Parents of ‘sick kids’ in massive fraud

Many Swedish parents are claiming benefits, saying they are staying home with sick children, when if fact they are working or going on vacation.

After an investigation of 27,000 people who, during August, reported sick kids to the social insurance office, it is now thought there is a huge amount of fraud going on. The insurance office said it could soon be up to employers to report parents missing from work.

The insurance office, (Försäkringskassan), has decided to focus special attention on 4,500 people whose claims didn’t match follow-ups it did by calling employers.

The most common form of fraud is parents who request reimbursement even though they go to work or go on vacation.

The investigation shows that earlier studies showed that some 16 percent of reimbursement was paid out on false grounds.

“It would pretty easily change the situation, then we can stop calling around to all employers to make sure that parents are not at work,” said Curt Malmborg Försäkringskassan’s director, who is going to recommend to Parliament next month that employers report when people take off time to look after their kids.

“Sweden has probably the world’s most generous parent insurance,” he said. “We won’t have it left if there is so much leakage.”

Försäkringskassan will continue to investigate all claims made this fall. Of the 4,500 that will be closely looked at, a portion will turn out to be honest mistakes.