Centrelink confesses to $2.84 billion overpayment bungle

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In its latest bungle, Centrelink last year overpaid welfare recipients $2.84 billion, the new Human Services Minister Michael Keenan has confessed. The Department of Human Services (DHS) paid around 2.4 million people an average of $1174 each more than they were entitled to receive during the year.

The figures were released by the Federal Government last week, with human error and fraud blamed for the overpayments.

“It is important that the system operates with integrity, that people are not overpaid more than they are entitled to,” said Mr Keenan.

DHS has only recovered about $1.64 billion to date, with debt collectors used to retrieve $126 million.

The Federal Opposition was quick to comment on the release of the data, with Labor frontbencher Doug Cameron saying that the Turnbull government was incompetent in its running of Centrelink.

“Last year, 55 million calls went unanswered to Centrelink and average call wait times have increased,” Mr Cameron said.

What do you think? Are the overpayment numbers concerning? What would you do if Centrelink overpaid you and then demanded you repay the money?

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