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
Although my amount is small, the principal is the same.
Firstly, I have been on workcover suffering major depressive disorder and PTSD since Feb 2015. Due to this i went bankrupt in Sept 2016.
I received two letters one newstart from 2008/09 and one parenting pmnt 2008/09. Adding up to $7000. It almost tipped me over the Edge.
The "over payment" period they are using are actually for the most part when I was studying overseas on an exchange in the USA. I wasn't working over there either, I wasn't allowed to on the visa anyway. Prior to leaving I was working full time and would have left Australia in mid-August 2011.
In November 2011 I was forced to leave my job due to illegal discrimination, workplace bullying and a rape threat.
I took legal action against the employer and won.
I received a letter asking me to confirm my income from 3-5 years ago, when I worked part time while studying at University. At the time I had difficulty obtaining my payslips from my employer (due to a programming issue in the software). I had spoken with Centrelink about it and provided evidence from my employer.
The tactics used by centrelink, at the time, caused me to feel very stressed and agitated. I have some minor mental health diagnoses in my history, including depression & schizophrenia, but havent been seriously affected for years.
I'm airing this story on behalf of my daughter. She is continually cut off her allowance for not responding to a letter. This is wrong as I am also a contact for her and her letters come to my Mygov account and there are no such letters!!!
This started with family payment.
Went to visit centrelink in person and was told I had to phone a number which I tried numerous times and couldnt get through.
Next was my austudy payments which was evidently affected, followed by school kids bonus, and finally my child support.
I switched from Newstart to Austudy and also received income protection. Apparently that effected Newstart, but not Austudy. I told them about the extra payments on at least 10 occasions and sent them proof of it on at least 4 occasions. The first letter stated I owed nearly 12k. I asked for a review and it went down to 9k.
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.