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Sharp drop in fraudulent unemployment benefit claims
In five years, the number of fraudulent unemployment benefit claimants fell by 17,000 in 2008 to 3,000 last year, De Standaard and Le Soir report today. According to Wouter Langeraert, who coordinates field controls at the National Employment Office, the drastic decrease in benefit fraud is not due to chance. "Each of our employees has been instructed to be particularly attentive to abuses of the system. Moreover, we have developed an intensive data exchange system with other social security services,” he explains.
The fight against benefit fraud has also been strengthened with regard to the marital status of applicants. A claimant who has the official status of legal cohabitant receives less than one who is legally single. The Employment Office now cross-checks its information against the National Register. According to De Standaard, it is very difficult for the authorities to claim back unduly received benefits because the people concerned are more often than not difficult financial situations and are generally unable to pay anything back.