Welfare errors cost taxpayers millions
Hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars are being mistakenly handed out to beneficiaries every year, contributing to a debt of nearly $1 billion through the welfare system.
According to figures obtained by ONE News under the Official Information Act, the Ministry of Social Development has overpaid beneficiaries $191.6 million this year alone.
While most of this is because beneficiaries have failed to alert the Ministry when their living and financial situation changed, $47.8m comes from the Ministry’s own mistakes and administrative problems.
This figure is three times higher than what benefit fraud has cost over the same period.
Got that? Incompetence costs us three times as much as the fraud problem that the Nats love to bang on about.
I don’t for a moment think that this is a new problem, or one that we can blame National for. But two things. First, let’s now never forget that a lot more money can be saved by improving Ministry processes than by hounding all beneficiaries for the sake of catching the very few fraudsters. And second, this problem is going to get worse, not better, as the Nats go about cutting public sector jobs and “back office bureaucrats”. Yet another example of “penny wise pound foolish” incompetence from this government.