New Winz rules crack down on fraudsters

Winz has now confirmed the photo request was a mistake.
Winz has now confirmed the photo request was a mistake.

New measures to crack down on beneficiaries who have previously cheated the system will begin tomorrow.

The 'low trust client' rules are aimed at preventing those with a history of benefit fraud from repeating the abuse.

It will apply to people who have been convicted of welfare fraud in the past or had overpayments established following a fraud investigation.

The new law will apply to an estimated 1500 per year, the Government says.

"These people have proven, through their own actions, that they are willing to be dishonest with the welfare system and take money they are not entitled to," said associate social development minister Chester Borrows.

"With these new measures we will have sensible steps to prevent them repeating this behaviour, such as requiring them to deal face-to-face with a single case manager."

The changes are part of a series of changes announced by the Government earlier this year in a bid to "better prevent, detect and punish welfare fraud".

The measures include changing the law to hold partners of beneficiaries complicit in 'relationship' fraud offending to account; joint agency fraud investigations; and enhanced information sharing between the Ministry of Social Development and Inland Revenue.

"We know the overwhelming majority of beneficiaries are honest and follow the rules,'' Mr Burrows said.

"Yet those very few who choose to defraud the system place a very real cost on a system which should be there to support our most vulnerable citizens."

- APNZ

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