What it means when we pause debt activities

We may pause debt recovery and stop raising some overpayments in areas affected by natural disasters or health emergencies.

What you need to do

During a debt pause, we’ll temporarily stop raising debts for people in affected postcodes. This means that we may not notify you of any new debts you have until the pause has lifted. You don’t need to do anything to be included in the debt pause. We will also not actively recover debts you have, unless you want us to.

A reminder will also appear in your Centrelink online account through myGov or Express Plus Centrelink mobile app with information about the pause.

If your circumstances change at any time during a pause, it’s important to let us know to help avoid an overpayment.

If you have an existing debt

If you already have a debt repayment arrangement in place with us, your repayments won’t automatically stop during a debt pause. Your repayments will continue unless you choose to pause or change them. If you want to keep paying off your debt at the same rate, you don’t need to do anything.

If you were overpaid during or before a debt pause

When a debt pause ends, we’ll start raising debts again. If you are overpaid during a debt pause, you can still get a debt, which you’ll need to pay back. After the debt pause ends, we will notify you if you have a new debt.

Read more about how to repay money you owe to Centrelink.

How to change repayments during a pause

You can pause or change your repayments using the Money you owe service in either:

When you open the app or your online account, select Money you owe then Edit your payment arrangement or Cease payment arrangement from the menu.

Your updated payment arrangement details will then display, including an updated end date if you paused your repayments.

If your circumstances change and you want to restart your debt repayments sooner, you can do so using the Money you owe service.

What other help is available

If you can’t start repaying money by the due date or are in financial hardship and need other support, please call your regular Centrelink payment line or the Centrelink recovery line on 1800 076 072.

If you’re worried about your financial situation we have extra support available.

Page last updated: 4 May 2022