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Did all the right things, then get a debt with no explaination 5 years later

Debt amount: 
$3500
Date debt issued: 
Friday, 1 February 2019
Period debt occurred: 
June 2014 to July 2016
Has your case been referred to a collection agency?: 
Yes
Payment Type: 
Youth Allowance
Appealing Debt?: 
Yes in process
Tell us about your debt and how has this affected you? e.g. anxiety levels, financial and accommodation stress: 

Having to continue to speak to different people, each as clueless as the next was stressful, and as I felt like I was getting somewhere I would go right back to the start with DHS staff not knowing what to do or how to do something that the person before them assured me I could get. It was very frustrating and stressful and time in my life I could have used to study or live life, that I will never get back.

How do you feel about the way the Government has handled this process?: 

Very unprofessional and unfair. There is a level of procedural fairness the government is accountable to carry-out, and this process violated it. After receiving a phone call telling me I have a debt and how I would like to pay it, it is fair that I want to know how this debt was raised, and how this conclusion was reached. Then the onus of proof was on me to provide evidence that I do not owe the alleged discrepencies, to prove the overpayment doesn't exist. Still with no physical letter detailing why and how I owe money, I was forced to begin repayments, with a threat that I would be charged with fraud against the government and would not be able to leave the country if I didn't. The burden should not be placed on disadvantaged and vulnerable people who require government support - it needs to be on the government that has made their decision to 'save money' using these methods. They are cutting their admin costs and it is showing with the error rate. It is not right and is absolutely ridiculous that they are not held accountable to fix the problems they have caused.