More about BenefitMe
The New Zealand Social Security Act was a world leading example of values-driven governance for the benefit of all, back in 1938! We want to get back to the idea that a social safety net is not only a positive and important part of a fair and equitable society, but that everyone should feel safe, empowered and supported to get help when they need it.
We believe there is an unfortunate power imbalance between people seeking help and the departments that are supposed to provide help, made worse by a lack of transparency about people’s legal rights. Many benefits are highly confusing and as a result, undersubscribed. Basically, more people are eligible for more help than they realise. Often departments add their own interpretations and rules on top of what the legislation says, which is confusing and disempowering, and some people have a genuine fear of talking to the government. Typical “benefit finder” services currently available from the government don’t provide clarity on either your legal rights to benefits, or your legal right to an explanation.
This service is based on the pure legislation to help New Zealanders understand their legal rights, and to provide the ability to test government services and new policy proposals into the future. If you get a different answer from the government, you have a right to an explanation. The extra rules that departments add on top of legislation should not conflict with your rights to those benefits.
The first version of this service was designed to be used by social service advocates like Citizens Advice Bureau or Community Law to support a large number of people who don’t know they’re eligible for benefits, and don’t know they have a right to an explanation about any decision to deny someone a benefit. Below is a list of the benefits that are currently included in this service, and the ones that are on our roadmap to add over time. We intend to add the entire Social Security Act, followed by other legislation.
If you’d like to tell us what benefits you’d like to see next, please go to contact us and fill in the online form.
You can also view more about the project on GitHub.