10 Aug 2010

Work and Income staff accused of being inconsistent

8:44 pm on 10 August 2010

A beneficiary advocacy group says it is unfair that eligibility for benefits can depend on which Work and Income case manager a person gets and what mood they are in.

The Rotorua Peoples' Union says while some case managers do a good job of helping clients, other judge them and decline applications on a whim.

Taranaki couple Glen and Meeta say they have been the victims of inconsistent Work and Income staff following an incident in which Meeta's allowance for counselling for depression was cut.

Meeta says the staff member, who mistakenly cut the counselling because Glenn was on ACC after a car crash, was moody and talked about her own family problems.

The Rotorua Peoples' Union says some case workers use their discretion to help, but others will not.

Work and Income Taranaki has since apologised for what it says was genuine human error and made back payments, but it rejects the claim its staff members would stop assistance on a whim.

Work and Income's Taranaki regional commissioner, Gloria Campbell, says clients who feel they are being treated unfairly should ask to have their case reviewed.