Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme
Minister for Government Services

Media release: Update on Services Australia temporary debt pause

7 December 2021

Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC

Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme
Minister for Government Services

In early August 2021 Services Australia temporarily paused a range of debt activities to help ease pressure on people in locked down Local Government Areas (LGAs).

With COVID-19 restrictions easing, the temporary pause on Centrelink debt activities will lift on 9 January 2022, however people in these LGAs will not be required to make repayments until after 1 July 2022.

Extending the recovery period until next financial year gives people more time to engage with Services Australia about their options before any repayments are required.

As debt activities resume, Services Australia will be there to support people every step of the way.

From 10 January 2022, Services Australia will start writing to people in these areas who may have been overpaid. This gives people certainty about their situation and helps them plan for the future.

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.

If people are experiencing financial hardship or are having difficulty repaying money, they should reach out to Services Australia to discuss support and flexible repayment options available.

While debt recovery will remain on hold until next financial year, people can start making or resume their repayments anytime if they wish to do so.

As always, Services Australia will continue to support people to repay money they owe in a way that best suits their situation. The easiest way to manage repayments is using the Money you owe service in your Centrelink online account or Express Plus Centrelink mobile app.

People can also speak to specialist staff such as social workers who can provide short-term counselling, information and referrals to other services if needed.

For more information or support about repaying a Centrelink debt contact the Centrelink debt line on 1800 076 072 or visit servicesaustralia.gov.au/owingmoney.

Page last updated: 8 December 2021