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
I was told out of the blue I owe $9000.00 dollars when I argued the point and asked for proof I was sent huge envelopes of payments from them which was confusing I questioned again and was told they go off fortnightly payments and not was taxed and earnt for the year.
I had employment terminated in 2016 and had to go on Newstart allowance. Did not find work and decided to pursue further education so applied for Austudy. Was approved for Austudy, was doing great in my degree and then informed of a debt in April 2018.
I received notice of this debt one day after my oldest daughters 16th, my heart just dropped. I look at the dates and it’s basically when I became a single parent. I don’t understand how I got a debt when I report fortnightly and at tax return time don’t Centrelink and the ato cross reference each other?
I was studying at the time and I was very anxious about the claim and went to legal aid for the first time in my life. I couldn't understand that they gave me no evidence of how/when they had overpaid or claimed I underreported. I had to collect all my payslips from 4 different employers for a two year period over 10 years ago.
I have recently been forced to stop work out of the blue and been admitted to the ICU due to respiratory failure and just received a double lung transplant. I was stuck in the hospital trying to work out why I owe this debt when I always reported my income correctly.
I was planning budget for the week, I had bills to pay and fine on its last warning. I was notified that I had letters in my myGov inbox. They told me that I was $22000 in debt. And also my payment was reduced by $300. So there was no paying bills or the fine. I went into Centrelink the next day to find out why.
Two years since I was on any Centrelink benefit I get a letter telling me that I have not responded to any correspondence around income reporting and I owe a debt of a couple of thousand dollars. Almost three years later I am still battling with the Centrelink robodebt scheme around whether or not this is actually owed.
This debt has me baffled. CL took it. But even after speaking to CL different times. No one who works there can inform me as to why?
Nothing changed the entire financial year. Care. Kids. Income was zero. No reason to have this occur.
Living hell just got divorced had nothing. Had to pay them 3000 had to get it from parents couldn't pay it back decided to live on streets though shame don't know why I got it has to pay it back as I am from NZ have been here and paying tax 37 years to scared to get sent back so I paid it. Still living on streets
I was doing year 12 and on youth allowance, finished school and had trouble finding work, wasn't until February that I found casual work (turned into full time and still there), the wages I earned from February to June 30th was then divided by 52, and I was told by robodebt I owed $2700. This was 2 weeks before Christmas.
I am writing on behalf of my wife who has been the victim of Centrelink Robo-Debt. $5500 of her tax return was taken with no contact from Centrelink and they propose to take another $4000 if the matter is not resolved. After providing documentation on two occassions and told it was resolved.
This was for several debts issued together for a combination of Newstart and FTB.
Took me dozens of phone calls and yelling to get the numbers reviewed and reassessed.
I kept asking to justify their claim: on what basis, what facts, what numbers and what logic they were claiming I had debts.
Copped a debt from 2015 for apparently not declaring my earnings.probkem is I stopped reporting as I was earning too much.appealed the debt 2mths ago and go a call back saying it wasn't right and he would call me in a few days,no reply!
5 years after I was paid I received a letter saying I owed them $3600. I was told they coded my payments wrong for a few months while I was unemployed, even though I had given them all the correct relevant paperwork and information.
I was slugged with this dent out of the blue. Ir took hours on the phone to just get a letter semt put how ot was calculated, and it quickly became clear that this sham accounting should be completely illegal. Anyone who has even a little sense can see that.
I was first contacted by Centrelink in 2018, seeking verification of my earnings for several periods of time between 2012 - Jun 30 2016. In this tiny frame, I was predominantly working as a casual relief teacher, and doing both temporary and casual hospitality and retail jobs.
Stress, anxiety for both me & my husband. As my husband is my fulltime carer. I'm a palliative care patient as when I stop home hemodialysis my only option is palliative care because of the serious illness and complications of chronic disease I suffer.
Thought i was on top for the first time in 30 years and whammy, major depression
Called a month ago when I received letter. Guy a spoke to could see error. Said he was going to fix it. Month later started loosing money from payment. Called again. They said it was a tax department error. Tax department said they got the figures from Centrelink so it's there error.
I was sent a letter for debts owed without any accounting as to how I was overpaid. I reported all my income that year and my partners too. If I took time off to appeal it I would lose hundreds in wages so I agreed to a payment plan.
This debt has severely affected my mental health.
I suffer from terrible anxiety and I constantly fear that my life is ruined because of this. I cannot afford to pay back such a large amount of money quickly.
Being unemployed at the time, finalising my fathers estate, looking after my mother and preparing to move interstate in order to find new work, it was very stressful. I will say that the coal face workers had lots of empathy but their hands were tied. I felt that they didn't want to be doing this.
One Saturday morning in either February or March 2016 I received a phone call on my mobile from Centrelink. I thought that it was odd that they should call on a Saturday. I was told that I owed $3000 as a result of overpayment on my Newstart Allowance. I told them that I didn't have the money in my account.
I got the debt because my ex husband misrepresented his income so I supposedly got more child support than they thought however he doesn't pay child support and they aren't doing anything.
Couldn't sleep ,didn't know where to turn then with all the stress and expense not even a sorry or any explanation.