UEXPECTED bills can be a challenge for any household. But for people who rely on social security payments, unexpected news of a significant debt – sometimes dating back years – can be bewildering, to say the least. This is exactly what tens of thousands of Australians have experienced in recent months.
Since just before Christmas, Centrelink’s new automated data-matching system has resulted in a significant increase in the number of current and former welfare recipients assessed as having been overpaid and, thus, in debt to the government. The data-matching system seems to have identified people with earned income higher than the amount reported when their benefits were calculated…
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