Trouble with Work and Income: Penalties, investigations and overpayments
What penalties (sanctions) can be imposed?
Social Security Act 2018, ss 236–239, 244, 253
This will depend on whether you’ve been sanctioned before, and if so, how many times:
- First sanction – The first time, your main benefit will be cut by 50 percent until you meet your obligations (“re-comply”). If you haven’t re-complied within four weeks after your benefit was cut, it will be cut entirely until you do re-comply.
- Second sanction – If you’re sanctioned a second time (after you re-complied following a first sanction), your main benefit will be suspended entirely (cut by 100 percent) until you re-comply.
- Third sanction – If you’re sanctioned a third time (after you re-complied following a second sanction), your main benefit will be cancelled, and you’ll need to re-apply for the benefit. You won’t be able to re-apply until 13 weeks after the cancellation, and when you re-apply you’ll face tougher eligibility criteria than when you were originally granted the benefit.
If you’re a teenager getting the Youth Payment or the Young Parent Payment, there are some specific penalties if you don’t meet your obligations: see “Sanctions (penalties) if you don’t meet your obligations” under “Qualifying for the Youth Payment”, and see “Sanctions (penalties) if you don‘t meet your obligations” under “Teenage parents (Young Parent Payment”).