Families are struggling with Centrelink child care debt.
Two emotions rushed through Aleks’ body when she logged into her MyGov account and saw a bill for $ 15,000 on the screen – worry, followed pretty quickly by anxiety.
At first, when she saw the huge number, she felt sick. Did she do something wrong? The next question that came to his mind, however, was worse.
How am I supposed to repay this money?
Thousands of Australian families have been hit with federal government bills demanding they repay childcare subsidies in just a few weeks.
Watch: Family Tax Benefit and Child Care Subsidy Explained. Posting continues after the video.
Childcare allowance is paid on the basis of an estimate of your income, but if your actual income is higher, the government asks for reimbursement.
For example, if your combined income is $ 120,000, you receive a 68-69% discount. If you are in the $ 140,000 range, that percentage rises to between 56 and 60%. Income of $ 170,000 will drop your repayment to 51-52 percent.
The point is, it’s pretty easy to underestimate, especially if your circumstances change over the course of the year; if you get bonuses, if you receive payments, you can’t “estimate” in advance, or you work as a freelance writer and set your salary as you go.
Since the pandemic struck, there has also been an increase in layoffs as employers downsize to deal with lockdowns. This lump sum ended up in the annual income of families, causing them to increase as having higher incomes.
Centrelink has sent letters across the country detailing debts dating back to the 2017-18 tax year. Most of the bills are due next month.
As Aleks told the Mamamia news podcast The Quicky, “the number is too large for me to tackle at this time with everything that is going on.”
Not only is the pandemic causing conflict, but the Australian mother recently separated from her husband, which she said “adds another layer of complexity.”