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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:
$594
Payment Type:
Newstart Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
Yes & I won
Date debt issued:
14 December 2016

Firstly to clarify:

Debt amount:
$13000
Payment Type:
Youth Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
14 December 2015

It's mentally exhausting thinking about what I need to prove these are false calculations, I was so stressed too the point I would just burst into tears frequently and whenever the words centlerlink popped into my head.

Debt amount:
$9680
Payment Type:
Newstart Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
21 October 2016

this has put a huge amount of stress not only financially but also day to day stress as i have talked to over 10 people through centerlink and gone in to see some one for help multiple times. they all say that it doesn't seem right and that i shouldn't have to pay it.

Debt amount:
$5327
Payment Type:
Newstart Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
2 December 2016

Very stressful to be told you suddenly owe a few thousand dollars when you did the right thing reporting income in the first place. Definitely can't afford to pay it all at once as I have a disability and can only work 3 days per week.

Debt amount:
$6200
Payment Type:
Family Tax Benefit
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
16 December 2016

Have just spent 6 hours cross referencing numbers from Child Care Statements, payslips etc and still cannot work out a clear explanation - I have 3 debts and only one I can find an error, the rest is making me crazy! And they want me to pay a minimum of $123.24 a fortnight until Dec 2018.

Debt amount:
$5000
Date debt issued:
24 November 2016

Absolutely disgusted by the clear error Centrelink has made and has not fixed. Same issue, full amount earned over 1 financial year simply applied as being earnt over the full year which is NOT the case.

Debt amount:
$1025
Payment Type:
Austudy
Appealing Debt?:
I don't know how to
Date debt issued:
1 August 2016

Having to pay back an extra bill on top of all my living expenses as a student is difficult. I also suffer from depression/anxiety, so the financial hardship this has put on me, has at times caused anxiety attacks, missed work, missed lectures, I feel trapped into paying back a debt that isn't mine and it's horrible.

Debt amount:
$871
Payment Type:
Newstart Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
Yes but I lost
Date debt issued:
18 November 2016

I cannot afford food, pay my bills, pay my rego in 8 days. Don't have money for petrol or anything for that matter. 

It has soured my anxiety and depression further and I am struggling to keep going.

Debt amount:
$2848
Payment Type:
Newstart Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
I don't know how to
Date debt issued:
6 December 2016

I called and questioned about the debt and they didnt seem to know why I have accumulated the amount since 2013. Long story short, I arranged to have $20 deducted from my Newstart Allowance everytime I get paid but I never receive a letter to confirmation the deduction.

Debt amount:
$1353
Payment Type:
Parenting Payment
Date debt issued:
22 November 2016

Receiving the so called debt almost 4years later and close to Christmas also having to then fight it has been nothing but unecessary and uneeded stress. And a matter that many Australians should not be incurring

Debt amount:
$7000
Payment Type:
Abstudy
Appealing Debt?:
I don't know how to
Date debt issued:
30 January 2015

I didn't receive a letter in the mail. When I happened to check "MyGov" I found the letter there claiming I owe them $7000.

Debt amount:
$703
Payment Type:
Youth Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
No
Date debt issued:
22 December 2016

Was a very big shock to receive letter notifying debt owed just 3 days before Christmas. With a young daughter this added heaps of unnecessary financial stress and I questioned whether we could even afford to celebrate Christmas at all.

Debt amount:
$32000
Payment Type:
Carer Payment
Appealing Debt?:
I don't know how to
Date debt issued:
16 November 2016

depressed, stressed out financially broke

Debt amount:
$9200
Payment Type:
Newstart Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
I don't know how to

I can't even survive on the 'normal' rate of Newstart. Now, having 20 a fortnight taken out to cover this supposed debt, it is even more difficult.

Debt amount:
$2300
Payment Type:
Newstart Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
21 December 2016

This caused my lupus to flare up which means severe chronic pain which is preventing me from doing simple daily tasks like bathing, eating and sleeping, an anxiety attack and several hours of crying, not to mention the migraines caused by sleepless nights and sitting on the phone listening to the god awful hold music that seems to be designed to

Debt amount:
$25000
Payment Type:
Family Tax Benefit
Appealing Debt?:
Yes & I won
Date debt issued:
7 December 2016

I felt physically sick when I opened the letter. I had sleepless nights of worrying about the whole situation. I was stressed and worried for the the 3 months that it took to resolve the issue.

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

I'm in insecure employment in education, already on a very tight budget and felt I had no choice but to begin making repayments while appealing. Despite multiple phone calls I am yet to fully understand why I have incurred a debt & therefore what evidence is needed to dispute.

Debt amount:
$5000
Payment Type:
Austudy
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
16 October 2016

Financial stress and unnecessary anxiety surrounding the process of appealing

Debt amount:
$162
Payment Type:
Newstart Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
No
Date debt issued:
12 October 2016

I'm a long term sufferer of depression and anxiety and being informed i was being investigated made my condition worse. I usually apply for my yearly cash advance at this time of the year to pay my car registration, however, now i have a debt with Centrelink, i am no longer eligible for this loan.

Debt amount:
$14578
Payment Type:
Youth Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
4 September 2016

A huge amount of stress, I have had to take sick leave from work because of it. Financially, the debt collectors threatened to recover my wages in full if I didn't pay a large part of the sat up front, so I placed $500 on my credit card upfront, and was forced to set up a payment plan of $140/week.

Debt amount:
$16000
Payment Type:
Family Tax Benefit
Appealing Debt?:
Unknown
Date debt issued:
10 October 2016

Im very stressed. My debt is apparently from 2008/09 but i never knew until now and always received my benefit this whole time not knowing. Why did they come up with this now??

Debt amount:
$1500
Payment Type:
Parenting Payment
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process
Date debt issued:
12 October 2016

Has affected my depression very badly

Debt amount:
$20000
Payment Type:
Youth Allowance
Appealing Debt?:
I don't know how to
Date debt issued:
9 September 2014

All of the above. The anxiety I experienced after receiving the debt notices (there have been two) was paralysing, the attitude of the collection agency rude, belittling and unhelpful.

Debt amount:
$4500
Appealing Debt?:
Yes in process

I'm stressed out about challenging the debt, even though I know I'm in the right I expect it to be tedious and drawn out and am loathing the idea of having to go through the run-around because of a stupid careless bureaucratic f***up. I'm also just... angry. Just so damn angry and I'm one of the lucky ones.

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