A mother-of-seven who spent $45,000 in Centrelink overpayments has said she will go bankrupt if she loses a new court case.
Brisbane woman Carly Hockey, 41, was initially told to repay $44,700, beginning in a series of monthly installments two years ago.
She refused to pay at first, but eventually paid back $5,000 before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal ruled she did not have to pay the remainder.
Now she claims she is being taken to the Federal Court, and said if she loses she will be forced to pay Centrelink’s legal fees, which could bankrupt her.
A mother-of-seven (pictured) who spent $45,000 in Centrelink overpayments has said she will go bankrupt if she loses a new court case
Ms Hockey claims she is being taken to the Federal Court, and said if she loses she will be forced to pay Centrelink’s legal fees, which could bankrupt her
‘What this means is that I now have to engage a lawyer to fight this again, at a Federal Court level,’ she wrote on Facebook on Sunday.
‘If the case is not dismissed, and the court finds that it needs to be sent back to the Tribunal to be reheard, then I am legally responsible to pay for Centrelink’s legal costs.
‘This can amount in the tens of thousands of dollars. That action will bankrupt me and cause my family untold amounts of stress – especially as I am the only provider for my two little boys, whose father tragically passed away when they were young.
‘A department that is “for the most vulnerable in our society” is taking this mother to the Federal Court for a mistake they made, that they know they made, they admitted to making and I was found to have done the right things all along.’
Queensland mother Carly Hockey (pictured) was told two years ago she owed about $45,000 to Centrelink, but she successfully fought the case at an appeals tribunal
Ms Hockey claims she reported the error, but the increased payments continued until the government noticed and asked for the money back in a series of bills two years ago
Ms Hockey claims she reported the overpayments, but the increased payments continued until the government noticed and asked for the money back.
Ms Hockey insisted the government was to blame and it wasn’t her ‘responsibility’ to pay the full sum back, A Current Affair reported.
‘I felt bullied … I found it very challenging and Centrelink certainly didn’t care about me,’ she said.
‘I rang Centrelink straight away [about the error] … we were very concerned and thinking “What has gone on here?”
Ms Hockey (pictured) refused to pay a cent, insisting the government was to blame and it wasn’t her ‘responsibility’ to pay it back
‘We haven’t changed any of our information, so why has this jumped up so much?’
Faced with a bill for tens of thousands of dollars, Ms Hockey took her case to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
The Queensland mother won her case, with the AAT finding she acted in good faith and had been upfront with Centrelink about her situation.
Daily Mail Australia contacted Carly Hockey for comment.
The Department of Human Services declined to comment on Ms Hockey’s Federal Court appeal, launched last week against the Administrative Appeals Tribunal’s April decision.
‘As the matter remains the subject of litigation, it is inappropriate for the department to comment on the matter,’ a spokeswoman said.
The Queensland mother won her case at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, although not before she repaid Centrelink (file image) $5,000, according to A Current Affair