The Department has a broad ranging and comprehensive control strategy, which aims to keep fraud and abuse to a minimum. Our emphasis is to minimise risks of fraud and eliminate incorrect payments. In the control and delivery of services, the objective is to ensure that the Department pays the right person the right amount at the right time.
There is no contradiction between exercising fraud control and delivering good customer service. Everyone involved in the administration of the various social welfare schemes is aware of the need to implement appropriate controls at every stage of the process.
The control process is an integral part of our day-to-day operations.
There should be a high level of control awareness on the part of customers, in that they should know that:
- correct identification and documentation will be required;
- they may be subject to further checking at any stage of their claim; and
- they should report any change in circumstances which may affect their claim.
Measures delivered across the Department ensure that four objectives are achieved:
- Prevention: having systems and procedures in place that prevent and minimise the risk of fraud, abuse and error.
- Detection: detecting fraud, abuse and errors at the earliest possible stage, and detecting unpaid PRSI contributions by employers and the self-employed.
- Deterrence: to develop an anti-fraud culture among staff and the public by ensuring that the public is aware of the risks and penalties of defrauding the Social Welfare system and dealing decisively with cases of fraud and abuse detected, including prosecution of offenders.
- Debt Recovery: to actively pursue the recovery of any overpayment.
Control activity is resource intensive. The Department is continuing to improve and utilise more innovative approaches to prevent and detect fraud nevertheless this work is and will remain human resource intensive.