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Centrelink warning: ‘You have until July 1’

·Personal Finance Editor
·2-min read
The Centrelink sign on the exterior of a Services Australia building. A person holding $50 notes.
Centrelink recipients who owe money will need to start repaying their debts in July. (Source: Getty)

Centrelink recipients who live in a local government area (LGA) that was impacted by the COVID-19 lockdowns will soon need to start repaying debts.

Back in January, Services Australia advised that the temporary pause on Centrelink debts had been lifted and letters would be sent to those who owed money.

The debt pause was in place for LGAs in New South Wales, Victoria, South-East Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory.

“We stopped sending notices about new overpayments while the pause was in place. We are now starting to send these notices again,” Services Australia said.

“If you live in one of these areas and we overpaid you, we’ll send you a letter. It will explain how much you owe and when you need to start repaying.”

Those who owe money will need to start repaying the debt in July.

You can see details of your debt in the Money You Owe service in your Centrelink online account through myGov.

If you don’t understand why you’ve been overpaid, you can talk to Services Australia by calling your regular Centrelink payment line or by calling the Centrelink debt-recovery line.

If you placed your fortnightly debt repayments on hold, there’s nothing you need to do right now.

Services Australia said it would contact you before you needed to start repaying the money.

Debt recovery resumes

The reminder comes after the Labor Government announced Centrelink debt recovery would resume after being paused for COVID-19 and natural disasters.

Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth said more than 17 per cent of JobSeeker payments were not accurate.

Many welfare recipients were overpaid, with the debts owed “drastically increased”.

Rishworth said some debts had been sitting in the system for more than three years, and that “some people aren’t even aware that they’ve received too much money from Services Australia”.

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