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NotMyDebt Stories

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

Debt amount:
$1700
Payment Type:
Parenting Payment
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
2 April 2015

I suffer from depression and anxiety. I'm also a recovering addict. Not quite sure of exactly yrs but around 2009 to 2012 I was working at that stage of my life I wasn't an addict.

Debt amount:
$625
Payment Type:
Youth Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
I don't know how to
Date debt issued:
5 July 2018

I was recently diagnosed with cervical cancer at 24 years old. I was without work for 6 months and already have the stress of cancer without the stress of having to pay back money

Debt amount:
$2057
Payment Type:
Youth Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
I don't know how to
Date debt issued:
29 June 2018

Received the 'debt' letter just yesterday. I'm assuming the initial 'explain yourself' letter was sent to my previous address, because I never got it.

Debt amount:
$19000
Payment Type:
Newstart Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
Unknown
Date debt issued:
4 July 2017

I received notice in August 2017 that I needed to confirm my income from 2010/2012.

They say something payslips not matching and i owe this huge debt.

Financially, mentally and physically exhausted.
Currently i have no stable accommodation and looking for a breath of air where ever and when ever i can.

Debt amount:
$2100
Payment Type:
Youth Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
Unknown
Date debt issued:
2 July 2018

I have been very anxious about this experience.

Debt amount:
$950
Payment Type:
Youth Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
26 June 2018

Causing grief where it is not due, bringing back anxiety attacks whilst at work.

Debt amount:
$5000
Payment Type:
Youth Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
6 June 2018

I'm lucky that the claimed debt amount would not be an issue to pay.

Luckily I was taught by my parents to keep all payslips and documents from a young age so I can easily prove this debt is wrong.

Debt amount:
$2319
Payment Type:
Austudy
Appealing Debt?:
I don't know how to
Date debt issued:
27 June 2018

I was on Austudy between late September to mid December of 2014 because I was a full-time student (over 25), with a crappy retail job and on-top of that I was supporting my divorced, PTSD/Depressed Mother which was why I needed the centrelink payments in the first place to help cover expenses like rent, food, electricity, internet etc.

Debt amount:
$11900
Payment Type:
Youth Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
No
Date debt issued:
1 July 2016

I had to change my living situation from student to job seeker in office.

Debt amount:
$22000
Payment Type:
Parenting Payment
Appealing Debt?:
I don't know how to
Date debt issued:
22 June 2018

I already suffer with anxiety and this has really taken its toll on me.

Mentally it has depressed me as I’ve had to go on medication as this issue has just tipped me over the edge.

Physically my body had broken out in a stress psoriasis, which I am now having to get treatment for x3 times a week.

Debt amount:
$156000
Payment Type:
Family Tax Benefit
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
25 June 2018

Severe anxiety, chest pains, inability to sleep, focus very difficult.

Financial impact is debilitating.

Work has become extremely hard to focus on and I work in Mental Health !!

Debt amount:
$20000
Payment Type:
Youth Allowance
Date debt issued:
16 November 2016

My debt was given to me in a letter saying I owe $20,000. They say I failed to update my study details.

Debt amount:
$3000
Payment Type:
Disability Support Pension
Appealing Debt?:
Unknown
Date debt issued:
15 June 2018

This is my second debt. No one can explain to me how it has happened except my pay slips dont match up with my reporting.

Debt amount:
$2800
Payment Type:
Austudy
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
7 May 2018

Right before exam period approaches I get a letter to say I owe a mass amount of debt, absolute panic attack as I've never owed in my life and all of a sudden they want money in 14 days!

Requested a hold and a copy of DATA BREAKDOWN which allows you to verify what you reported so you can cross reference your pay.

Debt amount:
$1300
Payment Type:
Parenting Payment
Appealing Debt?:
Yes but I lost
Date debt issued:
29 April 2016

Centrelink performed a data matching with the ATO.
The ATO had my earning $X for a particular period but centrelink had recorded $Y for the same period being less than the ATO.
They then decided this meant I had underdeclared my income.

Debt amount:
$15787
Payment Type:
Newstart Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
18 April 2018

Very stressful as I am already struggling on my current income.

There’s not a chance this debt could be accurate.

Debt amount:
$498
Payment Type:
Austudy
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
12 October 2017

I received notice in August 2017 that I needed to confirm my income from 2012.
Panicking and unsure what to do, I spent hours going over old bank statements calculating the fortnightly net payments from my employer.

Debt amount:
$2500
Payment Type:
Youth Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
I don't know how to
Date debt issued:
12 June 2018

I am about to undertake my final exams for my degree (ever) and I feel very overwhelmed that they have just contacted me.

Very anxious and uneasy and have two exams this week. Can't stop thinking about it.

Debt amount:
$3547
Payment Type:
Youth Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
8 June 2018

I was on Youth Allowance for a brief period whilst I completed my last year at University.
During the time I was working part-time and Centrelink are now claiming that I did not declare correctly and that I owe $3,547.00.
Two other people in my work place are having the EXACT same issue.

Debt amount:
$6048
Payment Type:
Newstart Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
I don't know how to
Date debt issued:
4 May 2018

Last year (2017) I received a phone call to verify my earnings from the period of 2013-2015!
Are you kidding me? In those years I was studying, in 2015 all year, so would have been on Austudy and was working here and there over those years too.

Debt amount:
$8000
Payment Type:
Austudy
Appealing Debt?:
Yes & I won

Back in 2016 I started studying my Masters degree and signed up for Austudy, I also dropped my hours back at work to focus on my studies.

Debt amount:
$6000
Payment Type:
Austudy
Appealing Debt?:
Yes but I lost
Date debt issued:
15 June 2017

Submitted a FOI request and received a full spreadsheet showing all the calculations. Turns out my 'under-reporting' matches exactly how much tax I was paying for that fortnight.

Debt amount:
$250
Payment Type:
Newstart Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
Yes & I won
Date debt issued:
1 March 2018

This created a lot of stress to me, but Centrelink didn't care, just told me to contact Lifeline.

Not once did they try and assist when I asked as to how the debt was calculated.
I took it to the AAT, and I won.

Debt amount:
$2444
Payment Type:
Parenting Payment
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
1 March 2018

Sole mother, immigrant, working full time, struggling with time to brush my teeth, have to deal back and fourth of centrelink-former boss-current boss with different types of requests and letters just to prove the debt is wrong.

I don't know who to get them to prove that I owe the money instead of me proving I don't owe.

Debt amount:
$21000
Payment Type:
Youth Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
1 June 2018

Centrelink attempted to call me Friday 1st June 2018, staying they required proof of income during the Financial Year (FY) 2014/15 and 2015/16.

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