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
June 2019 i received a letter with 3 debts for different years 2015-2016 2016-2017 2017-2018 total amount of 14000
I worked three casual jobs during this time and reported my income on a fortnightly basis. I received a phone call claiming I owed $2400.
Im a single mum of 3, my eldest is 5 and twins 3yrs.. i had all my children in my care until my twins were 4 months old due to false allegations they still showed on records of being in my care 100%.
I appealed at a Centrelink office but they fobbed me off a few times until I insisted. I then appealed the decision which is pointless as it's still just you vs Centrelink but once that is complete you are elligble for AAT and AAT2.
A debt raised by Centrelink can be waived if it can be established that
I have sat on the phone line for over 2 hours, transferred 4-5 times between Child Support & Family Tax only to be given conflicting advice and reduced to tears. I am an educated, 45yr old women with finance/legal background and I felt like I was going mad... I fought the law and I won !
i was working as a Housemaid in hotel/motels, i declared my income every fortnight as required to report.
It's not just Centrelink. I had $3090 taken from my tax refund. I phoned the ATO and they said I had a tax debt. Some years ago my only income was an Australian Postgraduate Award which was not taxable. So I thought I didn't have to lodge returns for that period.
I am receiving threatening phone calls from ARL collection agency, with summons, legal action etc.
I am also in middle of a high risk pregnancy, which means expansive obstetrics appointments every fortnight. For first 3 and a half months, I was attending hospital for fluids every 2 days.
I have always done what asked, reported when needed. I was told the computer never received my tax income for each year 2015-2018.Which I was diligent to let them know, even going into Centrelink with physical paperwork because it wouldn’t upload on their website.
They took my entire tax return no warning no nothing
I was diagnosed with bipolar during this time and have had severe anxiety and lack of sleep over this.
Im currently on compensation for a bad work accident witch im still dealing with with im really struggling with iv had the money already taken from me out of my tax with was 5500 maybe more in interest im struggling with debt an bank loans i dont have any family that helps im struggling with stress iv had a bad up bringing so iv been in jail an
So this year I decide to do my tax on the 6th of August 2019 with out any knowledge or prior information on even know that I had a debt with centerlink
so nothing in the mail, no phone calls, no any form of contact. Until. So I'm happerly waiting on my tax return to come through. Until
For three periods (beginning 2018 to mid 2019), I was receiving YA benefits and applied for a Student Start-up Loan at the start of each semester since I didn't have a job at the time.
The stress and anxiety (which I already suffered from) was extreme. My counselling sessions needed to be doubled. I was already skipping meals to pay rent and power.
I appealed TWICE. Twice they upped the debt.
I have been very stressed and got my first anxiety episode. It was very scary, didn't know what was happening to me
Stress anguish. My son was told he had incurred a debt when he wasn't even registered to receive payments. Centrelink told him that the money must have gone into our (parents) bank account. He paid the bill as he doesn't need the stress.
My husband didn't work for about 3 year and didn't receive any payments from Centrelink. Now he owes money back that was apparently paid to him????
Major stress and can't sleep at night over how to sort this out. We have appleled and haven't heard anything back.
Received a debt in 2017 of over $5000, from 2011-2013! And even though they had my reporting data they still averaged my income out from ATO over the years. (I worked uni holidays on a station and didn’t even get Centrelink payments during holidays).
I have experienced severe financial anxieties. I have not paid for things I needed such as clothes, food and fuel to get to work due to limited funds. I pay a little amount each fortnight just to get by. I have relied on other people to pay my food and bills as I cannot provide for myself.
I am a single mum with no support whatsoever from anyone else. This debt has really made us miss out on basic things
Centrelink contacted me in 2017 about resubmitting my payslips from 2011 to 2013, which I did twice, I was then informed in 2018 that I had this debt to pay which I had contested and wanted it reviewed. Centrelink didn't bother to tell me that I lost and I was contacted by their collection agency that I had to pay this amount.
My anxiety levels have gone through the roof, my depression is back, and the stress has caused physical illness.
On top of that, I wasn't able to enjoy the lead up to my wedding due to dealing with this, and it is putting a lot of strain on a new marriage and our finances.
I received 5 letters of different debts all adding up to $20000 have been fighting it for 4 years now without success only found out this year AFTER not during a 3 month review that I had to go to my bank and print out copys of my bank records from the years I owe debt and bring them in thats a fuckload of paperwork that im hoping the bank still