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
This supposed debt dates back to 2011, when I was grieving for the loss of my best friend to suicide.
my debt stemmed from my first and only job. when i got the job i tried to end my relationship with centrelink, but they insisted i had to continue to report my income and attend job services for an undisclosed amount of time
A couple of weeks before the end of financial year I got an angry call from Centrelink telling me i was avoiding them. Turns out they sent me a letter to an old address and when the due date arrived, they called and threatened me.
Was at work today and opened the electronic letter... WTF!!
Caused disruption to my work all day, having to make phone calls to centrelink and previous employers.
Whilst routinely reporting income online, I noticed I had a new notification to update some details.... After updating those details, I randomly continued to scroll down the page. At the bottom of the page I noticed it said I owed $4000!!!! I HAVE NEVER BEEN NOTIFIED ABOUT THIS 'DEBT' IN ANY WAY!!!!!
My DEBT has put a huge financial stress over my head. Money is tight as it is.
barely being able to pay my bills and they keep withdrawing $100 per fortnight from my bank account. I've tried negotiating cheaper repayments as i've still got about $5600 left to pay but they won't lower repayments.
When I received my debt back in November of 2016, I had knots in my stomach and cried and just couldn't believe I had received a letter of this nature, it wasn't until not long after that I realised that so many other individuals would be targeted too.
They raised my debt in my opinion because I told them I was lodging a complaint about Centrelink & the Early Release of Super section of Dept Human Services over their treatment of me while in hospital having a leg amputated with the Ombudsman (I did that).
Very stressed both mentally, emotionally & financially & got very sick .
This debt has been a nightmare for me, due to the debt being from 2012 it was very hard for me to get and provide the required information by the extended due date so Centrelink started forcefully collecting the debt from my fortnightly payment at $60 each payment, this has made it extremely hard to live and has now got me in debt with other com
This debt has far reaching effects, I suffer from severe depression bordering on suicide, I am living with my parents as I can't afford to live anywhere else, I am also concerned that my taxation refund will be taken to part pay the debt.
EVERYONE should appeal! The centrelink office even gave me the form, it's also online.
It's left me not being able to pay for food or a full fortnight's rent.
I'm always scrapping by and still trying to pay it.
Would have been easier to have nothing from them at all.
I had to research all the facts and read the appropriately named SSAct, you should too, no case is the same.
Initial review officer (i requested after calling centrelink debt recovery) called once and left no message so concluded that i owed over 9k for moving from a share house to a home with a parent and not telling them.
This is ridiculous!!!! I received a letter from Centrelink via registered post which told me to confirm my employment income.
I went through the entire process to gather all my payslips and enter in all the payments online. After I submitted all the information, Centrelink told me it turns out they overpaid me $8200+ !!!!!!
After failing to do my tax for a few years (my fault). I have now been issued with a demand letter from centrelink for $3,500 of the $4,400 I received on Ausstudy while retraining as a teacher.
I am on a lower income and I've done my best to get back into the work force.
I understand that my partner is on a higher income but I don't understand that we are in debt as we never received any FTB for the past 24 months. ?
In brief this has worried me greatly. It has caused great stress.
I dont have the kind of money they're saying I owe them lying around. I'm a very low income earner.
First correspondence about any potential debt was from a collection agency, obviously I was concerned and confused so I logged into my mygov account and there I also found an owing balance but no further details of how this debt was obtained or over what period.
I worked for a company for a few weeks doing vacation work while I was at uni. Some of this time occured in July of the 12-13 financial year. I ended up getting a graduate job at the same company in December. I cancelled my Youth Allowance in the month prior to starting work.
I know there are few weeks where I miss-reported or did not report, but these were due to Centrelink's confusing interface and the change over to the MyGov website. I was also told many times by Centrelink that I did not have to report my income during certain periods.
A few years back I decided I was sufficiently stable to not have to rely on Centrelink anymore.
I (husband) am a commission paid salesman. Because my commissions and, ultimately, my end-of-year total earnings is unknown to me at the beginning of any given financial year, I was advised by the Centrelink staff to give my base wage. Since that is very low in comparison to my actual earnings, I estimated my earnings.
The debt was from June 2011 to October 2012… ridiculous.
My daughter requested for more information about the debt, she call numerous times and done nothing and start draw $95.20 out of my support pension.
Must be a huge mistake, extremely stressful for my family.
We have been just scraping through by the month with the payments this debt will be paid by drawing back on a loan - single income two kids. They both just had their birthdays and we are leading into Christmas. Wish us luck.