HSE received €12,000 in disability payments for client who had died

Audit also finds another client ‘spent’ €150 in restaurant after death

Two items of “significant and/or unusual expenditure” were identified in relation to a client, who had died in May 2014. Photograph: Istock

Two items of “significant and/or unusual expenditure” were identified in relation to a client, who had died in May 2014. Photograph: Istock

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A HSE service for people with intellectual disabilities received more than €12,000 in welfare payments for a client who had died after it failed to notify the Department of Social Protection of the person’s death.

The details are revealed in an internal audit of the Midlands Intellectual Disability Residential Service (IDRS), which also found “unusual” items of expenditure, including “postmortem restaurant expenditure amounting to €150” in relation to another client.

Two items of “significant and/or unusual expenditure” were identified in relation to a client, who had died in May 2014.

An amount of €19.98 was paid to Fagan Office Supplies on May 28th, after the person had died, for “printing”. A sum of €150 was paid to The Camán Inn on May 31st, the auditors found.

“Restaurant expenditure would be considered unusual by audit where carried out on behalf of a deceased client,” they wrote. “An explanation was not available from management at the time of writing.”

Records examined by internal auditors found a note in relation to “missing money” of €60 in another client’s cash book, which they said appeared to relate to a particular handover in 2013.

There was also a sum of €146.86 spent by the client between September 2012 and May 2014 without any details available.

It also emerged that even though the HSE had stopped generating charges against that particular client on their death in April 2015, the accounting unit and the Department of Social Protection were not informed of the person’s death.

‘Unusual expenditure’

“It would appear to audit that the ramification of this breakdown in communication was that the HSE received €5,871.43 in error and the DoSP paid €12,263.30 to the deceased client’s account in error,” the report said.

Two “items of unusual expenditure” carried out on behalf of the client between September 2012 and May 2015 were also found.

An unexplained loan of €150 was given by the client to his household in December 2012. It was later repaid to the client the same day. Management told the auditors this was “not acceptable” and was contrary to policies in place.

Cash was also given to a named “buddy” who would bring the client on outings but who would not return receipts for such expenditure. The total amount of this expenditure incurred with the “buddy” was €511.85.

There were also a number of postmortem transactions in relation to that client, including the payment of a €205 pharmacy invoice and an €85 bill for clothing for the client’s burial.

The Midlands IDRS has about 22 locations, of which four are outsourced to the Muiríosa Foundation on behalf of the HSE. The residences are located across Laoise, Longford and Westmeath, where they provided residential supports and other services to 123 people as at January 2017.

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