Companies are still waiting for the wage subsidy payment at the end of the first round


Business

The Department of Social Development has already paid out $ 922.3 million in two weeks, but many small businesses are still waiting for their wage subsidy

Small business owners say they have been waiting for almost two weeks and have yet to see the money from the wage subsidy rollout in August.

Unlike the four-week package granted to businesses last year, businesses must now reapply for a wage subsidy every two weeks. It was one of the changes made this year as a result of the Auditor General’s Report on the management of last year’s $ 13 billion program.

Applications for the initial wage subsidy scheme for this lockdown opened four days after the Alert Level 4 lockdown on August 20 and closed on Thursday. The second round became available on September 3.

But Vanessa Webber, who owns a framing business with her husband in Taranaki, has yet to see the first round funds.

Webber says his family lived off the company’s reserves, which declined week-over-week during the Level 4 lockdown.

“We haven’t had any income for two weeks. My husband cannot work, but the expenses are not going down. We have children at home to keep them safe and groceries are more expensive, electricity is more expensive, ”she says. “Personally, I find it incredibly stressful. “

Last year, Webber applied for the wage subsidy with all the details she had provided to the Department of Social Development (MSD) this year, and received the subsidy within hours of her application.

The Department of Social Development disbursed a total of $ 922.3 million over two weeks. Photo: Lynn Grieveson

“There doesn’t really seem to be a rhyme or reason why this is any different from the last time.”

As of August 31, MSD had received more than 313,800 wage subsidy applications, approved 225,335 applications and disbursed a total of just $ 922.3 million within two weeks of its introduction.

A total of 14,708 were refused, leaving approximately 73,000 in processing.

But Webber says she is worried about whether her application will be pushed further down the queue once new people apply for the second round of the grant starting September 3.

“It would be helpful to know what is causing the delay. When I called MSD, the woman on the phone told me to apply for the next round anyway so I wouldn’t miss a thing.

Meanwhile, owner of curtain and blind installation company Teal Tree, Paula Currall-McBride, also spent nearly two weeks waiting for the wage subsidy, but received payments from the resurgence support payment. , managed by Inland Revenue (IRD).

Currall-McBride says his business has lost about $ 10,000 a week due to the shutdown.

But what confused Currall-McBride is that his wage subsidy payment is blocked from the verification that MSD requires of the IRD on his company’s finances. But this financial data was sufficient for the IRD to approve its resurgence support payment.

“It’s funny how the IRD could pay me the resurgence payment within 24 hours, but on the eighth day of waiting for the wage subsidy payment, they say the data doesn’t match the IRD. I spoke to IRD, and they say it’s all there now. Rock and a hard place a lot?

“We haven’t had any income for two weeks … Personally, I find it incredibly stressful.”
– Vanessa Webber, Chris Bell Construction

A number of others have filed similar complaints with MSD, a staff member told Currall-McBride.

He was also told that after the IRD confirmed his contact details, it would take another five to ten business days to simply update his request, without receiving payment.

“MSD told me they were going to call me, but I’m still waiting for that call, Currall-McBride says.

MSD’s chief customer service manager George van Ooyen said the program was running as fast as last year, with the majority of requesters receiving payments within three business days, although the department was still analyzing timeframe data. treatment.

“The main reason for any delay is that the information in the application cannot be matched with the Inland Revenue. The timeframes for resolving this issue vary depending on the type of mismatch and resolution required between the department, the claimant, and the Inland Revenue.

Van Ooyen says MSD will contact the still pending applicants “in due course” to discuss their application and next steps.

“Businesses and independent traders are typically paid within 24 hours of approval, with the exception of weekend approvals, which are paid on Mondays. “

He says businesses should make sure their information is correct and matches that held by Inland Revenue.

Employers and sole proprietorships can apply two weeks after their last wage subsidy application, even if the original application is still being processed.

Companies that did not request the initial wage subsidy can request the bi-monthly wage subsidy payment on September 3.

IRD has been contacted for comments.


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About Matthew R. Dailey

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