Relationship Debt Sharing
07 July 2014.
On 17 April, Hon Chester Borrows, Associate Minister for Social Development, announced the passing of the Social Security (Fraud Measures and Debt Recovery) Amendment Bill, called Relationship Debt Sharing.
From 7 July 2014, the new law enables the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) to jointly investigate and prosecute beneficiaries and their partners for relationship fraud and also makes the beneficiary and their partner jointly liable for repaying the debt.
The RDS initiative is part of a package of reforms designed to prevent and detect welfare fraud and recover any money that was dishonestly obtained.
How does it affect students?
While this law does not apply to recipients of Student Loans or Allowances (as it is a change to the Social Security Act 1964, which does not govern the administration of Loans or Allowances), a student may have their Allowance payments affected.
If MSD establishes relationship fraud, MSD will be able to deduct money from a student’s allowance, if they are receiving one, in order to recover the overpayment.