Received a benefit in the last 18 years?

Jan Logie
Jan Logie, Green Party social development spokesperson

Work and Income has been underpaying many beneficiaries by a day for the last 18 years. Every time that someone has started getting this state support, there has been a stand-down period. Work and Income was meant to pay from the day the stand-down ended – but has instead been starting the next day.

There will be thousands of New Zealanders who will have been left out of pocket by this Government’s blunder. People receiving benefits in NZ are regularly pulling heroic budgeting feats, and I am sure many will be disappointed to learn that not only has the Government incorrectly interpreted the law but that the Minister has been saying they can’t budget to meet their legal obligations.

The Government should be paying beneficiaries what they are entitled to, rather than trying to cover up a mistake that’s led to years of underpayments. Anyone who started on a benefit in the last 18 years is probably owed an extra day’s pay, and each time they went back on a benefit they were short changed.

Of all the people in NZ who need to get paid what they are entitled to, it is beneficiaries. It is the beneficiaries who routinely get demonised in our media, and to learn that the Government was taking advantage of their lack of power in society is gutting.

The Government is reviewing their process and they may change the law to retrospectively claim the money. But until that legislation goes through, people should apply to get the money that they are owed.

Details about the process, provided by the Claim back your Day from W&I Facebook group, are available here:

https://www.greens.org.nz/sites/default/files/How%20to%20claim%20your%20day.pdf

The form to apply is available here. Have a look, it is really easy to fill in (only one page!):

https://www.greens.org.nz/sites/default/files/Review%20of%20decision%20under%20section%2010A.pdf


4 Comments Posted

  1. Reckon you’re right about the nature of the error DB.

    Lots of money owed.

    Ought to be able to opt out of the process if you aren’t currently on a benefit though. Cost more to ask than to do that more’n likely. I wouldn’t want it, nor bother with it.

  2. The NZ govt no matter who it is has tried to get as much money back from beneficiaries as they can. No sole parent on a benefit gets to see their child support paid by the other parent. All beneficiaries pay secondary tax at approx $20 for every $100 earned yet they dock your pay based on your gross wages. This is a no brainer of course this is just another way to shaft our poorest citizens, that nobody was supposed to notice. Don’t think anyone will get that money back that is just funny.

  3. It’s not a scam, its a fuck-up. Somewhere out there is an analyst or a programmer, probably long since left the government service, who typed a “>” when he should have typed a “>=”, and that error didn’t get picked up in testing, or UAT, or in production for eighteen years. The fact the error didn’t get picked up in testing makes me thing it was a specification error rather than an error between the spec and the program.

    I nearly fell off my chair laughing when the news item came on, as did probably every other person in the country who has ever been involved in professional systems development. Every single one of us knew exactly what happened, as its the type of mistake we’ve all made. We just haven’t gone down in history for having our mistake visible for eighteen years and had no-one notice.

    None of which alters the fact that eighteen years times a lot of beneficiaries is a lot of money owed.

  4. this better not be another scam, we are tired of corrupt Governments, and people that are supposed to have our best interests, as citizens, who supposedly put them there,in the first place, now we wonder if everyone in power is actually selected….

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