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Challenging Work and Income decisions: Reviews and appeals


What kinds of Work and Income decisions can I challenge?

Social Security Act 2018, ss 391–399, Sched 7

Work and Income make hundreds of decisions a week, and not all of them are correct. Any decision made by a Work and Income staff member can be challenged and their decision can be reviewed, for example:

  • declining your request for a benefit (including a main benefit, supplementary assistance, or hardship assistance)
  • setting the start date of your benefit
  • setting the level of supplementary or hardship assistance
  • any change Work and Income makes to your rate or payment (for example charging income)
  • reducing your benefit (a “sanction”) on the alleged grounds that you failed the work test, or didn’t declare income, or are in a relationship with someone.

Tip:   You should always ask for a decision to be given to you in writing (a letter or an email) because you need the decision in writing before you can challenge it. Sometimes, Work and Income will tell you that you are not eligible for something, but will not provide you with the decision in writing, which means they have not formally ‘declined’ your request for assistance.

How do I apply for a review?

Social Security Act 2018, ss 391–394, Sched 7

You can either:

When you apply for a review, you can add any extra information (for example, further medical evidence) that might support your claim.

How long do I have to apply for a review?

Social Security Act 2018, s 392

You can apply for a review of decision anytime, but if it is more than three months after you were notified of the decision, you must provide a ‘good and sufficient’ reason for the delay in requesting a review. For example, you didn’t understand the decision until talking with a lawyer or advocate.

What happens after I apply for a review?

After you apply for the review, Work and Income will first carry out an internal review of the decision. The staff member who made the decision will prepare a report for the manager of the relevant service centre to consider.

If this internal review does not change the decision, Work and Income will prepare a report and a hearing will be scheduled. The hearing will either be with a Benefit Review Committee, or a Medical Appeal Board (if the decision was based around a medical assessment).

You’ll be sent a copy of Work and Income’s report so that you can prepare and present a response at the hearing.

The hearing should happen within four weeks after you applied for the review.

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Dealing with Work and Income

Where to go for more support

Community Law

Your local Community Law Centre can provide you with free initial legal advice.

Find your local Community Law Centre online: www.communitylaw.org.nz/our-law-centres

Ministry of Social Development – Work and Income (WINZ)

See Work and Income’s website for information on whether you qualify for a benefit and how to apply for them.

Website: www.workandincome.govt.nz
Phone:  0800 559 009

Auckland Action Against Poverty (AAAP)

AAAP is a free nationwide advocacy service for people dealing with Work and Income.

Website: www.aaap.org.nz
Email: advocates@aaap.org.nz
Instagram: www.instagram.com/aucklandactionagainstpoverty
Facebook: www.facebook.com/AAAPNZ/

Helpful resources for beneficiaries: www.aaap.org.nz/resources

Beneficiaries Advocacy and Information Services (BAIS)

BAIS provides free advocacy and support for beneficiaries and low-income families in Auckland’s North Shore, Rodney and Hibiscus Coast districts.

Website: www.bais.org.nz
Phone: 09 444 9543
Instagram: www.instagram.com/bais.northshoreandrodney
Facebook: www.facebook.com/BAISnorthshoreandrodey   

Hutt Valley Benefit Education Service Trust (HV BEST)

The HV BEST provides information and support to beneficiaries in the Hutt Valley. 

Website: www.hvbest.co.nz
Email: hvbest@xtra.co.nz
Phone: 04 529 8108

Beneficiaries & Unwaged Workers Trust (BUWT)

BUWT provides information, advice and support to people on low incomes in Nelson.

Website: www.buwt.wordpress.com
Email: buwtcs@xtra.co.nz
Phone: 03 548 8171
Facebook: www.facebook.com/groups/282105670089970/?locale=pt_PT

Beneficiary Advisory Service (BAS)

The BAS provides information and support to beneficiaries in Christchurch.

Website: www.bas.org.nz
Email: bas.cprc@gmail.com
Phone: 0800 00 00 43
Facebook: www.facebook.com/BeneficiaryAdvisoryService

Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB)

CAB provides free, confidential and independent information and advice. See CAB’s website for valuable information on a range of topics.

Website: www.cab.org.nz
Phone: 0800 367 222
Facebook:  www.facebook.com/citizensadvicenz

Find your local CAB office: www.cab.org.nz/find-a-cab

Zero Data

Zero Data is a new digital support that allows anyone with a mobile device, phone or tablet to access essential Government information for free. No data is used.

Website: www.zero.govt.nz

What do I need do I need for it to work?

  •  The device is on.
  •  The device is connected to Spark, Skinny One NZ, 2Degrees, Slingshot or Orcon.

You can access information from the following agencies:

  • Te Manatū Whakahiato Ora | Ministry of Social Development
  • Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga | Ministry of Education
  • Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs
  • Te Whatu Ora | Health New Zealand
  • Kāinga Ora | Homes & Communities
  • Te Tāhū o te Ture | Ministry of Justice
  • Te Kaporeihana Āwhina Hunga Whara | Accident Compensation Corporation

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