Unannounced checks on benefits claimants
28 March 2007, AMSTERDAM – State secretary for Social Affairs Ahmed Aboutaleb plans to change the law if the court finds that random house visits by the authorities to benefits recipients without any suspicion of fraud is unlawful.
28 March 2007
AMSTERDAM – State secretary for Social Affairs Ahmed Aboutaleb plans to change the law if the court finds that random house visits by the authorities to benefits recipients without any suspicion of fraud is unlawful.
The state secretary said this in a debate in Parliament on Wednesday on how to combat benefits fraud.
Aboutaleb has the support of a majority in Parliament; the Christian democrats CDA, Labour PvdA, Liberals VVD and Freedom party PVV all support the unannounced visits.
Earlier this month a provisional judge in The Hague ruled that the Social Insurance Bank (SVB) must stop house visits to benefits recipients against whom they do not have any suspicion of fraud. The verification service of the SVB has been checking up on claimants to see if they are hiding the fact that they are cohabiting.
The court in The Hague ruled at the end of last year however that municipalities may continue house visits to benefits recipients. The judge in interim proceedings said that municipalities have the legal authority to violate privacy to a certain degree in order to combat benefits fraud.
A verdict is expected soon from the Central Appeals Tribunal, the highest authority on matters of social security.
Aboutaleb said unannounced house visits were essential in combating benefits fraud. He pointed out that individuals' living circumstances determine how much they are granted in benefits. It is unacceptable to make this impossible to monitor. "And unfortunately there is no other way to check than by visiting the home."
The left-wing opposition parties Socialists SP and Green-left GroenLinks say unannounced visits without concrete suspicion are a disproportionate means of dealing with the issue.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2007]
Subject: Dutch news