I was initially shocked and afraid as soon as I received a letter informing me to produce payslips going back to 2010 as there seemed to be a discrepancy between what I reported as earned & what the ATO said my employer reported.
I rang immediately to centerlink to ask for an extension as my employer no longer existed and I had to find where those records were.
My anxiety levels were so high I got panic attacks at the thought of what if I can't find those payslips how on earth to I deal with a govt office. It took many hours and expense on my part to track down the nsw govt dept that held records for my previous employer it took 2 weeks to do it.
I called centerlink and my $$ did not match with them — even if I had made an error in reporting the nett amount didn't account for discrepancy... I spent 2 hours on my mobile trying to make sense of how I made this error... I was told regardless I had incurred the debt and someone will contact me within 2 weeks with the final amounts of debt.
I can't begin to explain the worry about how I was going to repay
I am currently employed as a casual with no guarantee of employment.. centerlnk called and informed me of the amount and said I would need to arrange a payment plan to pay back I was so stressed I did it immediately... after a couple of weeks when I had calmed down I called the compliance team and asked for a record of all the times I called in reporting my earnings I asked for the dates times and the hours I reported and the amount I reported.
I also requested a transcript of centerlink phone service recording for the 'report your income'.
At this point centerlink advised me that I didn't use a calculation with my earnings thus I entered it technically incorrectly.
I stated the report your earnings automated call asks 1) did you earn income this fortnight 2) how many hours did you work 3) what was your gross income 4) your next reporting date is
Centerlink told me I apparently had to use a 'calculation' based on my days work x whatever the centerlink payment was and I should have used that figure to report. I asked her WHERE exactly would I have found that information? She said online when I reported I again told her centerlink records show I reported via phone WHERE was that information for me to know... she said she didn't know.
I hate how they've done it
I hate how I have had to spend endless hours digging to get any answers or repeatedly requesting a detailed breakdown of how this over payment occurred & what formula was used to determine this debt or what section of the legislation I breached & proof
I had ever been informed of a 'formula' centerlink clients needed to use prior to reporting