Social Welfare Fraud

To ask the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the fraud savings target for 2010; if he will provide an update on the fraud control measures that he has put in place – Dan Neville

* For ORAL answer on Tuesday, 20th April, 2010.

R E P L Y

The prevention of fraud and abuse of the social welfare system is an integral part of the day-to-day work of the Department. A key objective of the Department’s control strategy is to ensure that the right person is paid the right amount of money at the right time. There are over 620 staff working in areas related to control of fraud and abuse of the welfare system. At end 2009 over 750,000 individual claims were reviewed and the Department recorded control savings of nearly €484m.

The control savings target for 2010 is €533.31m.

The Department processes in excess of 2 million claims each year and it makes payments to over one million people every week. The vast majority of people are receiving the entitlement due to them.

The level of fraud on most schemes is very low. As reported by the C&AG, the percentage of expenditure resulting from fraud identified in the Department’s Fraud and Error surveys was 0% for pensioners, 0.1% for Illness Benefit, 0.8% for the Family Income Supplement, and 1.8% for Child Benefit. Schemes such as Jobseekers Allowance, One Parent Family Payment, Disability Allowance and non-Irish Child Benefit claimants have higher levels of fraud. The Department intends carrying out fraud and error surveys on two of these schemes each years. This will mean each of the schemes will be renewed every second year.

Recent control initiatives introduced to curb fraud and abuse of the system include the following:

Increased control activity is focused on the prevention of fraud and error at claim application stage. This is the most cost effective mechanism of reducing losses through fraud and error in social welfare schemes although savings from this activity are not included as the claim does not go into payment.

Significant advances have been made to reduce the risk of overpayment through systems “talking” to each other. With the introduction of the new Service Delivery Modernisation (SDM) a greater number of the Departments claims and payments are sharing a single technical platform.

Technologies introduced as part of the SDM programme have allowed the Department to run specially designed programmes which interrogate other internal standalone systems and report on cases where there may be duplicate payments.

The introduction of a series of certificate processes further enhanced the control functions of the Department. Certificates issue to the customer for completion e.g. to targeted customer groups by age, payment method, location or country. Certificates that fail to be returned or are completed incorrectly may result in suspension and/or termination.

As a fraud preventative measure the option to receive payments by Electronic Fund Transfer (bank account) was removed for new claimants for jobseeker payments.

Border regions put an increased emphasis on control of claims from applicants with a previous address in Northern Ireland.

One Parent Family Payment recipients with earnings are the subject of on-going review.

The frequency of issue of mail shots to validate continued entitlement to Child Benefit has been increased to 3 monthly intervals for EU worker customers and resident non-Irish national customers.

The Department is moving to a risk-based system of claim review, which it is hoped will achieve better value for money by focusing scarce resources on the most appropriate cases. This involves assigning and recording a risk rating at the award and review stage.

From 7th January 2010, members of the public report suspected Social Welfare fraud anonymously to the Department by completing a new online form on the Department’s website at www.welfare.ie.

· New data matches have been initiated to effectively target reviews and generate savings.

New data matches have been initiated to effectively target reviews and generate savings.

· New anti-fraud measures have been included in the Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2009 which provide for the transfer of bulk information relating to recipients of social welfare payments to the competent authority of another Member State or international organisation or other country with which a reciprocal agreement has been made.

New anti-fraud measures have been included in the Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2009 which provide for the transfer of bulk information relating to recipients of social welfare payments to the competent authority of another Member State or international organisation or other country with which a reciprocal agreement has been made.

· The first Public Service Cards are expected to be issued in the second half of 2010. The PSC will include a photograph and signature. One of the anticipated advantages of the new card is that it will help to reduce fraud and error which result from the incorrect identification of benefit claimants.

The first Public Service Cards are expected to be issued in the second half of 2010. The PSC will include a photograph and signature. One of the anticipated advantages of the new card is that it will help to reduce fraud and error which result from the incorrect identification of benefit claimants.

· The establishment of a Centralised Special Investigation Unit within the Department in February, 2010 allows for a more integrated approach to prevention and detection of social welfare abuse in conjunction with other areas of the Department involved in fraud and control work. The unit will work with other agencies such as Revenue, NERA, Customs and the Gardai and ensure that control activity is being targeted at high risk categories of claimants/employers.

The Department is committed to ensuring that social welfare payments are available to those who are entitled to them. In this regard the control programme of the Department is carefully monitored and the various measures are continuously refined to ensure that they remain effective.

