If you disagree or can’t repay a Centrelink debt

Find out what you can do if you disagree or can’t repay a Centrelink debt.

Income apportionment debt pause

We’ve paused repayments on debts that might be related to income apportionment. We’ll let you know if this affects you by SMS and letter. Find out more about income apportionment.

If you want more information or disagree with the debt decision we’ve made

You can contact us and ask us to explain our decision. You can also apply for a formal review.

Read about explanations and formal reviews.

If you can’t repay money

If you aren't able to start repaying money before the due date, please talk to us. It’s important you call us before the due date. If you don’t contact us before the due date we may need to take further action.

If you’re an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Australian, you can call the Centrelink Indigenous Debt Recovery Line.

If you get a payment from us, we’ll start deducting an amount from your regular payment after your due date. If you are worried about having money from your payments deducted, you’ll need to contact us. You can call us on:

If you no longer get a payment from us, you can call the number in your letter.

If you’re considering a debt agreement or bankruptcy

A debt agreement is a way of managing your debt and avoiding bankruptcy.

A debt agreement is a legally binding agreement between you and your creditors, including us. If a debt agreement doesn’t resolve the debt, you may still enter into bankruptcy.

Entering into a debt agreement or bankruptcy doesn't remove your debts. It means we won't recover some debts for the duration of your bankruptcy or agreement.

Read more about debt agreements on the Australian Financial Security Authority (AFSA) website.

Once you have a debt agreement, your administrator will contact us. We'll review your debt agreement and any outstanding Centrelink debts. We’ll then write to you to let you know the outcome.

For help managing debts, you can access free, independent and confidential financial counselling services on the AFSA website.

Page last updated: 2 April 2024.
QC 60296