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
I nearly had a heart attack when I got the letter. Everything went white and I had to sit down. There's a terrible feeling of powerlessness. Luckily I have had the same part time job and can access all my payslips and had the debt reduced to $6000. But I'm angry because it looks like I actually owe this money and I don't.
I woke up on the 1st feb 2019 to find that I nearly had a $7000 debt I nearly die as it say that it back from 2014 to 2015 when I know for a fact that I was not working back then it is horrible to even think that I have a debt. I paid the $60 to find out what it’s all about and they come back with I worked and that I didn’t report probably..
This year I have been investigated twice. The first being a phone call in April where I was placed on the spot to answer several questions regarding exact dates and income from recent employment. I had to supply my rental information and all my payslips for the past year.
I suffer from bad anxiety every day try to figure out how I can pay the 14000 that I never had it's a put me mentally physically mentally emotionally
Very stressed when I recieved a letter saying I owed $6000. They said I was paid Newstart while I was working.
I managed to track down my bank statements and highlighted all my pays to show that Newstart was received in between jobs. They said OK I would hear within 6 weeks that it's fixed.
its frustrating that after 18 months of being reconciled that all of a sudden im now in debt and owe them.
I got told I owed them $4900, was given the so called evidence and it took me nearly 3 months to get the evidence to show them that I only owed them $ 1000. The whole process is so flawed and the people that you talk to know of this.
I suffer anxiety and depression. I am a single mum of two kids with little to no help from fathers. I am currently living on less than 50 a week to feed a family of 3. In July 2019 they contacted to say I owed money and needed to prove a certain amount of income between 2014 and 2015. I did prove this right down to the last cent.
I was told out of the blue I owe $9000.00 dollars when I argued the point and asked for proof I was sent huge envelopes of payments from them which was confusing I questioned again and was told they go off fortnightly payments and not was taxed and earnt for the year.
I had employment terminated in 2016 and had to go on Newstart allowance. Did not find work and decided to pursue further education so applied for Austudy. Was approved for Austudy, was doing great in my degree and then informed of a debt in April 2018.
I received notice of this debt one day after my oldest daughters 16th, my heart just dropped. I look at the dates and it’s basically when I became a single parent. I don’t understand how I got a debt when I report fortnightly and at tax return time don’t Centrelink and the ato cross reference each other?
I was studying at the time and I was very anxious about the claim and went to legal aid for the first time in my life. I couldn't understand that they gave me no evidence of how/when they had overpaid or claimed I underreported. I had to collect all my payslips from 4 different employers for a two year period over 10 years ago.
I have recently been forced to stop work out of the blue and been admitted to the ICU due to respiratory failure and just received a double lung transplant. I was stuck in the hospital trying to work out why I owe this debt when I always reported my income correctly.
Two years since I was on any Centrelink benefit I get a letter telling me that I have not responded to any correspondence around income reporting and I owe a debt of a couple of thousand dollars. Almost three years later I am still battling with the Centrelink robodebt scheme around whether or not this is actually owed.
I was planning budget for the week, I had bills to pay and fine on its last warning. I was notified that I had letters in my myGov inbox. They told me that I was $22000 in debt. And also my payment was reduced by $300. So there was no paying bills or the fine. I went into Centrelink the next day to find out why.
This debt has me baffled. CL took it. But even after speaking to CL different times. No one who works there can inform me as to why?
Nothing changed the entire financial year. Care. Kids. Income was zero. No reason to have this occur.
Living hell just got divorced had nothing. Had to pay them 3000 had to get it from parents couldn't pay it back decided to live on streets though shame don't know why I got it has to pay it back as I am from NZ have been here and paying tax 37 years to scared to get sent back so I paid it. Still living on streets
I was doing year 12 and on youth allowance, finished school and had trouble finding work, wasn't until February that I found casual work (turned into full time and still there), the wages I earned from February to June 30th was then divided by 52, and I was told by robodebt I owed $2700. This was 2 weeks before Christmas.
I am writing on behalf of my wife who has been the victim of Centrelink Robo-Debt. $5500 of her tax return was taken with no contact from Centrelink and they propose to take another $4000 if the matter is not resolved. After providing documentation on two occassions and told it was resolved.
This was for several debts issued together for a combination of Newstart and FTB.
Took me dozens of phone calls and yelling to get the numbers reviewed and reassessed.
I kept asking to justify their claim: on what basis, what facts, what numbers and what logic they were claiming I had debts.
Copped a debt from 2015 for apparently not declaring my earnings.probkem is I stopped reporting as I was earning too much.appealed the debt 2mths ago and go a call back saying it wasn't right and he would call me in a few days,no reply!
5 years after I was paid I received a letter saying I owed them $3600. I was told they coded my payments wrong for a few months while I was unemployed, even though I had given them all the correct relevant paperwork and information.
I was slugged with this dent out of the blue. Ir took hours on the phone to just get a letter semt put how ot was calculated, and it quickly became clear that this sham accounting should be completely illegal. Anyone who has even a little sense can see that.
I was first contacted by Centrelink in 2018, seeking verification of my earnings for several periods of time between 2012 - Jun 30 2016. In this tiny frame, I was predominantly working as a casual relief teacher, and doing both temporary and casual hospitality and retail jobs.
Stress, anxiety for both me & my husband. As my husband is my fulltime carer. I'm a palliative care patient as when I stop home hemodialysis my only option is palliative care because of the serious illness and complications of chronic disease I suffer.