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Centrelink to resume debt recovery program

  • October 29 2020
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Centrelink to resume debt recovery program

By Cameron Micallef
October 29 2020

Centrelink’s debt recovery program is set to resume from Monday, 2 November, but money owed will not need to be repaid until next year, Services Australia has said.

Centrelink to resume debt recovery program

Centrelink to resume debt recovery program

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  • October 29 2020
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Centrelink’s debt recovery program is set to resume from Monday, 2 November, but money owed will not need to be repaid until next year, Services Australia has said.

Centrelink to resume debt recovery program

In a statement, Services Australia has confirmed that it will begin contacting welfare recipients from next week if they think they have been overpaid previously on welfare benefits.

Those living in Victoria have been excluded from the resumption scheme as will any other state or area that is declared a disaster.

Despite informing welfare recipients of money owed, they will not be expected to start making payments until February 2021.

Government Services Minister Stuart Robert said this will give people time to plan for their future.

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“Delaying debt recovery until February 2021 recognises the difficulties many people are still facing,” the minister said. 

“It will provide time for people to consider their circumstances, engage with Services Australia about their options in a transparent way and plan for their future. This could include adjusting the information they are reporting to Services Australia.”

While highlighting Australians receiving payments will not be expected to pay the money back until February 2021, Mr Roberts encouraged those who want to make a repayment to do so voluntarily.

“People continue to have the option of repaying any overpayments assessed prior to the debt pause if they choose to and it can be managed within their personal circumstances.”

“Services Australia has a range of services to help people manage an overpayment, including online tools and specialist staff such as social workers who can provide short-term counselling, information and referrals to other services for Australians in need.”

Centrelink’s debt recovery program has been plagued with scandals in recent years as a result of its automated system known as robodebt illegally charging consumers.

The federal government was forced to adjust key details of the robodebt scheme contracted 370,000 people who were illegally issued debt collection notices.

Services Australia began rolling out $721 million in refunds for the illegal scheme from July 2020.

Are you entitled to a refund from the scheme? Here’s what you need to do.

Centrelink to resume debt recovery program
Centrelink to resume debt recovery program
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About the author

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Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

About the author

Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

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