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Centrelink overpaid us, do I have any options?

Sorry if this is a silly question but it's never happened to me before and I'm feeling a bit shocked!
I do casual work (relief teaching) which is unpredictable, I might get five days one week or nothing at all for three weeks, depending on who's sick or away. I assumed my earnings this financial year would be similar to last year, so put my estimate down as the same. But turned out I was wrong!? It didn't seem much different, but according to my tax return they overpaid me by $3,600 and I will have to pay it back by April this year!
Just wondering if there's any point calling them and pleading for mercy due to the difficulty of accurately predicting my earnings?? Anyone had any experience with this?
Also: we can't pay it upfront, if we do a payment plan will the total amount be more because of interest?

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Answers (8)

This happens all the time, it's nothing to stress about, you're not in trouble. You can enter a payment plan and you will not incur interest.

Yep, only option is a payment plan. Even if you were not at fault in any way, they still expect it paid back (happened to me recently). They’re pretty good at working out affordable payment plans though.

They overpaid me too once. $1000 extra just showed in my bank account. I called them straight away but they didn't want it, they were really casual about it. They eventually wanted it back like a year later & just garnished our payments.

Same here. Although they have been cu**s when dealing with them. I couldn't afford the 5000 in 2 weeks and asked for a payment plan. They want no less than 180 a fortnight. And said I should pay it as soon as possile because that's what they want. I said I honestly can't afford too much. I had to settle in 370 a month. I set my income at my rate before tax but they said they overpaid me. I just don't get it.

Your option is to pay it back. You can ask for a payment plan. Always assess your year to date earnings every quarter too and update them then to avoid this in the future

Ring and ask for payment plan, they overpaid me $5000 and I paid it back @ $150 a fortnight no interest,, they were very consoderate about what I could afford each fortnight.

I'm not sure but you used to be able to pay back centrelink debts with tax returns too,