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
We were not notified by letter, only on the MyGov website which we hadn't accessed for several months, and forgotten the login and password.
My case is to prove my innocence against a perceived debt/recovery that HAS now been found 7 years later due to an INEFFICIENT SOCIAL SECURITY PAYMENT SYSTEM used by Centrelink
I see this as NEGLIGENCE AND/OR DEFECTIVE ADMINISTRATION on Centrelinks behalf.
Shocking situation this was a payment that I was recving for caring for my dementia suffering 90 year old mother.
Who had since passed away.
I got hit with Robodebt recently requiring me to detail *exactly* all my income from 2013.
I ended up with a bill for $154.52 which I paid because I couldn't deal with the stress of objecting.
(I cannot imagine how people deal with the ridiculous debts raised!)
Bloody furiously angry and fired up for a fight. I'm way too angry to be depressed about this.
The letter sent to me via my.gov.au with a confirmation code advised me to check the payment status as I maybe overpaid for the time I was provided with the New Start Allowance.
It affected on my trust to the Centrelink computer system and also the Taxation Office.
I have not been on any Centrelink payments for 5 years. They are asking me for money I earned on student income!
As a trained lawyer I know what my rights are to dispute this but I am stressed how they won't deal in writing and constantly try to put the onus on me (to not be a liar).
I had trouble finding work and I'm grateful to centrelink for keeping me alive during most of that time.
Received a letter, so I called the number given — was startled at how quickly the phone was picked up; here I was, prepared internally for a 1 hour wait.
Feeling very worried being threatened to have all current payments cut!
I don't have money to pay... an absolutely stressful and false debt
Apparently I owe $1500 from 2011 to 2013.
This is 3rd letter I have received from Clink demanding payment.
Our family was incorrectly overpaid by Centrelink back in 2011, and they have since raised further debts against our family.
Working as a full time teacher, married and with 2 children, we estimate yearly income correctly.
mortified I spent a whole year crying myself to sleep because I thought I was going to jail and I still do
I am trying to study and get by working part time but there taking most of my pay
I was receiving parenting payment partnered before i returned to work after i had my daughter
after 12 weeks it was supposed to automatically end but it didn't due to a "complex coding error"
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.
Been ongoing for an entire year now!! Every time I call I speak to someone different, half the conversations I discovered the other day have not even been recorded. I know for a fact I DO NOT owe $8000.
In November 2015 I made a very serious attempt on my life and ended up in hospital for a period of time.
This wasn't the first attempt. It was simply the most serious.
I received a letter saying my income reported in 2015 and 2016 did not match the ATO figures.
I was rather stressed & exhausted, we were moving and I was struggling to also find time to work 2 jobs and look after 3 kids.
This debt has made me so stressed, my financial status isn't good I can never get on top of everything. I'm currently paying $220 a fortnight to pay off my debt. I can't prove any of this as I can't gain access to pay slips.
How in the hell do you try and find records for a 7yr old debt?
As if life isn't stressful enough, we now have to deal with arrogant debt collectors.
We have bills to pay like everybody else but this shouldn't be one of them!
Not to mention our credit rating!
Thanks for nothing Centrelink!
On an emotional level this was a disaster for me.
I was confident that I did not owe centrelink any money and had records to prove it. Getting someone at centrelink to listen to me was an incredibly difficult and time consuming experience.
I already suffer from chronic depression and anxiety.
This has been going of for 2 years and I still am yet to get a direct answer or any help for which i have asked for since the first letter.
Over the past 10 years, every year (all but one!) I seem to have a Centrelink debt show up on my tax return.
The debt has made my life a living hell. I thankfully live with my mum, but nonetheless it has made things incredibly difficult for me, especially since I'm unemployed.
I've been stressed and even contemplated ending my life, but thankfully, I haven't.