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Centrelink to repay $721 million in robodebts: How to get your refund

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

The Federal Government will refund welfare recipients more than $700 million raised by its so-called “robodebt” system.

The Federal Government has announced it will repay $721 million worth of wrongly-issued debts sent as a result of its much-maligned robodebt system.

Hundreds of thousands of Australians paid the debts, often at great personal expense, before it was discovered in court that the scheme was unlawful and in many cases incorrect.

If you've been affected by the robodebt scheme and believe the notice you paid was incorrect, here's how the refund process will work:

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Minister for Government Service Stuart Robert said affected welfare recipients "do not need to do anything" to receive their refund.

Services Australia will begin contacting 190,000 recipients whose details are up to date from July 1 to receive their overpayment back.

The remaining 183,000 recipients will be contacted – or attempted to be contacted – to ensure their details are up to date.

High school science teacher Katherine is one of the lead plaintiffs in the robodebt class action.

READ MORE: Queensland man took his own life after learning of Centrelink debt, mum says


Known officially as the "Income Compliance Program", the robodebt scheme worked by identifying mismatches in reported income between Centrelink and the Australian Tax Office.

Where customers were thought to have not responded or "fully engaged" with requests to clarify discrepancies between the two totals, a debt was issued automatically by the scheme.

People were automatically contacted if Centrelink thought they might owe more than $1000.

Some 470,000 debts were sent. One in five were found to have been issued based on false information.

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Source: 9News

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