Disability over-payments of €270m attributed to fraud, error or ineligibility

Investigations underway as excess payments to social welfare schemes range up to 10.4%


Excess payments to recipients of 14 social welfare schemes ranged from 0.5 per cent to 10.4 per cent of the total fund of €15.96 billion, according to the Comptroller and Auditor General.

The annual public services report from the State’s financial watchdog revealed that the biggest over-payments in funds of €7.97 billion voted by the Oireachtas, were for disability allowance and the farm assist payment.

The disability allowance fund totals €1.469 million and overpayments estimated at 18.4 per cent gross (€270 million), or4.1 per cent net, were made either through fraud, error or medical ineligibility, the report states.

The farm assist fund, social welfare instalments for farmers in financial difficulty, amounts to €78 million, of which 10.6 per cent gross (10.4 per cent net) is estimated as overpayment.

The largest overpayment in social insurance funded schemes was for illness benefit at 13.4 per cent gross (6 per cent net) of the €599 million total. The level of disability allowance excessive payment is well above the next nearest, the invalidity pensions where overpayment is estimated at 2.8 per cent gross (1.5 per cent net).

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection is currently investigating the back to work enterprise allowance and the non-contributory State pension to analyse them for excess payments.

Investigations are planned next year on the disability allowance scheme and the one-parent family scheme.