6 May 2015

MSD updates dental loan figures

2:16 pm on 6 May 2015

The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) has admitted its figures were wrong over the number of loans it has given out to beneficiaries for emergency dental work.

A file photo of a chair in a dentist's surgery

Photo: 123RF

According to earlier figures provided by MSD, Work and Income lent $9,398,451 to beneficiaries for emergency dental work in the 2010/2011 financial year. Over the past year, the documents showed, that figure was slashed to $45,100.

MSD deputy chief executive Debbie Power said, after further investigation, the ministry has found it still provides advances on benefits for emergency dental treatment.

The updated official figures show that, in the 2014/15 financial year, $8,947,676 was loaned to beneficaries - up from the $45,100 the ministry had earlier reported.

In 2013/14, $11,200,080 was given out as advance benefit payments.

Ms Power said the information was under-reported because payments made through the advance system were updated in 2012 and the coding for emergency dental treatment in the system was adjusted.

"I am confident this issue was limited to emergency dental assistance only," she said.

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