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 had no idea I had been overpaid at all my Centrelink. Last year I owed money to the ATO due to being overpaid- and I happily paid that back. Now I'm handed a debt starting from 7 years ago stating I owe all this money. I always was honest in my income declaration!
Massive amounts of stress, cant afford to buy food as cost of living too high for one income family and we are a very large family.
feeling no way out as im studying to work next year when my 3 yr old starts school.
Huge stress having the 'debt' applied following being in hospital milultiple times for mental health breakdown - I wasn't reporting properly because I was absolutely not capable!
I left my fulltime job in October last year, and whilst searching for new work I started receiving Newstart payments in Dec2016. (Previously hadn't been on centrelink for over 18 years) I did happen to find casual work and began around the same time. (and have been declaring all income)
OMG I'm stressed to the max just trying to get old payslips which 2 of the 4 companies they say I worked for during that time no longer have any records as they legally are allowed to shred them after 5 years.
Centrelink originally refused to supply anything in writing such as a debt explanation report saying they do not manufacture letters they also had differing verbal accounts and would not answer my letters because i did not submit it on the correct forms, how are we expected to know this without any feedback, on my first call to the above listed
They had our taxable income from 2015-2016. They sent us a letter saying that they have worked out from our annual family income that they owe us $4,176.23. They put the money in our nominated account right before Christmas. It did not take long for that money to be spent.
Today they have sent letter saying they over paid $3,800.27.
I'd heard about Robodebt. I'd made jokes with my friends that I'd probably get a debt letter since I'd been a Centrelink recipient, hate this government with a passion, and generally have shitful luck. I'd also stopped opening Centrelink letters as I was happily, finally, no longer a beneficiary.
I have an accumulated debt from a period in which I worked 3 jobs apparently. From 5 years previous.
This year I am completing my honours degree at ______________ University under scholarship. I am neither uneducated or easily unnerved.
I have been fighting this so-called debt since around October last year. Despite constantly asking for details on how this amount was calculated, it took months for someone to give me a detailed explanation, which turned out to mostly be errors on their part.
I got a random telephone call when I was in the middle of shopping. I couldn't understand the person very well and they were trying to get me to remember addresses from years ago to verify my identify so I said i'd have to deal with it later.
So I have received this letter yesterday in my mailbox saying I owe them $10000 for the 2015-16 . I seriously have no clues what is this for . The phone does not go through. I feel so gutted right now . I have a constant headache since last night . Don't know what will happen but in no state i can afford to pay that big amount .
Stress, shame, anger. Financial stress as deducting from my payments over $100 a fortnight.
Caused both financial and study hardship. JSP informed me to study 40 hours per week and work 40 hours per week.
I suffer from PTSD which has been exasserbated by the mistreatment of centrelink and the staff, this has also made my depression much worse.
Very anxious over this as well as my partner. We reported local Centrelink 2nd February that we were a couple but they failed to process the forrm we lodged.
i had to bring it to their attention late February that they were neglegent.
DO NOT PAY YOUR DEBT. Appeal, appeal, appeal.
I received a call from a debt collection agency in February and was told that I owed just under $6k from a period of 5-6 years ago. I have since done a lot of research into the issue (as I imagine most people have) and have a good understanding of how this stupid robo system works.
ARO review only
Have been treated like a criminal - I can't help that I got sick and couldn't work anymore. I always declared income but apparently not to their specifications that I am finding out about 4 years later. I am regressing in my illness because of this stress that has been going on for 6 months!
The month after I received a debt notice was an absolute rigmarole at the hands of the government.
I found out about my debt via a text message from MyGov on the 13th of January 2017, telling me that I had a letter ready to view online.
I was at work.
I opened the letter and saw that I had a huge debt ($26,578.45 to be exact) owing to Centrelink and that the due date was the 8th of February 2017.
Anxiety levels high.
Frustrated! Insulted! Offended! I did nothing wrong!
I did as I was told.
I never received their 11 letters they say they sent me, so I went down and requested a copy.
I had an emotional breakdown before Christmas, resulting in my choice to leave work because of my mental illness and circumstances and extra stress this put on me trying to work out how to deal with it.
I broke down had to make an emergency visit to the doctors.
I received a letter yesterday saying I had to call Centrelink due to an overpayment. I called them and they said I had been overpayed the Parenting Payment in the financial year ending 2012, due to an incorrect assessment of my profit and loss statement vs my Income declared on my Tax Return. I was shocked and confused.
Me and My wife are going through the Hardship since almost an year now, reason my contract was ended abruptly and since then I am not in job.
I have recently received job.
Wife was also on maternity leave without any source of income with 2 Kids, once 1 year and second grade 6.