Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Centrelink sends single mum $24,000 debt notice

Update: I received a $2200 debt from Centrelink as a result of their ATO data matching program - They are wrong and are choosing to use less-accurate data to generate a debt!  Reddit

The Lieberal war on the poor continues unabated, despite Turnbull's photo op on christmas day feeding the homeless at the Wayside Chapel. The rogue Centrelink computer is still spitting out erroneous debt notices, demanding that discrepencies of up to six years ago are paid back. 

One lady, a single mother on a limited income has gotten a debt notice of $24,000 just before christmas. This because when reporting the income she got the name of the company wrong one time, so the computer thought she was working two different jobs and therefore ineligible for the payments. 

Centrelink has told her she has to start paying it back $60 at a time whilst she searched for her payslips from years before to prove her innocence.

Labor's Human Services person has written to the gov asking for the automated system to be suspended until it's known that the right people are being targeted.

The whole thing is grossly unfair IMO. Corporations pay no tax and the gov goes after us welfare recipients on the lowest of incomes.
One woman, a single mother on a partial parenting payment, received notice of a $24,215 debt two weeks before Christmas, according to Centrelink correspondence. 

“It’s just really upsetting and confronting because, I was thinking, the rate that I paid back Centrelink debt in the past would be about $50 a pay cycle,” she said. “More than that at a time I just simply couldn’t afford it. So I thought, ‘Is it going to be for the next 10 years that I’m going to be paying this back? How am I ever going to be able to get ahead?’.” 

She said she called Centrelink to query the debt. They told her she had recorded the name of her employer in two different ways when reporting fortnightly income. The automated system had assumed she was working more than one job, she said, and deemed her ineligible for the partial parenting payment. 

“It was recorded by the automated system that instead of having this one employer with occasional work, it recorded me as having additional employers and possible income that I was not declaring,” she said. 

Despite lodging a dispute, the woman has been told she must begin paying the debt back, at a rate of $60 a week, while she gathers her payslips for the past two years to use as evidence. 

“They want to get money back from us low-income Australians instead of the Murdochs,” she said. “A lot of people who won’t have the means to question it and are just going to go and pay, or freak out and get very stressed.” The Guardian