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 have to repay part of my payment to Centrelink every fortnight because they won’t let me appeal it further.
I also now live alone so the financial stress is greater.
My parents handed me a letter in November 2018 they had received at their home that stated Centrelink had unsuccessfully tried to contact me at my own home address to have me re-report my income for a 12 month period from 4 years ago.
To breaking point. Constant stress day and night. Concern about how we can afford to live
I received an initial letter requesting employment confirmation back in 2015.
I attempted to fill out the online forms and dates for the last three years and of course it was all wrong.
I was shocked when I received this and felt sick, this has caused me a lot of anxiety and frustration at having to put a lot of effort to prove that I did the right thing.
This has been a truly awful experience.
I've had multiple Centrelink customer service operators hang up on me when trying to request a review or ask for a receipt number.
It has caused me great anxiety and has given me depression for weeks now.
Anxiety through the roof and don’t have the help to fight it
I got a bill in Dec.
I did try to communicate with varying Centrelink departments and when the phone did ring through and was answered I was only ever told that I needed to prove I did not owe any money.
Was 24hr carer for my father who had MND. Apparently I was working too.
Dear Centrelink. Absolutely no idea.
I was sent an email to mygov inbox regarding the debt the day befor xmas 2018
I have been suffering anxiety due to my circumstances (loss of a child) and this debt letter making it worse for me.
I sent them my bank statements my payslips but no reviw received and on top the debt is increased.
It is not fair reciving a bill to pay with no information or background into it that when it has happened.
Insecure anxious financially strained
Supper stressed, single mum of 3 kids, I don't know how I'm supposed to ever get ahead, they already left me homeless twice.
I'm scared and cannot understand how this has happened when i reported as i was supposed to, have provided bank statements to get a reassessment, i'm hoping its a misunderstanding.
I am very stressed and anxious and it doesn't make any sense
I deferred my university course for just 6 weeks in September. I had developed anxiety and carers stress while caring for a sick relative.
The first I new of my debt was from a text from the debt collection agency.
I called them and they straight away demanded payment.
Extremely upset and stressed.
I have had to take days off work to try and handle this mess.
This is going to cripple me for most of the foreseable future.
I was on income protection and sickness benefits and it seems i incurred a debt of 5.5k
After countless hours, over a period of 6 months on the phone and providing documents (178 pages of bank statements & immigration records-available free from immigration on a 1359 form) finally got onto someone with authority that could see the light.
Debt reduced from $9,800 to $477.
I received a debt approx 4 years ago from 2010-2011 for over $2500, I went on a payment plan and over a number of years paid the debt back.
This year, I received another debt of $1600 from the same year.
A few months later i received a debt of $3000.
During the period of any paid work I notified centrelink and submitted payslips.
Online self service showed nil amount from Centrelink.
Also at the branch.
Then in early 2013 applied for TAFE and then received AUSTUDY after 6 months of entering TAFE.
I first received a online in August letter saying that I needed to confirm my income.
The lady on the phone stated that I owed $7,000 in debt as I had under reported my earning. The lady also went on to make me feel like a criminal by going on how this was wrong and how did I intend to pay this back.
Centrelink took money out of my tax return without my knowledge or consent for a debt that I never owed them.
I'm perplexed, very angry, extremely anxious and too time poor to deal with this the week before Christmas! Assholes!