The woman is wrongly given a $ 45,000 Centrelink bill and said she cannot contest it because of DHS that is susceptible to blunder
Hyperventilating in a panic: the woman is wrongly given a $ 45,000 Centrelink bill and is told she can’t dispute it – because the DHS robodebt system is still making a blunder
- A Sydney woman was beaten with a $ 45,000 Centrelink debt
- The woman was told that she had overpaid her parental benefit
- But she has no children and has never received the welfare of the government
In a case of a false identity, a Sydney woman saw that she had to pay $ 45,000 back to Centrelink for benefits she never received.
When Tracey Donaldson *, 43, received the bill last month telling her that she owed the government the huge amount she supposedly received as a parental amount, she began to hyperventilate and panic.
She was told that she would have to pay immediately or she would be banned to travel abroad and the government would take money from her bank accounts to cover the debt.
The threats persisted despite the fact that Mrs. Donaldson was not a Centrelink user and has no children, reports ABC news.
Mrs. Donaldson describes the overwhelming despair that took over when she received the letter.
A misidentified identity has landed a woman in Sydney with a $ 45,000 debt from Centrelink (stock image)
“I don’t often have panic attacks, but I actually started hyperventilating,” she said.
“I was so frustrated and nobody gave me information.”
Centrelink’s debt was meant for a woman with the same name, who lived in the same suburb with almost exactly the same birthday.
Eventually the error was discovered, which led to an apology from the Department of Human Services and her name was deleted.
Human Services Australia General Manager Hank Jongen assured that it was an isolated incident and said there are no broader issues.
“We take our obligation to protect customer privacy very seriously. We can assure the community that this is an isolated incident and that there are no broader issues, “he said in a statement.
The debacle followed a long list of blunders by the Department of Human Services.
The ministry is under increasing pressure from welfare groups and social rights organizations to revise the controversial robodebt recovery system.
The head of the Australian Council of Social Services, Cassandra Goldie, told Daily Mail Australia that it was alarming, the first notification of the debt was in letter form.
Welfare recipients throughout the country have received debts for money that they do not owe to the Department of Human Services
‘There must be more checks and balances before debts are taxed. The Centrelink guidelines advise that it is appropriate to call the person if the debt is large before a debt message is sent, “she said.
“We are concerned that staff cuts and privatization of Centrelink services will result in staff not having the time or expertise to ensure proper procedures are followed.”
The shadow minister of government services Bill Shorten hurled the debacle as “chaotic, unjust and a mess” in a statement to Daily Mail Australia.
“The level of evidence that the government uses to scare Australians with allegations that they have a debt is alarmingly low,” he said.
“Now they are going to hit innocent Australians for $ 15,500, simply because they have the same name as someone else in another state? That is not good enough. ”
He has vowed to continue to exert pressure on the government to repay others affected by the robodebt scheme.
* – name has been changed