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