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Accommodation supplement error at a glance

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 31/05/2016


* Almost 90,000 people have had their Work and Income accommodation supplements incorrectly paid over a 21-year period

* About 41,000 people have been underpaid a total of $23 million - the government is looking at options to repay that

* Most individual underpayments are believed to be less than $1000

* About 46,000 people have been overpaid about $32m - the government has already ruled out trying to claw back this money

* The error dates back to 1993 - a mistake was made in the coding

* It was discovered in 2014 and fixed, but the Ministry of Social Development didn't realise the impact on past accommodation supplement payments

* The full scale of the problem came to light after Social Development Minister Anne Tolley ordered a full review of all MSD payments and practices - that followed a separate error relating to the payment of benefits after a stand-down period

* The accommodation supplement has been correctly paid since late 2014

* The review has uncovered a number of other issues. Ms Tolley said there are six specific problems that may have resulted in beneficiaries being underpaid, but details are still to be confirmed.

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