25 people a day report Irish dole cheats

Dole Queue Dublin 715 90228706

Newly released figures show that over 36,000 people have anonymously tipped off the Department of Social Protection reporting someone they knew illegally claiming benefits while working.

The Department received a total of 88,500 reports of all natures through its anonymous fraud hotline between 2011 and 2014.

Of the calls, people illegally claiming benefits while in work made up more than 40 per cent or 36,730 people.

Reports of couples living together while claiming the single parent allowance made up 23 per cent of all the calls, which was 21,240 in four years.

More than 4,230 or 5 per cent of callers reported someone claiming social benefits in Ireland while living abroad, while 3 per cent, or 2,622, alleged an employer had failed to report a staff member for claiming social benefits.

A further 23,620 people, 29 per cent of the total, called with unspecified complaints.

The recession saw a vast change in the number of calls made. Last year 21,088 people called the fraud hotline, a drop of 6 per cent on 2013 and 25 per cent on 2012 at the height of the banking crisis, when more than 28,000 anonymous calls were logged.

Sinn Fein’s Social Protection Spokesperson Angus O’Snodaigh suggests introducing a text service for people whose situations change but cannot find the time to call to their local office.

The TD told the Irish Mirror: “Workers and neighbours are justifiably annoyed when they see what they perceive as someone ripping off the system, but it’s often a misunderstanding.

“Many workers claim the dole but regularly pick up extra casual work, particularly in the farming or construction communities. It’s not always practical to for them to travel to their local INTREO office to report changes in circumstances right away. The Government needs to make it easier for people to report these changes”.

 

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