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Jobs, benefits & flats

Challenging Work and Income decisions: Reviews and appeals

Complaining to the Ombudsman about benefit decisions

What kinds of Work and Income decisions can I take to the Ombudsman?

Ombudsman Act 1975, s 13

The Ombudsman investigate complaints from members of the public about the decisions or conduct of government bodies and officials.

The Ombudsman usually can’t investigate Work and Income decisions about whether you’re entitled to a benefit or other payment, whether to pay you an advance, or whether you’ve been overpaid, because you can take those decisions to a Benefit Review Committee and, if necessary, the Social Security Appeal Authority.

However, the Ombudsman can investigate complaints about the service provided by Work and Income staff, for example:

  • delays in processing your application for a benefit, advance or other payment
  • delays in responding to your letters
  • the standard of service you received from your case manager
  • your phone calls not being returned
  • delays in arranging an appointment for you.

For how to complain to the Ombudsman, see “Challenging decisions and conduct of government agencies” in the chapter “Dealing with government agencies”.

Next Section | Coming off a benefit

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Dealing with Work and Income

Where to go for more support

Community Law


Your local Community Law Centre can provide free initial legal advice and, depending on your situation, may be able to provide ongoing support.

Work and Income


Phone: 0800 559 009

This website contains information about who qualifies for the different benefits and payments and how to apply for them.

Benefit rates

For information about the benefit rates that apply from 1 April 2021, visit:


Beneficiary advocacy groups

There’s likely to be an advocacy group for beneficiaries in your area. Look for them online. If you’re not able to find one, contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau (see below).

Auckland Action Against Poverty


Phone: (09) 634 0591

AAAP provides a free advocacy service for people dealing with Work and Income. They have also published a 30-page “Beneficiary Rights Booklet”, which you can download from their ‘Resources’ page.

Address: 120 Church St, Onehunga, Auckland 1061
Email: advocates@aaap.org.nz

Citizens Advice Bureau


Phone: 0800 FOR CAB (0800 367 222)

Every Citizens Advice Bureau has volunteers who can provide information, particularly on where to access beneficiary advocacy services.

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