Go to top of page

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:
$13000
Payment Type:
Family Tax Benefit
Appealing Debt?:
I don't know how to
Date debt issued:
19 October 2016

In ways you have no idea. I haven't been able to contact Centrelink due to personal issues . Have been so disheartened as I have no way to prove anything. The company I'm been accused of under declaring for sold to another client in another town.

Debt amount:
$3670
Payment Type:
Austudy
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
28 December 2016

Anxiety and finiancial stress. Just entered into a mortgage and having to factor in $50 a week repayment

Debt amount:
$950
Payment Type:
Newstart Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
Unknown

Social Security Minister Christian Porter boasts they’ve raised $300 million in Centrelink ‘debts’ and the majority of those pursued for alleged debts have not complained. I am one of those people. This is my story.

Debt amount:
$1702
Payment Type:
Austudy
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
3 January 2017

Very stressful. I have recently returned to study so I am not in the financial position to repay a debt such as this. I am confident that I do not owe this money, so am hopeful. I do feel incredibly angry though, and can only think f all the people who have paid unknowingly and been taken advantage of.

Debt amount:
$288
Payment Type:
Sickness Benefit
Appealing Debt?:
I don't know how to
Date debt issued:
2 November 2016

I could easily repay this "debt" but will not out of principal. I had no idea until I watched 7.30 report tonight that this was a widespread problem.

Debt amount:
$3500
Payment Type:
Newstart Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
19 December 2016

It was very stressful receiving this just before Christmas. I felt very "unstable and even depressed" I decided not to buy any gifts this year for my kids and nieces and nephews. I made many attempts to call and try to get clarification. They asked for documentation and pay slips from a school that was closed until the end of January.

Debt amount:
$2500
Payment Type:
Parenting Payment
Appealing Debt?:
No

This has affect me a lot as I can't get a Centrelink advance and I use the advances to pay for a lot of my kids school stuff

Debt amount:
$1200
Payment Type:
Newstart Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
Yes but I lost
Date debt issued:
19 July 2016

It has made me very anxious and stressed. I am also very frustrated as I don't believe I owe them anything. They told me I actually overreported in the other reporting cycles but misreported once. There are no case notes so it's my word against theirs.

Debt amount:
$3200
Payment Type:
Austudy
Appealing Debt?:
Yes & I won
Date debt issued:
16 October 2016

Anxiety levels extremely high.
Close to nervous breakdown.
3 months of full hell.
Suicidal?
Involved legal aid

Debt amount:
$3200
Payment Type:
Austudy
Appealing Debt?:
Yes & I won
Date debt issued:
16 October 2016

Anxiety levels extremely high.
Close to nervous breakdown.
3 months of full hell.
Suicidal?
Involved legal aid

Debt amount:
$3919
Payment Type:
Newstart Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
13 December 2016

I am currently unemployed and am surviving on my savings alone, as I am a sessional academic for a number of different universities. Like most exploited young professionals on zero hour contracts, I still do not know for sure whether I will have work for the coming semester.

Debt amount:
$3000
Payment Type:
Newstart Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
Yes & I won
Date debt issued:
11 June 2016

I was woken at 3am one night by a sms telling me that I had a debt and to check my human services inbox.

I had already paid this debt 3 months prior and this absolutely floored me. I was practically suicidal.

Debt amount:
$2609
Payment Type:
Sickness Benefit
Appealing Debt?:
Yes but I lost
Date debt issued:
11 September 2016

Centrelink have been relentless with this matter. I suffered 2x cardiac arrests in 2014 .
They are still investigating. I had to set up a repayment plan @ 10% of my supposed debt $161 p/fn. I have got it down to $30 now. I do not owe this as I was not working for 3 months .

Debt amount:
$9356
Payment Type:
Aged Pension
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
17 November 2016

I am a 65 year old single pensioner working 3 days. I've done casual adult education/TAFE teaching for 25 As a casual teacher, I declared my income every fortnight so my Newstart payments varied throughout. My pension payments have been cut to virtually nothing. I've had 2 phone calls to the debt recovery line.

Debt amount:
$814
Payment Type:
Newstart Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
Unknown
Date debt issued:
15 December 2016

I choose to stop receiving payments a while ago as dealing with centrelink was exacerbating my mental illness. That place just breeds hopelessness and despair. While on centrelink, the staff made me feel like a lying criminal and like I wasn't a functioning member of society.

Debt amount:
$1300
Payment Type:
Newstart Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
12 June 2016

Significant impact on stress & anxiety. I'm currently not working & was planning on going on austudy while I'm a full time student, but this has given me pause.

Debt amount:
$2474
Payment Type:
Newstart Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
Unknown
Date debt issued:
18 December 2016

It has effected me greatly, the first notice i got was a letter of demand from Probe, then two days later i got a threatening phone call telling need to pay within days. Highly stressed i took my mother with me to Centrelink to find out what had gone on.

Debt amount:
$1090
Payment Type:
Newstart Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
No
Date debt issued:
18 December 2016

Financially this has affected my fortnightly budget with a roof over my head food plus extra expenses

Debt amount:
$2150
Payment Type:
Newstart Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
I don't know how to
Date debt issued:
12 February 2016

It all started when I got a text from an extremely rude debt collector saying I had to call urgently. I called and the woman said I had to pay $2000 immediately. She wouldn't tell me what the debt was for but eventually said Newstart.

Debt amount:
$2084
Payment Type:
Newstart Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
12 April 2016

I worked several jobs in this period, 2 were not for the full financial year but they have been averaged out over the whole of 2013-14.

Debt amount:
$285
Payment Type:
Newstart Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
12 December 2016

It's made me frustrated in that no one at Centrelink knows what's going on or wants to help.

Debt amount:
$1363
Payment Type:
Abstudy
Appealing Debt?:
No
Date debt issued:
28 October 2015

It was very stressful because I couldn't understand what I had done wrong.

Debt amount:
$3500
Payment Type:
Newstart Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
Yes & I won
Date debt issued:
11 April 2016

Stressed to no end knowing that I hadn't done anything wrong.
I had been made redundant from my job in January 2014 and was unemployed. 
I went to centre link in February and applied for benefits. Yes it took me a month to get the guts up to walk into one of their office and ask for a hand out.

Debt amount:
$11500
Payment Type:
Parenting Payment
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
17 August 2016

It has been a huge shock two years after the claim to receive such a debt I feel helpless and like my child and I are worthless in the eyes of the parenting payment. Something that should have been a lovely period of both our lives is now overshadowed by a forced loan I am now having to pay back even though I did nothing wrong.

Debt amount:
$568
Payment Type:
Newstart Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
I don't know how to
Date debt issued:
12 February 2016

At first I was going to pay it just to get it over and done with, however when I let my mother know about she got angry and told me to call them.

Pages