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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Request this be investigated 5 times, only 2 times repayments were paused. Initial debt was July 2014-June 2016 for $4700, however since beginning of it being investigated this has changed multiple times, both with the amount AND the time period.
The stress of all this debt is not anyone should have to go through. In November 2015 I had lost my job because of my violent ex partner abusing my boss. Start of 2016 I left my ex partner and i took 2 of my 3 kids because I couldn't handle the abuse I was receiving from her.
My debt started back in 2010. I was offered a full time position which meant i was back in the work force, no more struggle days. At the time i was a single mum of 2 girls and there were times where we would live on 2 minute noodles but made do. So when i was offered a full time position i was stoked!
I have been paying $40 a fortnight since 2017 they assured me my wages and tax returns would not be touched because I was in a payment plan (They have never touched it before this year)because of a debt for underestimated income.
They gave me no letter or phone call and took my whole tax return $2800
My partner and I were switching full time roles as parent/student, thus switching payments of Parenting and Austudy. What should have been two simple applications proved otherwise.
Horrific dumb and just a joke. Went on maternity leave on 31 Aug 2010 returned first week of sep 2011 so 1 year unpaid leave.received first payment in Oct 2010 bub was nearly a month old.
My deabt is in appeal and has been for close to 12 months. They have put a hold on debt recovery for 3 months because the appeal still hasn't been processed and told me it can take up 2 years. But they took all my tax return of $1200 even though they have put a stop to recovering the debt.
My husband was out of work for 3 months and while he never received a single payment from centrelink, I was receiving parenting payment to support the 4 of us as I was on unpaid maternity leave.
They say I did not tell them I was in a relationship, it was in the system but not logged. it accrued the debt and now I'm asked to pay $50/fn due to some incompetent Muppets mistake.
The robot debt said I claimed $10,000 less than what I was actually paid. That thought I only claimed half my pay. I realised they had my work place of 4 years under two slightly different names (the second name was missing the PTY Ltd). If a person was reviewing my account, they would have noticed this.
This is a random letter, there isn't even a date on when the debt was accrued. I have had a phone call as well. I have not received any FTB for years. We are not on any type of govt benefit. We are trying to deal with the current drought. This is just stupid!
Tax returns taken
Unsure no notice given just pay up
Once it became close to EOFY, Centrelink decided to me with a bill of $2200 bacause according to them I never reported my earnings properly. I was speaking to a lady on the phone for over a month give my gross amounts for the year 2017. I have verbally give all gross amounts from 2017 - 2019.
I am a bloody mess. I'm a single working mother of 2 girls. Doing the right thing for centrelink. I don't earn much. But I try and get by. I'm going to struggle now. I have since been to the doctors and got on some anti depressants.
I nearly lost all my family tax payment and am suffering financial hardship as I’m only working part time and am too scared to claim a payment because I don’t want any more “over payments”! They make up the rules as the go along! They took my reconciliation payment!
After being hit with the initial letter I was left feeling extremely anxious and hopeless. I have aspergers and it’s extremely hard for me to communicate with people and stand up for myself. So, for me, paying it rather than fighting it was the only option.
I'm without words. I don't know how it happened, I never missed an appointment of purposefully under reported. I was never told during two years of tax returns anything was wrong.
I nearly had a heart attack when I got the letter. Everything went white and I had to sit down. There's a terrible feeling of powerlessness. Luckily I have had the same part time job and can access all my payslips and had the debt reduced to $6000. But I'm angry because it looks like I actually owe this money and I don't.
I woke up on the 1st feb 2019 to find that I nearly had a $7000 debt I nearly die as it say that it back from 2014 to 2015 when I know for a fact that I was not working back then it is horrible to even think that I have a debt. I paid the $60 to find out what it’s all about and they come back with I worked and that I didn’t report probably..
This year I have been investigated twice. The first being a phone call in April where I was placed on the spot to answer several questions regarding exact dates and income from recent employment. I had to supply my rental information and all my payslips for the past year.
I suffer from bad anxiety every day try to figure out how I can pay the 14000 that I never had it's a put me mentally physically mentally emotionally
Very stressed when I recieved a letter saying I owed $6000. They said I was paid Newstart while I was working.
I managed to track down my bank statements and highlighted all my pays to show that Newstart was received in between jobs. They said OK I would hear within 6 weeks that it's fixed.
its frustrating that after 18 months of being reconciled that all of a sudden im now in debt and owe them.
I got told I owed them $4900, was given the so called evidence and it took me nearly 3 months to get the evidence to show them that I only owed them $ 1000. The whole process is so flawed and the people that you talk to know of this.
I suffer anxiety and depression. I am a single mum of two kids with little to no help from fathers. I am currently living on less than 50 a week to feed a family of 3. In July 2019 they contacted to say I owed money and needed to prove a certain amount of income between 2014 and 2015. I did prove this right down to the last cent.