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Trouble with Work and Income: Penalties, investigations and overpayments

Information sharing and matching between Work and Income and other government agencies

Social Security Act 2018, s 6, Sched 2, Sched 6, cl 13, cl 14, cl 15 Privacy Act 1993, Part 9 & Sched 2A, Part 10 & Sched 3 Privacy (Information Sharing Agreement between Inland Revenue and Ministry of Social Development) Order 2017

If you don’t update Work and Income about a change in your circumstances, they might still be able to find out because of information-sharing and information-matching agreements with other government agencies (see: “Can government bodies share personal information between each other?”).

For example, Work and Income can find out:

  • Your employment status and whether your income matches what you’ve declared – Work and Income has both information-sharing and information-matching agreements with Inland Revenue (IRD). If you haven’t declared income, Work and Income will probably notify you that you’ve been overpaid. There are specific rules as to how soon Work and Income must take action in these cases (see: “Overpayments: When you’re paid too much by mistake”).
  • When you leave New Zealand – Work and Income has information-matching agreements with the New Zealand Customs Service. Generally, you can’t keep getting a work-tested benefits while you’re away from New Zealand. There are some exceptions allowed for specific compassionate or medical grounds. People receiving New Zealand Superannuation can be absent for six months before their income support stops (see: “You’re 65 or older”).
  • If you’re serving a prison sentence, or you’re being held in prison until the next step in your case (“on remand”) – The Ministry of Justice provides Work and Income with this information under an information-matching agreement. Generally, your income support will stop, but Work and Income has the discretion to continue income support in some cases.

Work and Income can also give your information to other government agencies – for example, Work and Income can pass on your address and phone number to the Ministry of Justice if you have unpaid fines.

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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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