Social assistance recipients must meet strict criteria to qualify for benefits.
The Department of Social Welfare requires that certain conditions be met when people initially apply for welfare, including employment status, income and other means.
However, once people start applying for welfare, they will also be subject to ongoing eligibility checks.
The department says that while most claimants are entitled to the payments they receive, in some cases there may be fraud or mistakes made, which means some people could receive more money than they actually need. should.
They perform checks using numerous sources of information to ensure that no wrongdoing occurs.
In general, managers ensure that suspicions of fraud are identified and additional payments are recovered by reviewing people’s claims, interviewing recipients, working with other agencies, evaluating data and investigating public reports.
Specific surveys are also carried out with regard to certain social benefits.
Here’s what the department is looking at when considering three of Ireland’s most important social protection claims – jobseekers, child benefit and state pension:
The department says a person’s entitlement to Jobseeker’s Allowance is continually reviewed to ensure that they continue to meet the eligibility requirements.
A review may be made if there is doubt as to whether any of the conditions have been met, which include “a person’s failure to produce sufficient evidence of a genuine search for employment, failure to prove unemployment in the prescribed manner, refusal to participate in a SOLAS training program or in community employment, etc.”.
Where it appears that a question has been raised as to whether these conditions are met or whether a decision should be reviewed, a Jobseeker’s Jobseeker’s Allowance “may be suspended in whole or in part. party until the matter is decided”.
“This question could arise, for example, pending an investigation into someone’s refusal of a suitable job offer,” officials said.
A review is initiated “when the department is informed of any change in the circumstances of the client or child that may affect the right”.
Officials also conduct periodic reviews to confirm that recipients continue to meet eligibility criteria.
Where a question arises as to compliance with the conditions for granting child benefit, payment may be suspended in whole or in part until the question has been resolved.
This will be done, for example, if there is reason to believe that:
- either the parent/guardian or the child is no longer alive, or does not reside at the address provided
- the child no longer lives with the parent/guardian
- parent/guardian or child has left the state
- the child, over the age of 16, is no longer in full-time schooling or is incapable
The ministry indicates that the payment of an increase or an allowance on pensions will be interrupted if the conditions for allocation are no longer met.
Depending on the circumstances of the case, the Authorizing Officer may deem it necessary to write to the pensioner specifying the reasons why it appears that he no longer fulfills the conditions to benefit from the current pension, increase or allowance.
The retiree will have 21 days to comment and if new evidence or information is provided, the deciding officer will review the case.
However, if no new information is brought forward or if it is considered by the Decision-Making Officer to have no material impact on the case, he will take a decision revoking the increase or the allocation. There will be a right of appeal against this decision.
In addition, where initial inquiries with a retiree, including written communication, fail to establish the required facts, payment of the increase or allowance may be suspended until the information relevant have been provided by the retiree.
A Department of Social Care spokesperson said: “The overwhelming majority of people in the care of the Department of Social Care are claiming and receiving payments to which they are rightfully entitled.
“The Department’s philosophy is to help people, to deal with complaints quickly and to carry out the reviews and verifications it is required to carry out in a sensitive and customer-focused manner.
“However, the Department recognizes that some individuals may be paid in excess of their entitlement due to suspected fraud or error.
“With this in mind, the Department continues to ensure that enforcement activity is undertaken on all four pillars of the Department’s 2019-23 Compliance and Anti-Fraud Strategy.
“The strategy outlines a series of measures to prevent, identify and detect suspected fraud and to ensure that effective debt collection measures are in place where overpayments are assessed.
“The measures in place include desk reviews of requests and complaints, interviews, self-assessment statements, joint operations with other agencies, data matching and the use of data analysis. data, in addition to the selection of risk-assessed cases for review. Investigations arising from reports from members of the public are also undertaken.”