Overpayments can happen because the system is complicated and people sometimes make mistakes.
If you disagree with a Centrelink debt, you can appeal.
The decision to raise and recover the debt may not be correct.
There may not be a debt if Centrelink has made mistakes or has incorrectly applied the law.
You can appeal if you do not believe the decision to raise the debt is correct.
Centrelink sometimes calculates debts incorrectly.
You can check:
You can appeal if you believe the amount of the debt is incorrect.
You can appeal.
It may be possible to have the debt “written off” or “waived”.
Contact your local Welfare Rights Centre for independent advice about the debt.
The overpayment letter asks you to repay the debt within 28 days.
You do not need to repay the whole amount within 28 days.
You do need to contact Centrelink before the due date, to negotiate repayments.
Centrelink has several ways of collecting debts and it does not need your consent to do so.
Ways Centrelink collects debts:
You must lodge an appeal of the decision to raise the debt and ask for it to be waived or written off.
If Centrelink writes-off a debt, you will not have to make repayments for an indefinite or specific period.
The decision to write-off a debt can be reviewed and changed by Centrelink.
Common reasons for write-off:
This means you don’t have to repay the debt.
Reasons for “waiver”:
If the debt was caused solely by “administrative error” and received “in good faith”, it can be waived.
“In good faith” means that you genuinely believed you were receiving the correct payment and amount during the debt period.
Where there are “special circumstances” related to the debt and you did not “knowingly” make a false statement to Centrelink or “knowingly” not comply with Social Security Law, the debt must be waived.
If Centrelink waive or write-off the debt, any amount you have already repaid to Centrelink will be refunded to you.
No, you are not obliged to go to a prosecution interview.
Tell Centrelink you do not wish to attend.
Choosing not to attend will not affect your payment.
It is best to seek legal advice before attending a prosecution interview.
You have the right to end the interview at any time.
If the debt occurred due to fraud, then you may be prosecuted.
If you are prosecuted, you will have to appear in Court to face criminal charges relating to the debt.
Even if you are prosecuted you will likely still have to repay the debt.
The Director of Public Prosecutions decides whether or not to prosecute.
You are not obliged to go to a prosecution interview.