Owing money

If you owe money to the Department of Human Services, you will be sent an account payable letter telling you why you owe the money, the amount owed, when the amount is due to be paid and how you can make the payment. The Department of Human Services manages the recovery of amounts owed as a result of overpayment of Medicare, Centrelink and Child Support services.

If you are unable to pay the amount owing by the due date, please contact us on 136 330 as soon as possible. We can help you with advice on payment options.

Your payments may be affected

If the amount owing is not paid by the due date, your payments from the department may be reduced to help repay this amount. You may not be able to get advance payments until the amount owing is repaid.

Repayment of debts

For Centrelink payments, the standard repayment rate is 15 per cent. If you have other income, such as earnings from employment or investments, the repayment rate can be higher than 15 per cent as it is calculated using a sliding scale based on your income. Different deduction rates apply to other payments.

If you have any questions about your Centrelink payment being reduced to help repay the amount owing, or you would like to discuss the amount being deducted, please contact us on 136 330.

If we agree to a different repayment rate, this will be for three months. After this time the rate will be automatically reviewed based on your income and assets.

If your repayment rate is going to change you will receive a letter 21 days beforehand.

Making repayments

Payment methodDetail

Cheques and money orders should be made payable to the Collector of Public Money, Centrelink.

Please write your Centrelink Reference Number (CRN) and full name on the back of the cheque or money order and mail the payment to the address shown on your account or repayment letter.


You can make payments by calling Australia Post's POSTbillpay service on 131 816.

The Billpay code and your reference number can be found on your account payable letter or any Centrelink or Family Assistance letter that has payment options included.

In personIf you have an account payable letter, a letter from Centrelink or Family Assistance with a bar-coded payment section at the bottom of the page or a Centrelink Repayment Card, you can make payments via Australia Post's POSTbillpay service at any Australian post office or postal outlet.

You can make payments via Australia Post's POSTbillpay service. To make a payment, refer to the POSTbillpay website.

If you are registered to use our Customer Online Services, you can use the make a repayment service in the Online services section of our website.

The Billpay code and your reference number can be found on your account payable letter or any Centrelink or Family Assistance letter that has payment options included.

Direct debitTo arrange automatic deductions from your financial institution account, please contact us on 136 330.

You can make payments via BPAY by telephone or internet banking. You can access this service through your own financial institution.

The Biller code is 21915. Your reference number can be found on your account payable letter or any Centrelink or Family Assistance letter that has payment options included.

Please note that Centrelink does not accept credit card payments via BPAY.

If your financial institution allows a BPAY payment to be made from your credit card, you may be charged additional fees or interest. You should check this with your financial institution before making a payment.

Failure to repay

If you do not repay the amount owing and we have not agreed to extend the time for payment, other action may be taken including:

  • referring your account to an external collection agency (Dun & Bradstreet or Recoveries Corporation)
  • reducing your payments from Centrelink to help repay the amount owing
  • referring your case to our solicitors for legal action, and/or
  • issuing a garnishee on your wages, your tax refund, other assets and income (including money you may hold in a bank account).

External collection agencies

Dun & Bradstreet and Recoveries Corporation are collection agencies contracted to follow up unpaid Centrelink debts. If you get a letter from either Dun & Bradstreet or Recoveries Corporation, it is important you contact them immediately to discuss your payment options. They may also contact you by telephone.

The privacy and security of your personal information is protected while your account is with Dun & Bradstreet or Recoveries Corporation and your credit rating will not be affected.

If you have a complaint about the service you received from an external collection agent, you can lodge feedback with the Department of Human Services Customer Relations Unit.

You can give us your feedback by;

  • Calling the Customer Relations Unit on free call 1800 050 004
  • Send us a secure online message, or
  • Write to us (no postage stamp required) at:

DHS Customer Relations
Reply Paid 7788
Canberra Business Centre ACT 2610

Recovering overpayments from other Australian Government departments

Deductions may be made to recover money owed to other Australian Government departments, including the Department of Veterans Affairs. We also recover some overpayments on behalf of the New Zealand Department of Work and Income.

We will let you know if we are going to recover any of these overpayments from your Centrelink payments.