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Centrelink Debt Letters from 15 years ago? HELP!


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#1 Moneypenny2014

Posted 16 September 2019 - 11:23 AM

I have just received four debt letters from Centrelink advising that I owe a total of $11,537 from overpaid family assistance dating back between 2002 and 2006. This is the first I have ever heard about this.
What on earth do I do??
I don't even have financial records that far back.
I was also hardly working as I had my 3 children during this time and the latter period I had separated from their father.
I have never known of these debts before now and don't have a spare $11,000 to pay them (nor am I convinced any money is actually owed).
Has anyone has this happen and what did you do?

#2 Anon wife

Posted 16 September 2019 - 11:26 AM

My first thought is a scam, but I’d call centrelink and find out. Good luck

#3 klr75

Posted 16 September 2019 - 11:28 AM

I would be disputing that - surely they can't go that far back??  I'm sure you only have to keep your records for 7 years, surely they can't go back further than that

#4 Oriental lily

Posted 16 September 2019 - 11:30 AM

Perhaps a tax return was not done . I once got a scary letter like that . Once my tax was done and DHS and I income was reconcillated it went away and I was actually given a top up .

#5 IamtheMumma

Posted 16 September 2019 - 11:33 AM

Are they letters in the mail or through mygov?

I'd be questioning them by going into an office.

Is it possible your ex has only just done his tax from then?

#6 Moneypenny2014

Posted 16 September 2019 - 11:46 AM

Yes the letters came from My Gov
It was possible that my ex did not do his tax return? I would have done mine (always do)

#7 Murderino

Posted 16 September 2019 - 11:52 AM

Does it say why there is a debt - income too high or not lodging. If you are separated from your ex husband not lodging should no longer impact you BUT if you have reconciled it will.

Call them or go in to find out why they say you have a debt first and then you can work from there.

#8 IamtheMumma

Posted 16 September 2019 - 11:54 AM

The income is based on your joint income so even if you've done yours, he needs to do his. Best contact them to find out what it is.

What a nasty shock!

#9 400

Posted 16 September 2019 - 08:39 PM

That seems waaaaaaay too long to be chasing you for. It might be an automated system that is glitching on you. Agree with PP- isn’t there a 7 year rule for exactly this reason? Who can honestly keep track of paperwork from that long ago?

#10 Mrs Claus

Posted 16 September 2019 - 08:49 PM

I’d ring and ask as I’ve been told 5 years is the most they can go back

#11 Murderino

Posted 16 September 2019 - 09:05 PM

If it’s FTB I don’t think there is a limit in that legislation.

#12 Meepy

Posted 16 September 2019 - 09:16 PM

That is nasty and desperate behaviour from Centrelink as you would probably not have the records to prove otherwise.  Contest it and take it to the Commonwealth Ombudsman if you have no luck.

#13 IamzFeralz

Posted 16 September 2019 - 09:18 PM

How stressful for you OP.  Definitely contest it.

#14 Murderino

Posted 16 September 2019 - 09:29 PM

View PostMeepy, on 16 September 2019 - 09:16 PM, said:

That is nasty and desperate behaviour from Centrelink as you would probably not have the records to prove otherwise.  Contest it and take it to the Commonwealth Ombudsman if you have no luck.

If it’s FTB it’s all automated based on legislation there is no one being “nasty and desperate”.

#15 PrincessPeach

Posted 16 September 2019 - 09:39 PM

ATO are chasing outstanding tax returns back that far, so it is possible its to do with your ex not lodging & the ATO issuing a default notice of assessment for those years.

#16 Meepy

Posted 16 September 2019 - 09:39 PM

The nasty and desperate refers to the policy/legislation that allows unknown debts from 13 years ago to be recovered, not any individual applying the legislation.  If the organisation could not work out the amount that was owed and advise closer to the date it was incurred that is manifestly unfair and denies natural justice.

#17 Heather11

Posted 16 September 2019 - 09:48 PM

I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't because your ex has finally got around to doing his tax.

Can you ask him?

