Two years ago Dean Hefford received a letter from Centrelink saying he owed them money.
The amount was relatively small, about $2000, compared to others around Tasmania and across Australia but it still took its toll.
On Friday, Government Services Minister Stuart Robert announced 371,000 Australians would be refunded for 470,000 wrongly issued debts.
The debts were issued through a system, known as robo-debt, which compared income averages from Australian Tax Office data with Centrelink reporting.
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The refund is expected to cost about $721 million.
Mr Hefford said a wave of relief washed over him when he heard about the decision.
"They f---ing admitted it, I was right all along," he said.
"All along now I feel like I have been telling the truth like I have been, proved them wrong, finally.
"But it took a court action to do it, it is pretty bad, they don't take your word for it."
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He said he tried to discuss the debt with Centrelink when he first got the letter but was called a liar.
"I was pretty upset [when I got the letter] because as far as I am concerned I have always tried to do the right thing by Centrelink," Mr Hefford said.
Mr Hefford said the last two years have been a struggle financially and emotionally.
"I couldn't make ends meet really ... it is so hard to live off the income that they give you, especially under my circumstances," he said.
"I have gone through depression because of this."
Mr Hefford wants the government to apologise.
He said it would show him that they know what they did was wrong.
Federal Labor Lyons MHR Brian Mitchell agreed with Mr Hefford's call for the government apology.
This will go down in history as one of the most despicable, disgusting policies in Australian history and Scott Morrison's fingers are all over it.Brian Mitchell
"The Prime Minister should absolutely apologise for the robo-debt scheme," he said,
"The Prime Minister was a key architect of robo-debt when he was treasurer, his hands are all over this frankly illegal, criminal scam and he should absolutely apologise."
He said the system was a scam run by the federal government.
"People have had money literally stolen from them that they didn't owe," Mr Mitchell said.
"It is difficult to believe that the sort of scam you would get on the internet, wanting your money, has actually been sanctioned and signed off by the Prime Minister of Australia. This will go down in history as one of the most despicable, disgusting policies in Australian history and Scott Morrison's fingers are all over it."
Mr Mitchell said although the money was important, the decision to refund also restored the reputation and dignity of hundreds of thousands of Australians.
On Monday Prime Minister Scott Morrison admitted the system was illegal but did not apologise.
The government has great regrets about any pain or injury that has been caused here but as I said those are still issues we are still working through, we are making it right and I think that is the important step.Scott Morrison
He said the issue with the scheme was not the technology but the idea of income averaging.
"We are in the process of making this right," Mr Morrison said.
"The principal that sits at the heart of this is not technology, it is income averaging. Income averaging has been practised by Labor and Coalition governments for a long period of time.
"These are difficult issues to manage and I think the government has great regrets about any pain or injury that has been caused here but as I said those are still issues we are still working through, we are making it right and I think that is the important step."
Tasmanian Council of Social Services acting chief executive officer Simone Zell said the government should apologise for the scheme.
She said the refunding and waiving of robo-debts was welcomed but the damage caused was irreversible.
"Absolutely the government should apologise ... and [should] very quickly and efficiently repay the payments, and then, importantly, ensure it never happens again," Ms Zell said.
"It is just the human thing to do, to apologise for the mistake and to make it right."
In February, The Examiner reported Tasmania was over-represented in the robo-debt class action.
Tasmanians represented 4.5 per cent of applicants in the class action while Tasmania only accounted for 2.1 per cent of Australia's population.
This is an example of how an automated system without human oversight wreaked havoc with people in our community who are disadvantaged. In Australia we are better than this.Simone Zell
Ms Zell said it was likely tens of thousands of Tasmanians would be eligible for a refund.
"We know that tens of thousands of people were affected initially, so we understand that similar numbers of people will be paid back their debts that were incorrectly collected," she said.
"This is an example of how an automated system without human oversight wreaked havoc with people in our community who are disadvantaged.
"In Australia, we are better than this, so we really need to see trust being rebuilt by the government and to ensure that it never happens again."
Tasmanian Liberal senator Eric Abetz said the robo-debt issue was sub-optimal.
"I personally thought that the letter forwarding the robo-debt was far too assertive and aggressive," he said.
"I for one am aware of the anguish and genuine worry that it caused to a lot of people and I was very privileged to be able to help resolve a lot of those issues for a lot of those people. As for a government apology that is for the government and the minister to determine."
Mr Robert's office was asked for comment on if he or the government would apologise for the scheme. The Examiner was directed to comments from a media statement made on Friday by Mr Robert's in which no apology was made.
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