Single mum takes on Centrelink over $40,000 debt error and wins

A court ruled in favour of the mother

November 22 2018

Single mum Carly Hockey took on Centrelink in court after they overpaid her by $40,000, then demanded she pay it back.

Two years ago she received a series of bills from the Government saying she had been overpaid thousands of dollars in family tax benefits.

However, Ms Hockey said she had always been honest with Centrelink and given them the correct information. The overpayments had occurred because of a Centrelink computer error.

“We had no reason to believe at any point that there was anything wrong with our payments because we were reassured by Centrelink repeatedly that our payments were correct,” she told A Current Affair.

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal determined Centrelink was at fault and said the debts ought to be waived, however Centrelink appealed that decision.

Eventually, Ms Hockey’s solicitor came to an agreement with Centrelink that they would waive 70 per cent of the debt that was held against her, reducing her debt to about $6000.

Ms Hockey says that she hopes that by speaking out, she can help others facing similar battles.

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