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Fixing our Special Benefit issue

20 April 2018.

Some clients would have been better off getting Temporary Additional Support.

The Ministry of Social Development helps a huge number of clients all around New Zealand with a wide range of payments every day; nearly all go smoothly.

We’ve found several areas where we acted in good faith but later found our practice was out of sync with the law, including a Special Benefit issue which we’re fixing from today Monday 23 April 2018.

We’ve identified 8,241 current and former clients who would have been better off moving from Special Benefit to Temporary Additional Support when it was introduced in 2006.

At the time we believed people weren’t able to move. We have since found they could have.

We’re putting it right for clients now by moving people to Temporary Additional Support and paying them any money they might have missed out on.

From 23 April 2018 we’ll start contacting over 4704 current clients affected by this issue:

  • 481 current clients, who may be better off moving to Temporary Additional Support (depending on their situation)
  • 4,223 current clients no longer getting Special Benefit, who’d clearly have been better off getting Temporary Additional Support

We’re telling clients what’s happened, apologising and inviting them to move to Temporary Additional Support. Then we can pay clients any money they missed out on and increase their ongoing payments.

Where it’s not clear if clients will be better off moving, we’re inviting them to meet with us and talk about their situation. We’ll help them work out what’s best for them, taking current and future factors into account. We’re suggesting these clients also talk to an independent advocate, advisor, trusted family member or friend before they decide.

It’s easy for current and former clients to find more information and enquire online if we owe them money on the Work and Income website.

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