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Changes to Working for Families Welcomed

Changes to Working for Families welcomed

Graham Howell, spokesperson for the Wellington-based Benefit Rights Service welcomes the news that processing of the Working for Families is to be stream-lined -

We are saddened and disturbed but not surprised that 40% of families are under-paid making their already life on very limited incomes harder than it need be.

Even those supposedly over-paid suffer consequences from our experience. We would have hundreds of clients over the years in this situation.

What happens is the over-payment – often small in the scheme of things from the Government finances, but hugely significant for our clients - occurs because they have an increase in hours for their job, usually paid at the minimum wage.

They end up with a tax credit debt. Out of fear of debt to the government they do not apply for the tax credits again even though entitled.

Penalties and interest compound maters.

This means in reality one year they have a small over-payment but for the next several years they are not paid when entitled because they do not apply. Language barriers and the fear of being debt to the tax department mean they do not apply.

Any smoothing of the process, with entitlement paid weekly will benefit these families. So it is welcome news the IRD computer systems is advancing into the 21st century and that the Mums and Dads on low income will get what they deserve and not miss out.

Changes to Work and Income procedures so that they do not automatically stop assistance like the Accommodation Supplement when people find full-time work is also needed as we find hundreds of families and individuals also miss out on this because of trigger happy bureaucrats wanting to wipe people form the records.


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