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Welfare shock

7 January 2017
Barclay White
Shepparton News

Jayde Harvey, now 24, was shocked when she got a letter from Centrelink just before Christmas, asking her to clarify how much she earned when she worked part-time while in high school.

Similar letters have been sent to thousands of people across Australia in recent weeks as part of a new program to recover overpayments by linking welfare payments with records from the Australian Taxation Office.

For Ms Harvey, the letter was a surprise because it demanded information from all the way back to the 2010-11 financial year.

‘‘I was in high school and working part time,’’ Ms Harvey said.

‘‘I don’t have the pay slips from that far back.’’

At the time of the alleged overpayment, Ms Harvey was studying in her final year of school and receiving the youth allowance payment while also working part-time.