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 initial debt amount was sent just before Christmas, due at the end of December 2016.
Many others received notices at that time.
No ‘human’ consideration was shown in the timing of these demand letters. It was extremely stressful.
I was initially told I owed close to $13,000.
Then the compliance line operator worked out that it was $2,300 - mind you, this was after I produced my payslips and had to chase them up to review them!
email received to my mum as she was dealing with my issues at the time, home detention, and stating i had a 3600 debt, what a joke as i couldn't work and was on home D, and the was subsequently suspended from centrelink because i started WORK again the idiots.
Recieved a letter in the mail requesting payslips from various work I had during 2013-14 from when I was paid Newstart in between jobs.
Extremely stressful as I have not been on Centrelink for 4 years!
I can’t understand how they could figure this out when I report my earnings.
Got told my debt was being put on hold for 3 months whilst being ReAssessed.
I then got text messages from Probe Group which I deregarded as I thought they were a scam.
I initially had no idea about this debt as I had received no communications from Centrelink, even though the lady on the phone assured me they had sent 8 letters in the post (somehow I doubt that).
Whilst in medical school I received Austudy.
Additionally I worked on a casual basis as I needed to be able to pay for books, fuel, bills etc. as well as rent & food.
My income was declared, an exorbitant amount of tax was paid & I finally managed to graduate in December 2014.
On the night before we moved house, the online letter arrived for my daughter.
The timing has added immeasurably to the stress.
As her nominee I am dealing with this insanely confusing and totally unexpected issue.
This debt has stressed me to the point I am struggling to sleep trying to sort it out and I have taken up extra shifts at work to try to get myself in a better financial situation to try to feel secure
Stressed. Was in a frenzy trying to get payslips from Dec 2012- Jan 2013.
I was only on Centrelink for three payments to get me through the Christmas holidays as I work in a career that follows the school terms.
On the first day of a much awaited holiday I received three letters from Centrelink: one notifying me of a $4237 debt, one warning me to pay it, and one notifying me of punitive interest.
After the end of an abusive relationship I had to quit study for mental health reasons and look for work to make up for lost income and the increase in expenses from no longer sharing.
Processing the change from youth allowance to Newstart was a mess and I've ended up on the hook for 6 weeks of pay.
Six months ago I received a letter in the mail advising me that I needed to update my details with the ATO about my employment while recieving youth allowance.
I had applied for youth allowance while studying at university, and recieved payments for about three years while I worked part time.
BEEN CRYING MYSELF TO SLEEP EVERY NIGHT BECAUSE IM STILL STUDYING AND STRESSED. I’VE BEEN WORKING LOTS OF JOBS YES BUT I STILL ATTENDED UNIVERSITY FULL TIME AND PARENTS ARE NOT MEETING THE INCOME FOR ME TO NOT RECEIVE YOUTH ALLOWANCE.
Some weeks I earned under threshold and some weeks I earned over threshold.
Was issued with a debt notice (dated Dec 2016) but did not receive it as my address had changed and I hadn't been on Centrelink for around 2 years (even though my address was up to date with medicare and ATO).
When I eventually received it, it was for 2014-15 FY and around $5750 (including a late fee).
The debt and lack of information had a large impact on my stress levels.
I AM NOT EVEN WITH CENTRELINK ANYMORE.
I got a call last week telling me that I had 12 days to report all my payslips to them otherwise they will use the ATO and that it would most likely result in a debt.
Suffer from depression under financial pressure.
No cent received from Centerlink is worth the debt they claim you owe them come years down the track.
I have both Bipolar and Borderline personality disorder.
I received a letter about 8 months ago saying that the figures that I had reported did not match up with the figures they received from ATO.
The figures were from when I started a new job up until my partner and I moved in together.
What happened was I tried to go onto Austudy for University.
During this time, I was on Newstart.
It took Centerlink months to decide not to pay me Austudy.
At that stage, I cancelled Newstart as I needed to focus on my university studies.
Then in late August, I was shocked to see that I got a debt letter.
Received a notification of approx $3100 debt caused by a discrepancy between my reported income and my PAYG statements provided by the ATO to Centrelink.
Debt started with threatening calls talking about amounts as high as $6000.
After I provided bank statements as payslips were unavailable the debt reduced to $600, and then was revised down to $540.
I have just become a qualified lawyer at the end of 2017 and to hear that I owe a debt of almost $4K has really upset me.