The federal government has pursued the estates of up to 200 dead people flagged as owing money under its much-criticised robodebt program.
The Department of Human Services, which controls Centrelink, has been using an algorithm to examine welfare payments and determine if people have been overpaid or collecting money they're not entitled too.
At a Senate hearing on Wednesday night, a committee heard the estates of dead Centrelink clients were contacted 515 times with a view to recovering debts.
In 73 of these cases debts were recovered and 442 were written off, the committee heard.
Liberal senator and Social Services Minister Anne Ruston told the committee "this can occur for a range of reasons, for example, where the department was not aware that the person was deceased, a delay in processing, a manual staff error, or a combination of these factors".
Australian Associated Press