The establishment of a Centralised Special Investigation Unit within the Department in February, 2010 allows for a more integrated approach to prevention and detection of social welfare abuse in conjunction with other areas of the Department involved in fraud and control work. The unit will work with other agencies such as Revenue, NERA, Customs and the Gardai and ensure that control activity is being targeted at high risk categories of claimants/employers.

The Department is committed to ensuring that social welfare payments are available to those who are entitled to them. In this regard the control programme of the Department is carefully monitored and the various measures are continuously refined to ensure that they remain effective.

To ask the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the fraud savings target for 2010; if he will provide an update on the fraud control measures that he has put in place – Dan Neville

* For ORAL answer on Tuesday, 20th April, 2010.

R E P L Y

The prevention of fraud and abuse of the social welfare system is an integral part of the day-to-day work of the Department. A key objective of the Department’s control strategy is to ensure that the right person is paid the right amount of money at the right time. There are over 620 staff working in areas related to control of fraud and abuse of the welfare system. At end 2009 over 750,000 individual claims were reviewed and the Department recorded control savings of nearly €484m.

The control savings target for 2010 is €533.31m.

The Department processes in excess of 2 million claims each year and it makes payments to over one million people every week. The vast majority of people are receiving the entitlement due to them.

The level of fraud on most schemes is very low. As reported by the C&AG, the percentage of expenditure resulting from fraud identified in the Department’s Fraud and Error surveys was 0% for pensioners, 0.1% for Illness Benefit, 0.8% for the Family Income Supplement, and 1.8% for Child Benefit. Schemes such as Jobseekers Allowance, One Parent Family Payment, Disability Allowance and non-Irish Child Benefit claimants have higher levels of fraud. The Department intends carrying out fraud and error surveys on two of these schemes each years. This will mean each of the schemes will be renewed every second year.

Recent control initiatives introduced to curb fraud and abuse of the system include the following:

Increased control activity is focused on the prevention of fraud and error at claim application stage. This is the most cost effective mechanism of reducing losses through fraud and error in social welfare schemes although savings from this activity are not included as the claim does not go into payment.

Significant advances have been made to reduce the risk of overpayment through systems “talking” to each other. With the introduction of the new Service Delivery Modernisation (SDM) a greater number of the Departments claims and payments are sharing a single technical platform.

Technologies introduced as part of the SDM programme have allowed the Department to run specially designed programmes which interrogate other internal standalone systems and report on cases where there may be duplicate payments.

The introduction of a series of certificate processes further enhanced the control functions of the Department. Certificates issue to the customer for completion e.g. to targeted customer groups by age, payment method, location or country. Certificates that fail to be returned or are completed incorrectly may result in suspension and/or termination.

As a fraud preventative measure the option to receive payments by Electronic Fund Transfer (bank account) was removed for new claimants for jobseeker payments.

Border regions put an increased emphasis on control of claims from applicants with a previous address in Northern Ireland.

One Parent Family Payment recipients with earnings are the subject of on-going review.

The frequency of issue of mail shots to validate continued entitlement to Child Benefit has been increased to 3 monthly intervals for EU worker customers and resident non-Irish national customers.

The Department is moving to a risk-based system of claim review, which it is hoped will achieve better value for money by focusing scarce resources on the most appropriate cases. This involves assigning and recording a risk rating at the award and review stage.

From 7th January 2010, members of the public report suspected Social Welfare fraud anonymously to the Department by completing a new online form on the Department’s website at www.welfare.ie

· New data matches have been initiated to effectively target reviews and generate savings.

New data matches have been initiated to effectively target reviews and generate savings.

· New anti-fraud measures have been included in the Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2009 which provide for the transfer of bulk information relating to recipients of social welfare payments to the competent authority of another Member State or international organisation or other country with which a reciprocal agreement has been made.

New anti-fraud measures have been included in the Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2009 which provide for the transfer of bulk information relating to recipients of social welfare payments to the competent authority of another Member State or international organisation or other country with which a reciprocal agreement has been made.

· The first Public Service Cards are expected to be issued in the second half of 2010. The PSC will include a photograph and signature. One of the anticipated advantages of the new card is that it will help to reduce fraud and error which result from the incorrect identification of benefit claimants.

The first Public Service Cards are expected to be issued in the second half of 2010. The PSC will include a photograph and signature. One of the anticipated advantages of the new card is that it will help to reduce fraud and error which result from the incorrect identification of benefit claimants.

