Auckland Action Against Poverty is calling on the Government to proactively backpay people who have been unlawfully denied a benefit because they were receiving redundancy pay. Reports by RNZ showthat Work and Income has likely not been using Section 422 of the SocialSecurity Act correctly for decades, denying countless people access to benefitsafter becoming redundant.
“The Government needs to backpay people who were denied a benefit unlawfully by Work and Income due to having redundancy payments. People losing their job as a result of COVID-19 are able to have a sense of financial security.”, says Ricardo Menéndez March, Auckland Action Against Poverty Coordinator.
“Work and Income needs to be held responsible for its ongoing disregard of the principles and legislations laid out by the law. For too long families have been put in severe financial hardship by being denied their rightful entitlements in the welfare system.
“The Government needs to put the toxic culture at the Ministry of Social Development to an end, and proactively offer backpay to anyone who has been unlawfully denied a benefit.
“Additionally, we need reforms to increase the cash asset limits before people lose access to their benefit entitlements. The current welfare system prevents families relying on income from having any sense of financial stability by stripping them of support as soon as they have any small level of cash assets.
“If you’re a single person on the benefit, Work and Income denies access to advance payments if you have more than $1,100 in cash assets, and you are denied an accommodation supplement if you have more than $8,000 worth of cash assets.
“We are calling on the Government to act quickly to ensure our welfare system is fit-for-purpose and those unlawfully denied a benefit receive justice”.