My "debt" occurred within two different time periods as I was searching for work after my degree and between jobs. I was working casually at two different places and entering the information as required each fortnight. Some fortnights I would get nothing paid out and others I would get more. The computer system at the time asked what I had earnt based on hours worked within the time-frame, it did not ask when money entered my bank account. As one of the workplaces no longer exists, one has no record of me being employed over the two week period and the other does not keep payslips that far back, the only 'evidence I had for Centrelink was my bank statements. Unfortunately when I got paid does not correlate to when I earnt the money so, according to Centrelink, I owe them, more than the initial amount after the first review.
How can I prove to them this is not the case without payslips? How is this fair? If they required payslips and when money entered my bank account, that is what they should have asked for initially. I'm mad as hell and will fight this but with the system how it is I am not sure I can win, I'm not sure I even have the ability to calculate the errors.
I received my first letter just before the birth of my first child. Two years later I have two kids and am trying to start a business but have to spend my time fighting a debt rather than writing a business plan, etc. I have claimed very little from Centrelink and have been a working & tax paying member of our society since returning to Australia as an adult. I have paid back my hex debt (one year of study) and have paid more in taxes than I have received. Now I am been accused of being a bludger and fraudulent.
It is totally absurd. First off they spend more tax payer dollars on administration trying to recover these "debts" than they actually recover. My debt dispute has been going for almost two years, through multiple centrelink officers, once to a debt agency and back again, and is currently in a review of a review. I am requesting documentation and will take things further. I can only believe all this will cost more than $1800.
Secondly, I feel somewhat able to work out processes to fight this, I will also not be in dire-straights if I am forced to pay but not everyone is like me, others are struggling to get by and are in far more vulnerable positions. It is unbelievable the government picks on these people.
Thirdly, I am shocked it is even legal for them to require documentation from over 5 year ago, which is a fairly normal amount of time people keep records, let alone require documents and information they did not require at the time. It is like they have moved the goal posts and changed the rules retrospectively, I do not feel that is equitable.
Lastly, this appears to be a political stunt to appeal to voters who think anyone who claims benefits is a fraud or 'bludger'. It is part of the rhetoric based around trying to take down our social services, I believe this as overall it can only by costing the tax payer.