Here Is Your Update - August 2014 - Issue 26

Contact Centre Call Recording

The contact centre record calls for the purpose of training, quality and improving our services to clients. Recordings are only held for 90 days at which point they are deleted.

If the recorded call is a key factor for the decision under review, the Ministry or BRC can request a written summary, provided the request is made within 90 days of the call being made.

Shared Custody – Section 70B RODs

The Review and Client Representative Team has been working with Legal Services to develop a letter template. The template is to be used in cases of shared custody when the caregiver who has not been deemed to be the primary seeks a review of that decision and therefore could impact on the primary caregiver’s entitlement.

A copy of the shared custody template letter is attached. Thank you Kim Morton, Community Representative from Canterbury for your input.

Employment and work readiness assistance

Work and Income provides a range of employment and work readiness assistance to help clients move towards, and remain in, unsubsidised work. The assistance available is targeted to improve client employment and social independence in the community, and focuses on those at risk of long term benefit receipt.

There are two types of assistance available:

Employment and Work Readiness Assistance Programme - What can’t be reviewed under section 12J?

Some decisions made by the Ministry are not able to be appealed to the Appeal Authority (and therefore have no right to be reviewed by a BRC) which includes the following Employment and Training Assistance decisions:

  • Flexi-wage self-employment assistance (flexi-wage subsidy and flexi-wage capitalisation grant)
  • Extra employment support for people with ill-health or disabilities (except for PATHS which can be reviewed)

New assistance available

Incentive payment - $3k to Christchurch

$3K to Christchurch is an incentive payment to assist applicants who have secured sustainable and full-time employment, to move to the Christchurch area.

Housing Support Products

Assistance is now available to clients who can sustain alternative accommodation that is not social housing, but require assistance to access or retain the alternative housing. The specific assistance available is:

Note: Letting fees assistance referred to in this issue is no longer available.

Social Housing – tenancy reviews

From 1 July 2014, all clients in social housing can have their tenancy reviewed. However, the focus of the initial reviews is aimed at people most likely to sustain alternative housing.

Our website has detailed information about the changes:

Social Housing Changes- What can’t be reviewed under section 12J?

Some decisions made by the Ministry are not able to be appealed to the Appeal Authority (and therefore have no right to be reviewed by a BRC) which includes the following social housing decisions:

  • The decision not to review the clients housing need
  • Any decision made by a housing provider regarding tenancy- related matters such as:
    • the determination of a market rent rate
    • rent arrears
    • damages debt or
    • whether someone can join into a tenancy agreement.

Relationship Debt Sharing (RDS) - from 7 July 2014

On 7 July 2014, new legislation referred to as RDS comes into force. This legislation is a specific response to relationship fraud by making partners of beneficiaries, as well as beneficiaries, accountable for welfare fraud or dishonest behaviour in certain circumstances. It also ensures that the Ministry continues to recover debt effectively while enabling it to exercise sensible discretion in managing debt recovery in individual cases.

The changes introduced by this legislation does not alter or modify the existing investigation process, but does mean that we will be working with some people that we haven’t worked with before while at the same time providing a fairer service for our existing clients.

Relationship Debt Sharing - Debts and Overpayments

The new legislation introduces new laws for beneficiaries and partners of beneficiaries. This means that under sections 83AA and 86AA of the Social Security Act beneficiaries and partners of beneficiaries may be jointly and severally liable for repaying a debt together. Both the beneficiary and his or her partner will be liable for a shared debt. It is not split 50:50, they are both 100% liable for the whole debt until it is paid off in full.

Due to the complexity of debt sharing within our current environment a phased approach for managing shared debts will be implemented. Initially from 7 July 2014, a manual process will be used for establishing and recovering shared debts for beneficiaries and their partners.

The Report Writers and Panel Members Information Packs have been updated on the Ministry of Social Development website to reflect the employment and work readiness, social housing and relationship debt sharing changes.

The specific pages which have been updated are:

  • Report Writers Information Pack – Pages 3, 12, 14 and 26
  • Panel Members Information Pack – Page 9.

The HIYA system has also been updated with new reason codes.

Staff movements

Nic Rhodes left the team in May to join Operational Support in Work and Income, National Office.

The team welcomes Chrissy Price who started on Monday 30 June; she has come to us from the position of Helpline Advisor and prior to that Case Manager in Upper Hutt.



August 2014 - Issue 26

Print this page.