If you get a payment from us now

How you repay money you owe if you get a payment from us.

Deducting from your payment

From the date your debt is due, we’ll start deducting money from a payment you get from us. You don’t need to do anything to set this up.

How much we deduct depends on which payment you get. For example, if you get an income support payment our standard deduction is 15%.

You can select Money you owe in your Centrelink online account through myGov or the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app to:

  • see how much we’re deducting
  • change the amount we deduct.

At any time, you can make extra payments towards the money you owe. This could be a regular payment or a one-off payment.

Garnisheeing tax refunds

If you owe us money, we may ask the Australian Taxation Office to help us get it back. We can ask them to garnishee your tax refund. This means they will withhold or give us some or all of your tax refund or available credit. If we do, we’ll send you a letter to let you know.

Recovering debts for other Australian and New Zealand government departments

We may deduct money from your Centrelink payment to recover money you owe to other Australian Government departments. This includes the Department of Veterans' Affairs.

We also recover money on behalf of the Ministry of Social Development, New Zealand. We’ll let you know if we’re going to recover any over payments from your income support payment.

Recovering debts from Family Tax Benefit and Child Care Subsidy payments

If you have an outstanding debt with us or we’ve paid you too much Family Tax Benefit (FTB), we can recover it from any of the following:

  • FTB top up and lump sum claim payments
  • FTB supplements.

We can also recover FTB debts from your tax refund.

We can recover your debt from these payments even if you’ve entered into a repayment arrangement with us.

If you have an outstanding debt with the ATO, they may recover it from both of the following:

  • your FTB top up and supplements
  • your FTB lump sum claim payments.

If you have an outstanding child care debt with us, we may recover it from any of the following:

  • your Child Care Subsidy (CCS) top up and arrears payments
  • tax refunds.

Page last updated: 1 July 2022