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Success of the crackdown on welfare fraud: over 600 million to be saved this year


Sync

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Welfare probe finds fraud worth over €500m - National News - Independent.ie

Among the payments checked were those made to lone parents, where officials checked if a person in receipt of the money was living alone, and jobseeker's allowance, where it was suspected the recipient may have taken up employment.

Figures from the department show:

- €501m has been saved in the first eight months of the year in the fraud crackdown.

- The department is on course to achieve savings of €645m this year.

- Some 1,331 employers and businesses were inspected to ensure that fraud was not being conducted.

- 917,114 individual payments were reviewed, ahead of a target of 780,000 for the year.

Last year, some €21bn was spent on social welfare payments, 40pc of current government expenditure..

The jobseeker's allowance, one-parent family, and disability allowance are the most common payments involving fraud.
Certainly good news, and a victory for the dept, beating its own targets for the review. As a stats nerd I'd be interested to hear a bit more about the 900k payments investigated. It's not going to be 900k people investigated, there will be multiple payments examined for some people. How were those people selected? Was it random or were there certain triggers involved which flag the person for review? If random then what % of recipients were examined claiming how much? Do the dept feel that they should be able to expand their function?

Regardless, good to see the dept beating its review target by approx 12% by November. A 2.5% saving on the overall welfare cost due to these investigations is impressive stuff, lets hope that the dept are offered funding increases next year to widen the net if they feel it appropriate.
 

ShoutingIsLeadership

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Sync, I think it is important to point out that we do not know how much of the money was claimed fraudulently, how much was staff mistakes and how much was as a result of mistakes by claimants.
 

Ulster-Lad

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Sync, I think it is important to point out that we do not know how much of the money was claimed fraudulently, how much was staff mistakes and how much was as a result of mistakes by claimants.
or how many have been waiting months for benefits they are entitled to. Delaying the payments if you like.
 

Sync

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The way the article is phrased it's certainly indicative of a fraud investigation as opposed to a general accuracy of payments review (which I agree should be part of an annual review as well). It's not possible for the recipient to have been in accidental error if they're not living alone or have taken employment etc.

And the intent behind the figure is of secondary importance. No one's out to demonise welfare recipients, but these sort of sweeps are typical ones run by banks over account dealings and insurance companies over claims. Overpayments/fraudulant payments should be identified and followed up on, and this seems to be a case of a public sector govt dept operating at a high level above their own expectations.
 

Analyzer

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Welfare probe finds fraud worth over €500m - National News - Independent.ie



Certainly good news, and a victory for the dept, beating its own targets for the review. As a stats nerd I'd be interested to hear a bit more about the 900k payments investigated. It's not going to be 900k people investigated, there will be multiple payments examined for some people. How were those people selected? Was it random or were there certain triggers involved which flag the person for review? If random then what % of recipients were examined claiming how much? Do the dept feel that they should be able to expand their function?

Regardless, good to see the dept beating its review target by approx 12% by November. A 2.5% saving on the overall welfare cost due to these investigations is impressive stuff, lets hope that the dept are offered funding increases next year to widen the net if they feel it appropriate.
Great news for the Anglo Bondholders !!!
 

Sync

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Then we should, like in the IT ad, look for the WHY.

Why are mistakes made?
Again, this is pretty clearly not about mistakes being made, but if it's a mistake on the part of staff then it's more than likely going to have a root cause of training.

How is fraud sanctioned?
I go to the welfare office and say I'm not living with the father of my child. But I am living with the father of my child. I tell the office I'm not working. But I am working. Every case isn't going to be subject to overly rigorous checks, there would simply be too much to do. So you identify a sample to examine in detail and make it public from that sample A: That you identify fraud B: That there are repercussions for said fraud.

Personally each year I'd then introduce a 1 month amnesty for people to come forward and admit any welfare cheating and face the requirement to repay the money over time but no criminal action.
 

Sync

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900,000 payments reviewed?

500,000,000 euro equals dole for 50,000 people. Were 12% of people on the dole really committing fraud? Has this lowered the unemployment rate?
You should probably read the article again. And the OP.
 

Victor Meldrew

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Is this a result of looking for fraud in a different /more effective way, or can we take it that at least €600m a year is stolen/squandered from taxpayers? And, like catching cigarette smuggling in the airport, it is just a fact that there will be this amount of fraud each year, by new applicants.

Finally, did they get the money back?
 

daveL

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Is this a result of looking for fraud in a different /more effective way, or can we take it that at least €600m a year is stolen/squandered from taxpayers? And, like catching cigarette smuggling in the airport, it is just a fact that there will be this amount of fraud each year, by new applicants.

Finally, did they get the money back?
not a hope in hell
 

greengoose2

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Is this a result of looking for fraud in a different /more effective way, or can we take it that at least €600m a year is stolen/squandered from taxpayers? And, like catching cigarette smuggling in the airport, it is just a fact that there will be this amount of fraud each year, by new applicants.

Finally, did they get the money back?
If they did get the money back that would be part of a sanction for fraud. Then there is the mandatory penalty that should be in place to add to this.

A "never again" attitude is not the best way to deal with welfare fraud! Pay back what was stolen and also pay the penalty!
 

Analyzer

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Sync

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Is this a result of looking for fraud in a different /more effective way, or can we take it that at least €600m a year is stolen/squandered from taxpayers? And, like catching cigarette smuggling in the airport, it is just a fact that there will be this amount of fraud each year, by new applicants.
Gut instinct is that this is a sample so yes there will be >600 million a year, but through decent sampling techniques and analysis you can make a real dent in the figure. Also by having such a visible crackdown you deter new entrants to the market and make those currently gaming the system think twice.

There's always going to be fraud but you should always try to catch it. I'd rather get 2.5% of the overall budget back than nothing.

Finally, did they get the money back?
According to the article they've reached out to collection agencies to handle most of it. Which makes sense, let the dept focus on making payments and identifying fraud, have to collection side handled externally.

I understand people looking for additional sanction, but I don't think people should underestimate the pressures new mothers/parents on the breadline are under. While we should be trying to identify those responsible and taking appropriate action, if someone comes forward and admits they were defrauding the system for a year, I'd be on board with just garnishing their welfare until the repayment's been made and a suspended sentence as opposed to a punitive fine.
 

daveL

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Great news for the Anglo Bondholders !!!
and taxpayers like

Repayments to Bondholders will cease eventually... whereas welfare fraud would be annual were it not tackled. Would you prefer it were ignored?

Is whataboutery really appropriate here?
 

ShoutingIsLeadership

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The way the article is phrased it's certainly
indicative of a fraud investigation as opposed to a general accuracy of payments review (which I agree should be part of an annual review as well). It's not possible for the recipient to have been in accidental error if they're not living alone or have taken employment etc.

And the intent behind the figure is of secondary importance. No one's out to demonise welfare recipients, but these sort of sweeps are typical ones run by banks over account dealings and insurance companies over claims. Overpayments/fraudulant payments should be identified and followed up on, and this seems to be a case of a public sector govt dept operating at a high level above their own expectations.
I'm not doubting it's a fraud investigation but it is highly possible that these are housekeeping issues which showed up inadvertently during the investigation.

There is no breakdown of what is what.

Perhaps the department is doing sterling work, I just am not convinced it's as simple as the article is made out.

Oh and some people are out to get welfare recipients. Not you, I must add.
 
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