I got my first letter just after I moved overseas to study my Masters. It had been years since I had received Youth Allowance so I didn't even have a proxy set up and had to call from overseas. I had to set one up on a visit back to Australia. This apparent debt was from 2011-2012 which I'm not required to have records for anymore, and I don't have records for anymore (not even my bank has them). It has been so stressful and without the support of my mum I think I would have just caved and paid them even though I know I reported my income correctly. They have used the averaging system but I was in casual employment whilst studying and I wasn't even receiving benefits the whole of the time. They are telling me I have to prove that I don't have a debt.
The review has expired more than once and I have had to refer it back to centrelink again. If they call you and you miss the call, they don't even leave a message so that you know to get in contact - it just gets referred back to the debt collectors and getting those letters is so stressful and so unfair.
Basically we are at a stage where they can't prove I have a debt they just think that i might, and I cant prove I don't have a debt I just think that I dont. The information and the records don't exist anymore so we're in stalemate. But I don't see how they can expect me to pay without proving my debt?? I don't believe it would hold up under legal scrutiny but I can't afford to do that. But on principle I don't want to give in.
I'm still trying to deal with this from overseas which is so hard. It brings stress and anxiety constantly.
It is awful. They should be ashamed that they are allowing this to go on. It targets people who are in unstable work and from longer ago than the government's own laws require you to keep records for. The system is flawed but they keep going because its scaring people out of their money. Centrelink is supposed to help people when they need it, but now Im getting punished for relying on services I was told were there to support me. It is completely insupportable and it needs to be stopped. Those who are supporting its continuation should be censured.