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Centrelink debt collecting resumes: Here’s what you need to do

Australian currency fanned out and Australians lining up outside at a Centrelink office.
Centrelink debt collecting will resume in July. (Source: Getty)

From July 1, 2022, Centrelink debt repayments are starting again, after being paused for those impacted by COVID-19 lockdowns and disaster events.

“From July 1, 2022, the debt pause is ending. This will happen gradually depending on whether you have a new or existing debt,” Services Australia said.

“If you were impacted by the floods in January, February and March this year, your pause will remain in place until August.”

So, if you owe money back to Centrelink - here’s what you need to know.

Existing debts

If you received a letter about a debt before January 10, 2022, you will be required to start repaying that debt from July 1.

“We’ll send you an SMS reminder letting you know your repayments are starting soon, and what you need to do,” Services Australia said.

New debts

If you received a letter about a debt on or after January 10, you will need to start repaying money gradually from August 1.

“If you have a new debt, we’ll soon be sending you an account payable letter,” Services Australia said.

“The letter will tell you when your repayments are due and what action you need to take.”

How to repay a debt

If you need to repay a debt you do not need to pay it back all at once.

Services Australia said you could set up a repayment plan that suited your specific situation.

“The easiest way to manage repaying money is using the Money You Owe service in your Centrelink online account through myGov or the Express Plus Centrelink app,” Services Australia said.

“If you don’t understand your debt or you’re worried about repaying money, please talk to us.”

You can find out about debt pauses in your state or territory to see whether your area has been affected by the debt pause and see when you will be required to start making repayments.

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