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What a difference a day makes! It seems an error on the part of Work and Income has seen benefits commenced after a stand down period a day later than legally required under Section 80BA (4) of the Social Security Act 1964.

To err is human and in today’s world this also applies to computers. “The Social Security Appeal Authority had ruled that WINZ’s computer system had been set up to grant a person’s benefit from the day after their stand down ends“.

Surprisingly it’s taken over 18 years to work this out!

Anyway, for most people it’s the putting right that counts, only not in the case of people receiving benefits. For them there is no offer of compensation for benefit days lost. A quick legislative amendment that will retrospectively change the payment date of benefits to comply with current practice, is the only action.

As Kay Brereton, Beneficiary Advocate, puts it “the money owed would be a big deal for people on the lowest incomes. A day’s pay to a person on a benefit, who is getting maybe $200 a week, is a lot of money”.

Given all the great work to improve the lives of vulnerable people both by government agencies and NGOs, and our increased understanding of the impacts of material poverty, it seems churlish not to offer more.

To those who wish to “claim your day” Kay has prepared information explaining the process and a template letter.