One person claimed blind welfare allowance from two health service executive (HSE) offices have been receiving overpayments of more than €30,000 at the same time for nearly 10 years, an audit has found.
The internal audit, completed in April 2021, warned that people claiming payments from different healthcare sectors at the same time had the potential to be “systemic”, recommending a national review of the issue.
The Blind Welfare Allowance is a means test payment of €61.50 a week, with a further €4.40 per dependent child.
An HSE internal audit found that a person had been paid allowances to Community Health Organization (CHO) 7 in Dublin as well as CHO 4 in Cork for more than 9½ years between the end of 2007 and September 2019.
The audit noted that payments from the Dublin office had stalled for the period from 2009 to the end of 2010. The report said the existing system used by each of the nine CHOs to pay the allowance was not “integrated” together.
Audit calculated the amount that was overpaid as a result of two offices paying the same person was €30,820.
“There is no agreement between the two regions to compensate for the overpayment,” the report said. The person claiming double payment is dead.
The audit team said the case showed that there was a risk of “financial loss to the organization due to integration of payment service systems” because claims made at more than one CHO were not flagged.
The report recommends that all CHOs be informed about the risks of multiple payments being made by different offices. It also said that a “national review” of all blind welfare allowance payments should be considered, “to ensure that no other duplicate payments exist”.
The audit also highlighted another case where a person claiming Blind Welfare Allowance had died in May 2016, but checks for payment continued to be sent for almost two years till March 2018. Some €5,195 was cashed from checks issued after checks. was dead, the report said.
fraud was referred to garda, who told HSE early last year that the investigation into the matter was “ongoing”.
A further €7,872 was paid by the Cork Office to three people living in the nursing home, making them ineligible for blind allowance payments.
Separately, another internal audit found that a quarter of HSE community health workers in Cork and Kerry had no evidence of completing required child protection training.
The audit, which examined Community Health Organization 4, which includes Cork and Kerry, found that only three-quarters of the sample of employees had completed mandatory training in the Children’s First law.
The law, which went into effect in late 2017, introduced mandatory reporting requirements for child protection or welfare concerns.
Internal audit examined a sample of 53 employees, and found that 26 percent were not registered as completing online introductory training on child protection law.
Of the 14 employees who were not registered as having completed training, nine were mandated individuals under Children’s First, meaning they were responsible for reporting identified child protection concerns or alleged abuse to the organization to authorities. Were.