 with severe allergies. I am their main carer.
It has seriously caused me a lot of anxiety and several deeply depressive episodes
This amount was incorrectly raised and i am in the process of being reviewed i spoke with around 8 employees and they said it was being reviewed after i gave my pay slips. dispite it being reviewed i am getting constant calls from debt collectors even though the dep hum serv said they recalled the amount.
I spoke to Human Services late March 2019 and Probe Group, debt amount $800 plus $100. I discussed with the collection agency and filed an appeal which I have not received a response until I received a centre-link letter dated before my call payment of debt amount.