#18 Treasure Island

Posted 16 September 2019 - 09:52 PM

Welcome to Robodebt :( and yes it is nasty as they know there are massive problems with it and they are continuing regardless.

#19 xx1stxx

Posted 16 September 2019 - 10:02 PM

We also received a letter about a month ago, with an updated assessment from the child support agency from 8 years ago.  Child is now 25.  haven't heard anything since.  All we can put it down to is ex finally did her tax for the first time in 8 years (prob to get the scomo tax bonus i would almost guarantee it).

There was talk getting around that all centrelink/child support was getting reassessed and old debts were to be paid from the tax bonus before the tax dept handed it out.

#20 Mose

Posted 16 September 2019 - 10:09 PM

View PostMurderino, on 16 September 2019 - 09:05 PM, said:

If it’s FTB I don’t think there is a limit in that legislation.

The statute of limitations in most states is 7 years.

Centrelink aren't above that, however a recent lodgement of a tax return may have had the effect of re-setting the clock, because the seven years is typically counted from the last correspondence, I think, not the actual tax year itself.

Otherwise, I believe they would need to be alleging criminal behaviour for the claim to be valid.

#21 Murderino

Posted 16 September 2019 - 10:22 PM

View PostMeepy, on 16 September 2019 - 09:39 PM, said:

The nasty and desperate refers to the policy/legislation that allows unknown debts from 13 years ago to be recovered, not any individual applying the legislation.  If the organisation could not work out the amount that was owed and advise closer to the date it was incurred that is manifestly unfair and denies natural justice.

I agree with the first part but if someone (in this case it seems the ex) hasn’t lodged a tax return they don’t have the information with which to work out a debt.

#22 ekbaby

Posted 16 September 2019 - 10:46 PM

It’s robodebt. This is happening to lots of people. There are Facebook pages and groups for people in similar situations you might be able to get some tips from. Look up “not my debt” or robodebt on Facebook. Heaps of the time Centrelink is wrong but they are putting the onus on you to prove it - even if you reported all your earnings etc exactly as you were asked at the time

#23 Noodlez

Posted 17 September 2019 - 07:26 AM

I was in same situation it was extremely stressful. But I think the timeframe was shorter.

OP first thing I would do if I was you is talk to Centrelink and confirm the letter is correct. They should be able to give you advice on what you need to challenge it.

I also wrote letters to my local member of parliament, the minister for I think human services and the opposition minister. I advised them how stressful and how unfair this robodebt was. This resulted in contact from Centrelink and in the end they waived a debt of a couple of hundred dollars (originally it was in the thousands but after I provided payslips it was significantly reduced)

#24 born.a.girl

Posted 17 September 2019 - 07:40 AM

View PostNoodlez, on 17 September 2019 - 07:26 AM, said:

I was in same situation it was extremely stressful. But I think the timeframe was shorter.

OP first thing I would do if I was you is talk to Centrelink and confirm the letter is correct. They should be able to give you advice on what you need to challenge it.

I also wrote letters to my local member of parliament, the minister for I think human services and the opposition minister. I advised them how stressful and how unfair this robodebt was. This resulted in contact from Centrelink and in the end they waived a debt of a couple of hundred dollars (originally it was in the thousands but after I provided payslips it was significantly reduced)

Good thing you had an employer who gives you payslips.

Daughter has a robodebt from quite a few years ago where she wasn't given payslips, and the employer paid her in a lump sum, late.  We're still sorting that one.

Current employer also doesn't give payslips, although fortunately she emailed her pay ledger three months after the end of last year. Given she'd written the wrong dates on the annual PAYG summary, she got notification from Centrelink for that one, too.  Hopefully that one's sorted.

Still hasn't been paid any centrelink money from an application on 2nd May.

Staff have been great, it's the system and the laws that are the problem.

#25 Mister Mum

Posted 17 September 2019 - 08:42 AM

Fight it.  My partner had a robodebt raised which she challenged, reduced from 3k to 2k, then another appeal had it cancelled altogether.

Just keep pushing back and asking for it to be reviewed.  Again and again.  Make it not worth thier while.




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