Dáil Éireann - Volume 602 - 11 May, 2005

Written Answers. - Social Welfare Fraud.

  216. Mr. Stanton asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs if his attention has been drawn to any country that requires electronic funds transfers or equivalent arrangements for [580] the standard method of paying most benefits and making analogous payments; if so, if any such country has experienced levels of fraud and error that suggest that electronic funds transfer might not be a cost-effective alternative payment arrangement compared to pension books, cheques and cash; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15682/05]

  Mr. Brennan: The relevant state agencies in the United Kingdom are currently engaged in the migration of all social welfare-type payments to direct payment. At the end of December 2004, 72% of their customers were paid by direct payment to their bank or building society accounts and 14% were paid by direct payment to their post office accounts.

The Department is not aware of any increased risk of fraud or error in countries adopting electronic means of paying social welfare recipients. In the main, the potential for fraud in respect of welfare payments is determined by the risks associated with the claim profile and characteristics rather than the method of payment.