Cyprus Mail
Cyprus

Audit office identifies string of welfare shortcomings

The labour ministry

The audit office on Thursday called on the labour ministry to upgrade without delay the software programme used by the service paying out allowances to low-income pensioners and Guarantee Minimum Income (GMI) beneficiaries and to better monitor recipients’ financial details.

In its audit report on the labour ministry for 2017, the service said that it had discovered cases where lack of coordination was observed between the department paying out allowances to low-income pensioners and the GMI department.

The fact that the ministry’s system is not connected to all banks for the purposes of checking beneficiaries’ and applicants’ accounts as per the law, results in lack of transparency and unequal treatment of applicants, it said.

This also increases the risk of paying allowances to persons who do not fulfil the criteria.

The audit office said there was a need to record procedures as well as to find mechanisms for confirming, monitoring, searching and updating household data to ensure that the allowance for low-income pensioners was paid to the actual beneficiaries.

According to the report, no procedure has been identified for the search, monitoring and / or confirmation of income from interest and dividends and rents at least for those cases that declare rental income in their application.

In addition, there is no record of any annual monitoring and updating process of the cases of pensioners receiving pensions from abroad. Applicants are simply expected to declare any change in their data.

As regards the child allowance, there have been cases of overpayment due to weaknesses or lack of mechanisms in confirming income of beneficiaries.

The filing system for applications and other documents was found to be in a haphazard fashion. Files were found to be not updated and applications, during the audit, were found to be casually kept in work spaces.

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