Gardaí working with department to combat welfare fraud

Department of social protection tracking down people illegally claiming benefits

Twenty gardaí are on 12-month secondments with the Department of Social Protection’s Special Investigations Unit to combat welfare fraud.

Twenty gardaí are on 12-month secondments with the Department of Social Protection’s Special Investigations Unit to combat welfare fraud.

 

Twenty gardaí are now working on 12-month secondments with the Department of Social Protection’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) to combat welfare fraud in a move that has already saved the State millions.

The co-operation has increased social protection’s investigative ability and “increased capacity to deal with incidences of social welfare fraud and ensure that such cases are duly protected”, the department said in its annual review.

Meanwhile, social protection is working with local authorities to track down immigrants who are illegally claiming benefits when they are not living in the State by carrying out detailed checks of tenant rolls.

Investigation

Following an SIU investigation, it was confirmed that they had returned to their home country. The house was repossessed by the council. “Savings of €36,000 accrued resulting from the cessation of these payments,” said the department.

Two social protection inspectors are now working full-time with the Garda National Immigration Bureau, while it has “an ongoing and developing” relationship with the Irish National Immigration Service, it said.

File checks are now carried out between the organisations, while detailed checks are made to non-European Economic Area nationals who are ordered to be deported to ensure that no welfare payments continue to be paid to them.

In one case, the Dutch authorities helped to unearth a fraud where a man had used false documents to claim Irish jobseeker allowance payments worth €82,000 and rent allowance worth €32,000 before being caught.