The Latest On Centrelink's HUGE Debt Repayment Blunder
ICYMI: Recently thousands of Australians on welfare were incorrectly asked to repay thousands of dollars, after Centrelink sent out letters chasing up money because of a suspected computer glitch.
As a result, the Commonwealth Ombudsman have now been asked to investigate faults with Centrelink's new automated data matching system that resulted in welfare recipients being wrongly hounded to pay debts.
Independent MP Andrew Wilkie has asked the ombudsman to step in after receiving more than 100 complaints to his electoral office about problems with the debt recovery process.
"The government has terrified countless people, ruined the Christmases of many and even driven some people to contemplate taking their own lives," Mr Wilkie said in a statement.
The federal government is looking to claw back $4 billion in overpayments.
Social Services Minister Christian Porter insists the system is working "incredibly well" and the complaint rate was low - only 276 complaints out of 169,000 letters.
But Mr Wilkie insists the minister has his head in the sand.
"You don't have to be a genius to tell that taking someone's yearly income and dividing by 26 is not always going to produce accurate results if only because people's circumstances change," he said.
Labor's spokeswoman on human services Linda Burney called for the system to be suspended immediately until an algorithm is fixed.
"The way in which the debt is being calculated is absolutely wrong," she told Nine Network.
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Source: AAP/Staff Writers