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.
CHANGE OF CIRCUMSTANCES
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 are receiving income from boarders
- 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
HOW IS AN INVESTIGATION STARTED ?
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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