Written answers

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Department of Social and Family Affairs

Social Welfare Fraud

9:00 pm

Photo of Pádraic McCormackPádraic McCormack (Galway West, Fine Gael)
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Question 86: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Affairs if he is satisfied with the method of recording and calculating fraud control savings [15449/10]

Photo of Éamon Ó CuívÉamon Ó Cuív (Minister, Department of Social and Family Affairs; Galway West, Fianna Fail)
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Control savings are calculated by applying validated multipliers to the difference in the rate of payment before and after the control activity.

Multipliers used in assessing control savings estimate the total future savings to the Department of a revocation or reduction resulting from a control action. The multiplier used is based on the average amount of time the person who ceases to claim will remain off the books before returning. This time varies from scheme to scheme.

There is a comprehensive control guideline which sets out: a) What constitutes a control saving in the various control activities b) The various multipliers to be used in determining savings c) The method of reporting reviews and savings.

Control Division carry out ongoing validation exercises to ensure control savings are recorded correctly. These involve an examination of the various control savings reported to ensure that savings are being compiled and calculated in the correct manner i.e. in accordance with the guideline for determining control savings.

In 2009, the Department recorded control savings of nearly €484m, or 79% of the target of €616.5m and over 750,000 claims in payment were reviewed, some 121% of the target set for 2009.

It must be noted that in 2009 control activity was significantly focused on prevention of fraud and error at claim application stage. Savings made from the detection of bogus claims at application stage cannot be estimated as the claim will not go into payment. However, this is the most cost effective mechanism of reducing losses through fraud and error in social welfare schemes.

In 2010 a target of €533.3m has been set for control savings.

I am satisfied that control savings provide valid, useful, practical and comparable measures of progress towards achieving results.

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