A young mother battling with cancer has claimed she is an “emotional wreck” as she fears losing her Centrelink payments due to a “robodebt”.
Anna Grubb, 26, spoke openly about her struggles on Monday night’s episode of A Current Affair, claiming she has been fighting with Centrelink to ensure her single parent pension doesn’t come to an end.
The distraught mum-of-one, who suffers from Hodgkins lymphoma, explained she hasn’t been able to gain employment due to her chemotherapy and is scared that Centrelink will stop her benefits.
She told the Channel Nine program her application for a disability support pension has been rejected by Centrelink on the basis her disease can be cured. While she is also struggling to pay off a $2,000 debt to the government department.
“I’m just an emotional wreck constantly,” Anna said as she fought back tears. “It’s turned my world upside down, it’s not fair.”
Anna explained Centrelink currently requires her to look for 14 hours of work a week but it’s not that easy when she is battling with cancer and trying to look after her daughter.
“It’s just ridiculous and hard and stressful,” she continued. “It just puts so much more stress that I don’t need, I’m trying to get better, not worse.”
According to Nine News, the mother is just one of hundreds of thousands of welfare recipients who have been ordered to pay back debts they were completely unaware of. This information is reportedly detected using ATO data.
Now the Victoria Legal Aid is reportedly calling for action against Centrelink’s system to ensure people, such as Anna, are not left out of pocket.
Speaking to A Current Affair, the body’s executive of civil justice access and equity Rowan McRae explained they are making two main arguments in the legal challenge.
“The first relates to the algorithm that Centrelink is using to average out people’s incomes and we say that algorithm is really inaccurate,” she said.
“The other argument we’re making is that robodebt shifts the burden onto the person to disprove the debt and we’re saying that’s Centrelink asking the person to do its job for them.”
Thankfully for Anna, since A Current Affair has gotten in touch, Centrelink has provided her with an extension to pay back her debt while they are also reviewing her application for the disability support pension.