I received an initial letter requesting employment confirmation back in 2015.
I attempted to fill out the online forms and dates for the last three years and of course it was all wrong.
Contacted the compliance team and was told to provide all my payslips and statements for the 2013 - 2016 period which I did.
At this stage I was not given an amount in writing about how much I owed and when I questioned this with the compliance officer(person), she told me it could be 20,000.00 and since I did not always receive Newstart they would take it out of FTB.
So after providing all the requested information, I was told that I had given them too much info and it was a privacy issue and the compliance staff were referring it back to Canberra and that it could take a long time to sort out.
I then did not hear anything else until I received another letter in Feb this year saying I was overpaid 9039.00.
I contacted them straight away and was told to request an appeal and that the debt had been worked out using the dodgy algorithm (I don’t know how to explain it).
The lady then asked me to explain why I thought I didn’t owe the money and I told them how I had always over-reported my earnings so I would not end up in this situation.
I was told the appeal would take at least 3 months and the interest and all letters would be paused while the appeal is taking place.
I was given an appeal number and a date to call back.
So now I have to wait and hope that the appeal is accepted and I’m not forced to pay back money I don’t owe plus interest.
This could leave me financially destitute and unable to pay rent, power, food and petrol for work.
(I’m sure there are many others in the same position as me).
I’m absolutely terrified.
I feel this is a money grab that is possibly illegal and targets the most vulnerable people in the community.
Having said that if I did owe money, (which I do not) I would take ownership of that and do everything I possibly could to pay it back.
At the moment all I can do is hope I come out of this unscathed.