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Centrelink chased hundreds of people after they DIED for outstanding money they owed

Centrelink chased hundreds of people after they DIED for outstanding money they owed under its controversial ‘robo-debt’ system

  • An algorithm looks at welfare payments and determines whether money is owed 
  • A hearing found the government pursed debt from up to 200 dead people
  • Estates of dead Centrelink clients were contacted 515 times to recover debts

The federal government has pursued the estates of up to 200 dead people flagged as owing money under its much-criticised robodebt program.

The Department of Human Services, which controls Centrelink, has been using an algorithm to examine welfare payments and determine if people have been overpaid or collecting money they’re not entitled too.

At a Senate hearing on Wednesday night, a committee heard the estates of dead Centrelink clients were contacted 515 times with a view to recovering debts.

The Department of Human Services, which controls Centrelink, has been using an algorithm to examine welfare payments and determine if people have been overpaid or collecting money they’re not entitled too (stock image)

In 73 of these cases debts were recovered and 442 were written off, the committee heard.

Liberal senator and Social Services Minister Anne Ruston told the committee ‘this can occur for a range of reasons.’

‘For example, where the department was not aware that the person was deceased, a delay in processing, a manual staff error, or a combination of these factors.’

The government has recently come under fire over its controversial online debt-raising scheme, dubbed ‘robodebt,’ which was rolled out by the Coalition in 2015.

Critics say robodebt doesn’t use accurate technology to determine Centrelink recipients’ debts.

Almost 800,000 debts have been raised from June 2016 to June 2019.  

A New South Wales inquiry is currently looking into robodebt, with a potential class action lawsuit and two separate Federal Court challenges.

At a Senate hearing on Wednesday night, a committee heard the estates of dead Centrelink clients were contacted 515 times with a view to recovering debts (stock image)

At a Senate hearing on Wednesday night, a committee heard the estates of dead Centrelink clients were contacted 515 times with a view to recovering debts (stock image)

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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