Centrelink glitch costs families thousands
CENTRELINK recipients have been left out of pocket by thousands after a nationwide glitch on the MyGov website saw people paying back their debts several times over.
The Department of Human Services is contacting affected customers about the issue, which was discovered when welfare recipients trying to make payments got error messages.
After trying to process their payments several times, they did not realise the money was being withdrawn from their account each time they made their attempt to pay.
A mother of two from Melbourne's east said she unknowingly ended up paying her debt three times, totalling more than $13,000.
The woman said she owed $4300 on her family tax benefit debt due to an underestimation of her yearly income and tried to do the right thing by paying it immediately.
She tried to submit her payment but kept getting an error message, not realising that the money was being deducted from her account.
Ten days after she made the payment, a Centrelink representative called her to tell there they had refunded two extra payments but it could take up to seven days to arrive, and they still had no record of the third, Nine Newspapers said.
Department of Human Services general manager Hank Jongen confirmed there had been issues with the system.
There are calls to scrap Centrelink's controversial robo-debt collection of welfare payments, which is set to face another parliamentary inquiry.
The Senate's community affairs committee is set to examine the automatic debt collection system, which has come under fire for being inaccurate.
Labor is demanding the government axe robo-debt, arguing the system is cruel and malfunctioning, while the Greens led the charge for a second inquiry in less than three years.
The committee will look at how robo-debt affects people, the data-matching techniques used by Centrelink and how errors are dealt with.
It comes after a Queensland mother told how her son tragically took his own life hours after finding out he had a Centrelink debt of $2000.
Kath Madgwick is now calling on Centrelink to change the way it treats vulnerable people after the suicide of her son, 22-year-old Jarrad Madgwick.
Mr Madgwick died on May 30, the same day he had also argued over the phone with Centrelink about his Newstart claim, his mum Kath Madgwick said.