8 Jan 2018

Pensions paid to thousands after death

5:01 pm on 8 January 2018

Thousands of New Zealanders who've died have continued to be paid the pension for more than a month after their death.

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Photo: 123RF

The Ministry of Social Development has released figures which show it overpaid almost 7000 deceased people for a month or more over the past five years.

In a statement, a spokeperson said the Ministry was formally notified of a person's death by the Department of Internal Affairs.

"In some circumstances, this can be some time after the actual date of death."

The Ministry also double-checked the information was correct before stopping any payments which also contributed to a slight lag.

The average delay was two weeks, the statement said.

Ministry officials sought to recover the money through the individual's estate or through agreed repayments by a spouse.

"It's important to note that the Ministry always seeks to deal with the Executor or Administrator of an estate to avoid putting pressure on family members at what is a difficult time.

"The Ministry does not demand repayments that might place a bereaved person in hardship."

Almost 1600 people received pension payments for 30 days or more after the date of their death in the 2016/17 financial year.

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