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NotMyDebt Stories

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

Debt amount:
$3500
Payment Type:
Newstart Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
Yes but I lost
Date debt issued:
1 November 2016

I work in a seasonal job, full time but casual work for 9 months then 3 month seasonal winter break.
I was on the road when i got these emails and sms contacts stating that i owed $3500.

Debt amount:
$20000
Payment Type:
Family Tax Benefit
Date debt issued:
3 April 2016

My son was expelled from school and on wait lists for alternatives.
Centrelink system said he was not enrolled in a school so I wasn't eligible.
I was also paying back over 100 per fortnight after a family member previously claimed my carers backdated two years (although I could prove otherwise nobody wanted to know).

Debt amount:
$2155
Payment Type:
Youth Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
12 September 2018

I was notified of the debt after a call in September.
This debt was for my first year of university, but because I worked FT the previous year they had averaged my earnings.
I also worked for a public benevolent institution and receive allowances, so they were also calculating those back to April 2016.

Debt amount:
$3600
Payment Type:
Sickness Benefit
Appealing Debt?:
Yes & I won
Date debt issued:
1 November 2018

I've been on this journey since coming back from Europe last September with a alleged #RoboDebt of initially $3800.00 then reduced to $3600 and ordered to pay, with as you know, NO REASON OR EVIDENCE.

Debt amount:
$2850
Payment Type:
Youth Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
19 September 2018

The process has taken over 6 months i was under the impression it has been resolved and received a letter to say it had been recovered and the debt was due that week.

Now I have to wait another month for it to be appealed.

Debt amount:
$5000
Payment Type:
Newstart Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
2 November 2019

When I received the letter from Centrelink I was asked to report my income for 2011-2013.
I did exactly that and their system informed me that because what I had reported did not match their ATO data, I had to call Centrelink to discuss.

Debt amount:
$18000
Payment Type:
Disability Support Pension
Appealing Debt?:
Yes but I lost
Date debt issued:
1 March 2018

An ARO waited 7 months for me to send them documents to prove I do NOT owe this debt.
They then re-established the debt and started taking $128 out of my pension.

I have Chronic PTSD and having this hanging over my head has been a relentless nightmare.

Debt amount:
$4000
Payment Type:
Youth Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
4 October 2018

5 hours spent on the phone over 10 separate calls with centrelink trying to fix this, 3 visits to centrelink, 3 days unpaid off work trying to resolve.

Been told 3 times by centrelink that it was being reassesssed... for nothing to come except a letter from debt collector saying we had an outstanding debt with centrelink.

Debt amount:
$4000
Payment Type:
Austudy
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
18 December 2018

I was shocked as I made sure I provided accurate records.
I am very stressed and angry.

Debt amount:
$7189
Payment Type:
Newstart Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
16 April 2018

In April 2018 I received a letter from centrelink stating that I owe $7,189.00 plus a 10% recovery fee for an apparent overpayment during 2010 - 2014.

Debt amount:
$1750
Payment Type:
Sickness Benefit
Appealing Debt?:
I don't know how to
Date debt issued:
8 January 2019

They claim I must have worked while getting Sickness Benfits. (I was off because of a ruptured and Septic Apendix.)
Neither the Hospital, Doctors or Work would allow me to work with an open wound in Stomach!

Debt amount:
$760
Payment Type:
Austudy
Appealing Debt?:
Yes & I won
Date debt issued:
8 September 2017

It was extremely stressful and they automatically took money out of my fortnightly payment twice with no warning.
I spent hours upon hours chasing the debt up.

Debt amount:
$40000
Payment Type:
Parenting Payment
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
1 February 2018

Loss of sleep, loss of appetite and memory mental capacity due to stress.

Depression!!! Thoughts of, how do I get out of this when even the proof is not good enough!

Debt amount:
$3000
Payment Type:
Newstart Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
Yes & I won
Date debt issued:
5 October 2016

I received a letter from centrelink asking me to confirm that I had earned $30,000 for the year.
I had earned that money in 9 of the 12 months of the year, requiring Newstart support for the 3 months I was unemployed.

Debt amount:
$2416
Payment Type:
Newstart Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
30 September 2016

The debt was the result of my income (from sporadic casual work) being averaged out over the entire year.
Even after I provided proof of this, I still have the debt and am currently having my Austudy payments garnished for it.

Debt amount:
$1303
Payment Type:
Newstart Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
1 June 2018

I actually laughed when it first came.
It was around the time of the half billion dollar grant to an organisation that didn't ask for it and a time when politicians were under all sorts of scrutiny for the dodgy use of taxpayers' money.

Debt amount:
$2460
Payment Type:
Newstart Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
Yes & I won
Date debt issued:
1 January 2018

Due to incorrect address recorded, did not even know this occured.
ATO garnished my tax return to pay this false "debt".

Took approx 3 months to get it back.
Had to provide employment records due the entire year as well as bank statements and statements from the employment agencies.

Debt amount:
$10000
Payment Type:
Youth Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
Yes but I lost
Date debt issued:
2 March 2015

I have to repay part of my payment to Centrelink every fortnight because they won’t let me appeal it further.
I also now live alone so the financial stress is greater.

Debt amount:
$9069
Payment Type:
Youth Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
21 November 2018

My parents handed me a letter in November 2018 they had received at their home that stated Centrelink had unsuccessfully tried to contact me at my own home address to have me re-report my income for a 12 month period from 4 years ago.

Debt amount:
$5400
Payment Type:
Parenting Payment
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
3 November 2018

To breaking point. Constant stress day and night. Concern about how we can afford to live

Debt amount:
$9039
Payment Type:
Newstart Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
8 February 2019

I received an initial letter requesting employment confirmation back in 2015.
I attempted to fill out the online forms and dates for the last three years and of course it was all wrong.

Debt amount:
$909
Payment Type:
Newstart Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
2 February 2019

I was shocked when I received this and felt sick, this has caused me a lot of anxiety and frustration at having to put a lot of effort to prove that I did the right thing.

Debt amount:
$5676
Payment Type:
Austudy
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
9 February 2019

This has been a truly awful experience.
I've had multiple Centrelink customer service operators hang up on me when trying to request a review or ask for a receipt number.
It has caused me great anxiety and has given me depression for weeks now.

Debt amount:
$3777
Payment Type:
Newstart Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
I don't know how to
Date debt issued:
14 December 2016

Anxiety through the roof and don’t have the help to fight it

Debt amount:
$4200
Payment Type:
Carer Payment
Appealing Debt?:
Unknown
Date debt issued:
16 December 2016

I got a bill in Dec.
I did try to communicate with varying Centrelink departments and when the phone did ring through and was answered I was only ever told that I needed to prove I did not owe any money.

Was 24hr carer for my father who had MND. Apparently I was working too.
Dear Centrelink. Absolutely no idea.

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