Centrelink apologises over letter which cited wrong law, misspelled agency's name

Centrelink apologises over letter which cited wrong law, misspelled agency's name

Centrelink apologises over letter which cited wrong law, misspelled agency's name

Updated 28 April 2017, 13:10 AEST

Centrelink blames human error for a mistake-filled letter sent to a Melbourne student which, among its faults, misspells the agency's name and cites the wrong law as reason to request information about the man's Austudy allowance.

Centrelink has apologised to a Melbourne student who was left confused by a letter that includes multiple typos, misspells the agency's own name and cites an irrelevant law.

The letter, sent to Ben Klein on April 20, advised him his Austudy payments would end in February next year.

But the document included at least a dozen errors, including references to Mr Klein's "lastest claim" and incorrectly spelling the agency's name as "Cedntrelink".

It is also unsigned and unevenly spaced.

Despite being about Austudy payments, the letter said the notice was given under "paid parental leave law".

Mr Klein is single with no children.

As Centrelink faces an inquiry over the recent robo-debt crisis, when debt letters were automatically generated by computers, the Department of Human Services said Mr Klein's letter was not produced by a machine.

"This particular letter was created from a manual template which is only designed to be used in situations where a system-generated letter does not appropriately reflect the recipient's circumstances," Department General Manager Hank Jongen said in a statement.

"The mistakes in this letter are the result of human error."

'Quality assurance not followed': Centrelink

Mr Klein, who is studying an Advanced Diploma of Music Industry at Tafe, was not initially convinced the letter was real.

"The only reason I realised it was legit was because all my details were on it," he said.

"It's so bad, it looks like a scam."

He took it on himself to correct the letter, giving it a tongue-in-cheek fail mark and a "very poor, see me" tag, mimicking the response from a teacher.

The Department of Human Services said it typically sent system-generated letters using controlled content and did not use overseas workers to generate letters.

"Unfortunately, usual quality assurance processes also were not followed in this case," Mr Jongen said.

"We apologise the letter was inadvertently sent without this checking occurring."

Mr Klein said he would contact Centrelink on Friday to try to sort out the payment issue.