DHS data match makes savings
Despite criticism and scandals, the Federal Government is celebrating the money it has saved with its welfare crackdown.
The Department of Human Services (DHS) says it has saved $1.4 billion since it started using data matching technology to detect discrepancies in payments.
But the new ‘robo-debt’ program has come under fire for wrongly accusing thousands of people of overpayment of social security benefits.
The Coalition said it has increased the number of yearly welfare checks by half a million since it took office.
Human Services Minister Michael Keenan says the savings have been worth it.
“It shows you that we are actually serious about making sure that people only get what they're entitled to,” he said.
“There were certainly aspects of that that could've been handled better.
“But the fundamental principle remains the same, and that is people should expect that they can get what they need from the welfare system, but it's not reasonable to overclaim from it.”
Over 1,400 examples of possible welfare fraud have been investigated by DHS, and around 900 referred to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.
“We've had examples with someone defrauding the system by $160,000,” Mr Keenan said.
“They were found guilty and fraud and sentenced to three years in prison, and that's a very bad example.
“But anybody who's over claiming from the system, anybody who's been getting more than they're entitled can expect that the Coalition Government will go after them.”