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Benefit Fraud

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This topic will give you everything you need to know about benefit fraud.

When you apply for a welfare benefit from Work and Income New Zealand (WINZ) you have a duty to give a true and complete picture of your current circumstances. 

You cannot wriggle out of this obligation.  WINZ will give you plenty of detailed information, both orally and in writing, about you obligations to tell the full truth of your circumstances and any changes that occur from time to time.

You must notify WINZ of any relevant change in your circumstances once you are receiving a benefit (see below).

If you have not been honest about your situation and, as a result, you receive income support that you are not entitled to,  you will have committed a benefit crime. 

See the kind of penalties we set out at the bottom of this page.


You have a duty to advise WINZ of any change in your circumstances that affects your entitlement to a benefit or the amount of the benefit.

You can be criminally liable if you fail to do this.

For example, you should notify WINZ if :

  • you have started working
  • you are receiving income from boarders
  • you are now studying
  • there is a change in the number of dependent children in your care
  • you, or your spouse or dependent child, are about to leave New Zealand


WINZ investigations into beneficiaries for benefit fraud are often started when members of the public provide WINZ with information. 

People ring up and inform on you.  It has been done many times.

People  "dob you in". 

NetLaw knows of situations when a member of the beneficiary's immediate family has rung up WINZ and "dobbed in" their own sister.

An investigation may also be initiated if any anomalies are found when WINZ check the information that you have supplied them with your bank or employer.

WINZ also match beneficiaries’ records with other government agencies, such as the Inland Revenue Department,  the New Zealand Custom Service and the Ministry of Education.

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"Can a woman aged 54 with a 16 year old child who is neither attending school or any other form of education/training continue to claim the DPB and child support indefinitely or should the child be on a separate independant benefit? and what if the child does not claim a benefit, does this justify the mothers ongoing DPB claim? - Jenny

Netlaw replies - Yes . . . . You go on to what is called a "Woman Alone" Benefit designed to allow the single parent to continue to be supported when the kids become independent. You need to discuss your circumstances with WINZ. The child may be entitled to an Independent Youth benefit, but they are not automatic. Special circumstances need to apply. Play around on the WINZ Website. Just type winz website into Google or your internet explorer.

Here is a quote from the WINZ Website. -

"To get a Domestic Purposes Benefit you'll need to be a sole parent, or a caregiver of someone sick or infirm, or a woman alone of 50 years of age or older. You must:

be a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident
have lived in New Zealand continuously for two years or more at any one time since becoming a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident (except refugees with permanent residence)
normally live in New Zealand".

Cheers . . . Netlaw


Feedback/Blogs/Reviews from related topic: Aiding and Abetting - Parties to Offences
"Up to date. Great. the IRD Child Support site is so hard to follow. You need a computer degree. You tell it like it is. (One pissed off father)


"Bloody fantastic coverage. Easy to understand and work out. Mike R - Auckland Central"
"Please advise - My partner pays his ex-wife child support every week. (The amount was agreed via a settlement agreement nutted out between lawyers at mediation.) Is this child support still payable on weeks when we have the children? (in school holidays we have the children for half of the time). It seems unfair for his ex-wife to be getting paid child support when we are supporting the children.
Netlaw replies - The access you enjoy in the holidays must be averaged out over the whole year. It does not apply on a weekly basis. That sounds unfair but that is the way it has been interpreted. "

Feedback/Blogs/Reviews from related topic: Aiding and Abetting - Parties to Offences
"I did my own documents and got before a Judge and got my own order for protection. I reckon I did it faster then my lawyer last time I need such an order two years ago.
Thank you . . . . Sandie (not my real name)"

Feedback/Blogs/Reviews from related topic: Aiding and Abetting - Parties to Offences
"Dear Netlaw . . . it was really helpful to realise the difficultes in getting suppression of name and to get some of the caselaw. It allowed me to prepare a lot better. I had a silly shoplifting case but I am in my early thirties and I really wanted name suppression. You guys really helped. Also, you other sites are dazzling. Becs (not my real name)


Feedback/Blogs/Reviews from related topic: Aiding and Abetting - Parties to Offences
"I was looking round Google to find something about representing myself and I found this and a number of your topics SPOT ON. Thanks. This one was great! Jon F. Auckland - May 2007"
Feedback/Blogs/Reviews from related topic: Aiding and Abetting - Parties to Offences
"My wife is claiming spousal maintenace. She lives in the family home and is a qualified secondary school teacher with a degree. We dont have dependent children. Do you think she is entitled to maintenance?

Netlaw replies: No. She would not get spousal maintenance UNLESS she was unable to work because of some illness. IF you had supported her during the relationship, and she did not work even though qualified, she can argue that you should continue to support her now, but that argument would be unlikely to succeed."

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