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Centrelink to resume debt recovery program after coronavirus freeze

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Centrelink’s debt recovery program is set to resume on Monday after it was put on hold for seven months due to the coronavirus.

Centrelink's debt recovery program is set to resume on Monday after it was put on hold for seven months due to the coronavirus.

Services Australia will begin contacting welfare recipients from next week if they think they have been overpaid on their welfare benefits.

Victoria will be excluded from the resumption of the scheme, as will other areas if they are in a state of disaster.

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Repaying the money will be voluntary for all Australians until February 2021, Services Australia said in a statement.

Government Services Minister Stuart Robert said the delay would help people plan for the future.

"This could include adjusting the information they are reporting to Services Australia," he said in a statement.

"As debt activity starts again, Services Australia will work with people to make the process as clear and simple as possible. The agency will explain how debts arose, where to go for more information, how to self-service and offer other support."

The pause in Centrelink's debt recovery scheme has not been without its blunders.

In July, nine.com.au reported on the case of a Perth man who was mistakenly paid $6000 by Services Australia. The man was told he could not return the money until the debt freeze ended.

Centrelink's debt recovery program has been plagued with scandals in recent years as a result of its automated system - know as robodebt - which was wound back last year.

The Federal Government was forced to adjust key details of the robodebt scheme after the averaging system it employed was declared unlawful.

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Is currently facing an enormous class action in the Federal Court.

Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/centrelink-to-resume-debt-recovery-program-after-coronavirus-freeze/46650530-3e06-4852-8c44-d8e099797824

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