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
The debt was laughable. I was sent a letter asking whether my tax return for a two year period was correct and to do nothing if it was. Of course it was but as per the flawed system it averaged my earnings across the period I was unemployed and in a wheelchair with two broken legs.
First, some good news. I challenged the fictitious debt when it arrived, and had it reduced from ~ $3100 to ~$1300.
Because of bad advice from Centrelink Compliance, it was not reduced to zero as it should have been. I am still pursuing the revocation of the fictitious debt.
I am acting on behalf of my son as his nominee. The difference between reported and ATO was only $1800 yet a debtof $1178 was raised.
Just taken off parenting in December 2016 and on low incomes with my 17 year old still under my roof, payed rent and other supporting my son alone without ever receiving child support, I'm struggling more than ever.
Received this debt in December 2015. This happened for financial years 2012-2013 and 2013-2014. Had to find a papertrail for all the contracts I had.Tried to appeal, gave them all the paperwork, even spreadsheet of when working and not. Payments "apportioned" over the years. Told me to start paying or Debt Collection will come.
I never received the initial review letter as it was sent to an old address (I haven't been on Centrelink payments since Nov. 2013), nor a text message (although I have not changed my mobile number in this time).
Extreme stress/distress whilst already struggling with severe anxiety disorder and depression for several years.
Debt occurred 2005/2006. I didn't receive a letter in the mail as I haven't been with Centrelink for few years, and they did not have my current address.
Centrelink notified my wife and I that we had been overpaid. The sum was $14,500 going back to 2010-2012. We had 38 foster children that we raised over many, many years. When we were notified that we had been over paid we were shocked! We are not rich people.
got no letter, just a text message saying to log on to 'clarify' a question relating to payments by my employer.
i logged on to 'mygov' account, and thought it was a formality as i had recently started a new job and thought it was in connection to that.
i got the message saying that i owed $1500 right before christmas (best christmas gift am i right?) and it has been hanging over me making my depression way worse. every time i think about it i get a knot in my stomach, i do not need to be stressing about this right now, i have enough stuff to worry about as it is.
Their data matching system failed in not recognizing that my one Employer has two names, therefore they are saying that I worked for two different Employers at the time. Yet they both have the same ABN number?! Forcing me to pay back $150 per fortnight on the debt and they keep fobbing me off when I complain about it.
Claimed Carer's payment to care for my dad who experienced an injury. During Christmas break from studies, I worked and only realised I had to tell Centrelink after the busy boxing day sale period. So I incurred a $2000 debt - fair enough I paid it off straight away.
I spent loads of time online, on the phone to Centrelink, and on the phone to various people in the company I worked for back in 2011, chasing pay records. Luckily the company still exists, keeps good records, and were very helpful. Otherwise I'm not sure what I would have done.
I can't even begin to tell you the anxiety of being told you need to find $2K in 14 days, at Christmas time, because you're pretty much a lying scammer. I was completely honest during my three month gap in working in 2015.
I haven't been on Centrelink in 5 years and I got a letter saying I owed them $3800, I rang them and it apparently stemmed from 2011-2012 when I was studying and doing my Childcare traineeship when I wasn't even getting Centrelink!!
I had already reported all my fortnightly income back in 2010, so why did the new data matching system overwrite all that information with an average fortnightly income taken from the ATO? This new system is wasting everyone's time!
I reported my income and my partners and the CSO had to do it manually and when she became confused and it would not process she got another team member and together proceeded to give me a payment I was not entitled to.
Final straw, got a prescription for anti anxiety to help stay calm with dealing with centrelink. Xmas was pretty low.
When I was informed in October 2016 that C'link wanted to review my income, I was not too concerned. I knew that I had correctly reported all my employment income for the period requested and it would just be a formality.
stress levels has gone through the roof , financial stress . I have been unemployed for over two and a half years and on a DSP. when i received the dept , i was shocked . But when i did everything i ask centrelink online . I recived another letter late december i recieved another dept notice $700 more and that is now i am taking action .
When I became a single mother I went onto parenting payment, I would report every fortnight... then one day I couldn't report anymore so I rang up to see why the woman on the other end of the phone obviously had no idea because she said to me.... have you done an annual estimate?? I said yes! And I always overestimate so not to get a debt.
Annoyed n stressed from tax agents and Centrelink staff are not assisting us about the complaint nor referring us to take it further.
So I have seeked leagal advice.
I've finally go the ball rolling to start the appeal process. It's taken a couple of months due to the high stress situation of being homeless. I've taken strength in seeing how many people have been affected and the postive public response.
Has created anxiety and stress as income was reported correctly at the time. Have had contact with Centrelink many times in the last 2 months and still not resolved after supporting documents were supplied and a review being asked for. Am currently on Newstart and having to repay debt out of fortnightly payments until matter resolved.