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
Received the debt notice of approx $4900 right before Christmas after having moved out of home for the first time.
The stress and time taken to dispute this has been an unnecessary weight on my shoulders
After lodging my 2015-2016 tax return, I was issued a letter from Centrelink in August 2016, informing me that I had been UNDERPAID FTB by $2217, and consequently had this money put into my account.
My partner and I are both out of work suddenly. I over estimated my income so don't know how this happened. Can't prove it's wrong. Two dependant children under 5. If I didn't have kids would kill myself, life is one blow after another.
I have never under-declared any earnings, They've been taking money out of my fortnightly payments. I made an official complaint weeks ago and attached my pay slips for all the work I did but I've not heard a word. It is, and has been, very stressful. I will now attempt to contact the ombudsman.
I got the debt letter just before Christmas, my tax return which I had deliberately not had done until close to xmas was then in jeopardy of being held to help pay my debt (that I know is false.)
My husband got a robo call this morning. There was a threatening recorded message claiming to be from the department of human services and demanding immediate action. That was as much as my husband could hear as it was in a noisy cafe. He clicked on the appropriate menue option as instructed then waited and then was disconnected.
I received a letter last year stating I owed 9200 from sickness benefits I received for 9 months during the year of 2011. I couldn't believe what I was seeing, such a large amount of money that I knew was entirely wrong. First thing that crossed my mind was how on earth was I going to pay this.
It has given me severe anxiety, which I have been suffering from night and day. It is on my mind 24-7 it affects my ability to work, raise my daughter, be a good partner and live life day to day. I'm constantly thinking about this debt and that I will be prosecuted and named a fraud when I havnt done anything wrong!
This all started only when I received an SMS from Probe Group debt collectors over Christmas. I didn't even know what the Probe Group was, but found out after some googling.
I already have high Anxiety Levels and this had just made me so much more stressed and anxious especially since i probably will lose my appeal due to lack of evidence on the fact i was getting screwed over by Centrelink at the time and couldn't pay my CIT Fees and was not able to get the textbooks needed to study.
It's destroyed my life, I have a newborn and they have already started paying themselves back without my permission
A constant stress since October, when I got the letter was confused and had a panic attack outside my house. imediately I felt suicidal thoughts I hadn't had in years - it was a lot to deal with.
I had heard nothing about the robodebt issue at this time, and once again being stuck on the casualised/underemployed/centrelink merrygoround (ie financially stressed), this caused me considerable stress & upset.
I have lost sleep.. I have been very angry. I can't get any one to listen to me when I ring Centrelink. I can prove Centrelink's assessment is wrong. I have had the embarrasment of having to ask where I work now, and where I used work, to get pay slips.
I am a single mum who works part-time.
I first received the threatening letter everybody did on 13 October 2016 from 'Task force Integrity', scared my details were not up to date I logged on a daily checked, all was fine. I changed no details and just clicked save.
Anxiety and loss of resources.
In December 2016 I received a letter requesting I confirm my income from my casual job in 2012 due to information not correlating with data from the ATO, after many attempts and ‘service unavailable’ notifications, I submitted confirmation of my income from the period of time requested.
This debt existed from 3 years ago. I was studying at the time while also working as I lived out of home. I was not asked to report income, only was means tested when initially applying.
I was unaware that I had any debt until I started receiving mysterious text messages asking me to contact 'Probe Group'. They send a message and then make you call back, leaving you on hold for upwards of an hour.
Can't read the letter - can't open mail. Used to be safe and careful...the government should stop asking for money back when it was given in a time of need - they shouldn't ask for any money back ever from the welfare system - NOT EVER! Its not like we wanted to take welfare in the first place you Indian givers.
I am not on Centrelink and have not been for almost two years. The first I heard of this was when I received an sms on 20/12/16 alerting me to a My Gov message.
Received a bill for $3100 in October. This is dating back to 2011 when I worked, went overseas for 6 weeks, came back to the same job, left 3 months later, on Newstart for 5 months until I got a new job that I'm still with to this day.
I was contacted by Dun & Bradstreet demanding payment for a debt and this was the first moment I had ever heard about it. Centrelink had sent all mail to a previous address I was living at so I had no idea they had raised a debt against me until I was being harassed by debt collectors for repayment.
Out of the blue I had two letters saying I had been over-paid by a huge amount - I mean how does that even happen when they have all my details? absolutely no information has changed between November 2016 when I had a letter saying all is fine but then suddenly 3 months later I suddenly owe $3600?
A week ago, I was fine! School year started for my kids, I've started my school year, had worked out my weekly budget and have not long finished paying off my car. We live a simple life, but we're happy. I got a message from mygov telling me to check my inbox...and honestly, it felt like the bottom of my world dropped out!