7 May 2018

German family benefits in disarray

More than €100 million in child benefits is claimed fraudulently by European Union migrants in Germany, almost a third of the total it pays to foreign children who do not live there.

An investigation by the Welt Am Sonntag found that organised crime gangs targeted migrants from southeastern Europe and supplied them with fake birth or school certificates for non-existent children.

EU rules require governments to pay benefits at the full rate to children living in countries, such as Romania, where living costs are far lower, creating an incentive for fraudsters.

The payment of the full rate of €192 a month to EU migrants’ children in their home countries is controversial in Germany, but the EU has blocked attempts to cut the payments in line with standards in the countries where the children live.

Karsten Bunk, director of the child benefit fund, told the newspaper: “The reason that this type of crime is so widespread is the full freedom of movement that came with the eastward expansion of the EU.”

In total, 215,499 children not living in Germany received the benefits, paid to a parent, last year at a cost of €343 million. Up to 72,000 of these claims are thought to have been false. The money gained fraudulently is often paid not to the benefit applicants but to criminal gangs.

Katja Suding, deputy leader of the opposition Free Democratic Party, has called on the government to tackle fraud by streamlining 150 family benefits that are paid by different agencies.



Edward Spalton said...

I think it must be around ten years ago. A friend's wife worked in a local DHSS benefits office where they received many claims like this from Eastern Europeans. She realised that many claims were false and the evidence produced was often unconvincing. As a conscientious lady, she asked what she should do about it and was told that she should pay such claims regardless. The office manager was in terror of accusations of "discrimination" - which, in the true sense of the word, was what her job description required her to exercise. Being within a few years of pensionable retirement, she did as she was told as the management would not have backed her, if complaints were made.

In a completely unrelated matter, I had a friend who had married a younger Ukrainian lady who was only permitted into the country " without recourse to public funds". My friend was in poor health and his wife was an admirably active lady wh took on two part time jobs to keep things going. I was a frequent visitor in my friend's last illness and he told me much of the attitudes within the Ukrainian community. There was a belief that, if you could get a Schengen visa, permitting access to all the countries in the Schengen area, it was possible to claim benefits in each country at the same time. It required an accomplice to impersonate the claimant in each country when he was elsewhere but, with a little ingenuity and cooperation, a very substantial income could be achieved. I don't know how far this was possible but it was certainly believed. I am not saying this was or is a particular feature of the Ukrainian community and, as mentioned, the lady was an admirably hardworking person,

Anonymous said...

One of the current scams is for people from the EU to submit bogus wage slips and receive Housing Benefit and Tax Credits. DWP know this is going on but tax credits continue to be paid without any checks. Anyone can get a payslip from the internet, hence the 'record numbers in work'.