MSD glitch causes delays

A glitch in the Ministry of Social Development computer system yesterday caused delays for anyone wanting to sign on for a benefit.

An unemployed 30-year-old Dunedin man, who did not want to be named, said Work and Income's offices had been closed for most of the Christmas holiday period, so it had been difficult for him to book an appointment to sign on for the Jobseeker Support benefit.

"I'm just back from overseas and I'm fairly broke so I need to get on to the dole to get some money.''

When he called Winz yesterday to book an appointment, he was greeted "with a long string of automated messages'' and was then put on hold for 30 minutes, before an operator told him an appointment could not be made due to technical problems.

He was told to call back in an hour.

"I called back in an hour and I was on hold for 20 minutes and I was told to call back in the afternoon.''

He called back in the afternoon and was told the computer system would be down for the rest of the day and to call back today.

As the Winz offices were closed for most of the Christmas break, he expected there to be a "backlog'' of people that had got bigger because of the glitch.

"There will be a backlog on top of the backlog.''

A ministry spokesman confirmed a technical difficulty with the ministry's computer systems caused delays for clients yesterday.

People were working to resolve the problem and the system was expected to be operating as usual today.

"The Ministry apologises for any inconvenience to clients. We will continue to prioritise those who require emergency assistance,'' he said.

Regular benefit payments were unaffected, he said.

shawn.mcavinue@odt.co.nz

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