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
Increased anxiety as a single parent caring for two small children on my own. I have debts from my marriage that I am wearing on my own that aren't all mine but ex refuses to pay. Receive very little in child support. I fear that the bank will foreclose my house.
I have 5 children and because if this debt I was unable to get the advance payments that I rely on to buy my kids their presents.
Centrelink falsely believes that I have income other than Austudy. I can only conclude that its belief the result of bad data matching because I have no income other than Centrelink. Since Sep 2016 I have been trying to resolve the matter by writing to Centrelink and delivering the letters to the local office or uploading them.
As a single parent with two children working part time with another government dept. I had reported my earnings fortnightly, though due to payments errors over a three year period. I contacted centrelink post tax corrections in 2007 regarding errors.
I woke up to my phone beeping with a text message saying that I had a letter waiting for me at my.gov.au from Centrelink.
They ruined me and said i had to pay 5 grand in less then a week :(.
having a letter saying I owe over $4500 was a massive shock. I have spoke to centrelink officers a few times now and it hasn't got any clearer and trying to find payslips from four different employers from 5 years ago is also difficult.
Repayment are the same as a tank of fuel. Or food for a week. Shame on Centerlink
After moving to Port Lincoln SA in January 2010 I ended up receiving new start allowance till I found causal work in a local fish factory. Casual being the operative word because I never knew from one day to the next if I had work until a text message came through the night before.
Even though it's obvious from centrelinks own records that the accusation under which the debt stands is wrong and is due to generic financial year end dates on the group certificates, they still persist that i need to provide evidence from employers, of the dates of the commencement and ending of the jobs, not once actually considering pul
I feel like my debt is a small amount in comparison to some others I have heard about, but as a casual retail worker, I don't exactly have a steady income of money. This fact alone has had me in tears on multiple occassions.
So my "debt" has apparently occurred when the information I gave to CENTERLINK when I started employment was "______ hotel" as on my payslips but when I got my group certificate it had "______ Nominees trading as ______ hotel" so they have this as 2 employers...
Back in 2012 I worked for a major Australian employer and was terminated due to illness. It was an extremely traumatic period of my life. Fortunately I was able to receive sickness allowance from Centrelink. This helped me stay afloat while I rehabilitated myself. I believe this is the point of social welfare.
I've had 4 different letters for 4 different amounts. Many hours in the phone, in person meetings, 'alleged' phone calls from appeals team...no never got them. All for an amount they have decided I owe from when I was actually a single parent with no financial support from the father.
I was unaware I had an alleged debt until I got letters late last year. I am actually on the Aged Pension and suffer from anxiety, hypertension and Diabetes 2. This has spiralled me into depression.
I had moved house so I didn't receive the earlier letters, and didn't get a chance to put in my employment details. I earned money that year as I was only on benefits for about 13 weeks. Now the place where I worked no longer runs. I will fight this as I know I'm in the right and I didn't earn money in that time.
I put earnings in every fortnight, and they still say that they over paid me , now my credit is bad now because of Centrelink.
This has ruined my life. I was a regular taxpayer that fell on multiple hard times at once, now I'm suicidal on antidepressants with no end in sight. Centrelink made an error processing my application, went unnoticed for 8 months, when it was found by Centrelink I was told it was my fault and I'd have to pay all the money back.
I had been unemployed for 21/2 years and reentered the workforce in Jan 2014. Work was slow to build up so I received a lower pay packet early on and it grew. They've averaged the amount and arrived at a figure.
I first entered the job market as a teenager in rural Australia at a time when local youth unemployment was over 50% and I couldn't get work despite applying for everything available.
The debt was when work for a company in hospitality.
I'm an anxiety sufferer, a single and only parent, someone who survived an abusive marriage and someone with an auto-immune condition, receiving a debt letter just days before my final exams (Uni) threw my entire nervous system off balance.
I calculate I owe 1500.
I was boarding receiving family tax benefit as a single parent, was not receiving any other benefit type at the time, I worked for two weeks and made in total $901 for the financial year I don't understand why I owe $500??
It's was for income earned 5 years before so l have no paper work and the company l worked for no longer exists. Did my tax return every year , so if there was a problem it should of been sorted then. So l end up with like $300 a fortnight and my daughter and I have become homeless. My daughter is couch surfing and lm in the car .