Owing money

If you owe us money your payments may be affected.


If you owe us money, we will send you an Account Payable letter telling you:

  • why you owe the money
  • the amount you owe
  • when the amount is due to be paid, and
  • how you can make the payment

You may receive a phone call from one of our Debt Recovery phone numbers: 1800 076 072 or 1800 462 425.

Phone calls from the above numbers are genuine and not a hoax or scam.

We recover amounts owed to Medicare, Child Support and Centrelink.

If you are unable to pay the amount owing by the due date, please call us. We can give you advice on payment options.

Your payments may be affected

If the amount owing is not paid by the due date, your income support payment may be reduced to help repay this amount. You may not be able to get an advance payment until the amount owing is repaid.

Repayment of Centrelink debts

For income support payments, the standard repayment rate is 15% of your payment. If you have other income, such as earnings from employment or investments, the repayment rate can be higher than 15%. Different deduction rates apply to other payment types.

If you have any questions about your income support payment being reduced to help repay the amount owing, or you would like to discuss the amount being deducted, please call us on 1800 076 072. Indigenous customers can contact a specialist team by calling 1800 138 193.

Rate change

If we agree to a lesser repayment rate, it will be for 3 months. After this time the rate will be automatically reviewed based on your income and assets.

If your repayment rate is going to change we will send you a letter 21 days before the new rate will take effect.

Making repayments

Formalise your payment arrangement by calling 1800 076 072 or, if you identify as Indigenous, call 1800 138 193 before using any of the following payment methods:

Payment method Information
Direct debit To arrange automatic deductions from your financial institution account, please call us on 1800 076 072 or Indigenous customers can call us on 1800 138 193

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

The Biller code is 21915. Your reference number can be found on your Account Payable letter or any other letters you receive from us that have payment options displayed.

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

Read more on the BPAY website

Australia Post

In person: Payments may be made at any Australia Post office or postal outlet using EFTPOS, cash, cheque or money order. Use the barcode on your Account Payable letter or any other letters you receive from us that have payment options displayed.

You may also request a payment card to allow you to make regular payments at any Australia Post office or postal outlet. Please call us on 1800 076 072, or Indigenous customers can call us on 1800 138 193, to arrange for a card to be issued to you.

Payments can also be made via Australia Post’s POSTbillpay service:

By phone: call 131 816

Online: on the Australia POSTbillpay website
The Post Billpay Code is 0802

myGov or Centrelink online account

If you are registered to use myGov or a Centrelink online account you can use the make a repayment service in your online account. Payments will be made via the Australia Post’s POSTbillpay service link.

The Billpay code and your reference number can be found on your Account Payable letter or on any other Department of Human Services letter you receive that has payment options displayed.

Mail A cheque or money order should be made payable to:
Department of Human Services
Collector of Public Monies
Locked Bag 33
GPO Brisbane QLD 4001

Failure to repay

If you do not repay the amount owing by the due date, and we have not agreed to an extension of time for repayment, other action may be taken including:

  • referring your account to an external collection agency such as Dun and Bradstreet
  • reducing your income support payments to help repay the amount owing
  • referring your case to our solicitors for legal action, or
  • issuing a garnishee on your wages, your tax refund, or other assets and income, including money you may hold in a bank account

External collection agencies

Dun and Bradstreet is a collection agent we contract to follow up outstanding Centrelink debts. They may contact you by telephone or send a letter. If you get a letter from Dun and Bradstreet it is important you contact them immediately to discuss your payment options.

The privacy and security of your personal information is protected while your account is with Dun and Bradstreet 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 provide feedback with our Customer Relations Unit by:

  • calling 1800 132 468 Freecall™
  • sending us a secure online message, or
  • writing to:

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 Ministry of Social Development New Zealand.

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

Bankruptcy and debt agreements

If you are unable to make repayments, you may consider entering a debt agreement as a way of managing your debt and avoiding bankruptcy. A debt agreement is a legally binding agreement between you and us about the repayment of your debt. If a debt agreement is unable to resolve the debt, you may still enter into bankruptcy.

Entering into bankruptcy or a debt agreement does not eliminate all debts, but we will not recover some debts for the duration of your bankruptcy or agreement.

You must take steps to begin the debt agreement process and advise all creditors. To read more about or begin the debt agreement process, visit the debt agreement overview page on the Australian Financial Security Authority website.

An administrator will contact us with details of your case. We'll review your outstanding debts, take the appropriate action and advise you in writing of the outcome.

Page last updated: 18 August 2016