What is the purpose of the fraud and error surveys?
The Department of Social Protection undertakes fraud and error surveys to identify the level of risk associated with particular schemes. The surveys highlight the risk of non-compliance with the rules of the schemes being surveyed at a particular point in time. The survey results allow the Department to target the scheme, and its particular risk areas, for stronger control measures, where necessary, to minimise the level of future risk.
How often are they done?
Under the Department's Compliance & Anti-Fraud Strategy 2014-2018, we are committed to undertaking two fraud and error surveys each year up to the end of 2018.
How are they conducted?
In each survey, a random sample of cases in payment in a particular week is selected. The sample is examined by the Department's statistician to ensure that it is representative of the claims in payment on the scheme. These cases are then referred to social welfare inspectors for full investigation in terms of whether the claimants in question continue to meet the qualifying conditions attaching to each scheme. Cases are then returned to deciding officers in the Department for decision. Based on these decisions, the net rate of fraud and error for each scheme is calculated.
What constitutes fraud and error?
Fraud or suspected fraud mainly arises where it appears to the deciding officer that the customer knowingly gave false or misleading information or wilfully concealed relevant information. Error cases are primarily due to inadvertent customer, third party or departmental error.
How are the results of the surveys presented?
Results are presented in terms of the net rate of fraud and error. The net rate refers to the position after account is taken of decreases in weekly rate, increases in weekly rate, terminations of payment, transfers to other payments and the position following appeal of any cases affected.
Where can I find out the results?
Please choose from the list below:-
Key things to note
- Fraud and error surveys give a snapshot in time of the risk of non-compliance by customers with the rules of schemes being surveyed.
- The net rate, as shown above, takes account of the financial effect of customers returning to the scheme following appeal or transferring to another social welfare payment.
- The only reliable measure of excess payments by the Department through fraudulent claiming is by way of fraud overpayments raised.
- In 2010, total overpayments amounted to EUR83.4m which represented 0.41% of total Departmental expenditure. Of this amount, overpayments arising from activity suspected of being fraudulent amounted to EUR25.9m. To prove fraud requires careful investigation of the case, establishment of the facts, a disallowance of payment by the deciding officer and the setting up of an overpayment in respect of the historical period, where appropriate.