· The establishment of a Centralised Special Investigation Unit within the Department in February, 2010 allows for a more integrated approach to prevention and detection of social welfare abuse in conjunction with other areas of the Department involved in fraud and control work. The unit will work with other agencies such as Revenue, NERA, Customs and the Gardai and ensure that control activity is being targeted at high risk categories of claimants/employers.

The Department is committed to ensuring that social welfare payments are available to those who are entitled to them. In this regard the control programme of the Department is carefully monitored and the various measures are continuously refined to ensure that they remain effective.

The establishment of a Centralised Special Investigation Unit within the Department in February, 2010 allows for a more integrated approach to prevention and detection of social welfare abuse in conjunction with other areas of the Department involved in fraud and control work. The unit will work with other agencies such as Revenue, NERA, Customs and the Gardai and ensure that control activity is being targeted at high risk categories of claimants/employers.

The Department is committed to ensuring that social welfare payments are available to those who are entitled to them. In this regard the control programme of the Department is carefully monitored and the various measures are continuously refined to ensure that they remain effective.

Increased control activity is focused on the prevention of fraud and error at claim application stage. This is the most cost effective mechanism of reducing losses through fraud and error in social welfare schemes although savings from this activity are not included as the claim does not go into payment.

Significant advances have been made to reduce the risk of overpayment through systems “talking” to each other. With the introduction of the new Service Delivery Modernisation (SDM) a greater number of the Departments claims and payments are sharing a single technical platform.

Technologies introduced as part of the SDM programme have allowed the Department to run specially designed programmes which interrogate other internal standalone systems and report on cases where there may be duplicate payments.

The introduction of a series of certificate processes further enhanced the control functions of the Department. Certificates issue to the customer for completion e.g. to targeted customer groups by age, payment method, location or country. Certificates that fail to be returned or are completed incorrectly may result in suspension and/or termination.

As a fraud preventative measure the option to receive payments by Electronic Fund Transfer (bank account) was removed for new claimants for jobseeker payments.

Border regions put an increased emphasis on control of claims from applicants with a previous address in Northern Ireland.

One Parent Family Payment recipients with earnings are the subject of on-going review.

The Department is moving to a risk-based system of claim review, which it is hoped will achieve better value for money by focusing scarce resources on the most appropriate cases. This involves assigning and recording a risk rating at the award and review stage.

From 7th January 2010, members of the public report suspected Social Welfare fraud anonymously to the Department by completing a new online form on the Department’s website at www.welfare.ie.

 

· New data matches have been initiated to effectively target reviews and generate savings.

New data matches have been initiated to effectively target reviews and generate savings.

· New anti-fraud measures have been included in the Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2009 which provide for the transfer of bulk information relating to recipients of social welfare payments to the competent authority of another Member State or international organisation or other country with which a reciprocal agreement has been made.

New anti-fraud measures have been included in the Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2009 which provide for the transfer of bulk information relating to recipients of social welfare payments to the competent authority of another Member State or international organisation or other country with which a reciprocal agreement has been made.

· The first Public Service Cards are expected to be issued in the second half of 2010. The PSC will include a photograph and signature. One of the anticipated advantages of the new card is that it will help to reduce fraud and error which result from the incorrect identification of benefit claimants.

The first Public Service Cards are expected to be issued in the second half of 2010. The PSC will include a photograph and signature. One of the anticipated advantages of the new card is that it will help to reduce fraud and error which result from the incorrect identification of benefit claimants.

· The establishment of a Centralised Special Investigation Unit within the Department in February, 2010 allows for a more integrated approach to prevention and detection of social welfare abuse in conjunction with other areas of the Department involved in fraud and control work. The unit will work with other agencies such as Revenue, NERA, Customs and the Gardai and ensure that control activity is being targeted at high risk categories of claimants/employers.

The Department is committed to ensuring that social welfare payments are available to those who are entitled to them. In this regard the control programme of the Department is carefully monitored and the various measures are continuously refined to ensure that they remain effective.

The establishment of a Centralised Special Investigation Unit within the Department in February, 2010 allows for a more integrated approach to prevention and detection of social welfare abuse in conjunction with other areas of the Department involved in fraud and control work. The unit will work with other agencies such as Revenue, NERA, Customs and the Gardai and ensure that control activity is being targeted at high risk categories of claimants/employers.

The Department is committed to ensuring that social welfare payments are available to those who are entitled to them. In this regard the control programme of the Department is carefully monitored and the various measures are continuously refined to ensure that they remain effective.