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Checks prompt decline in child sickness benefit cheats: report

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Checks prompt decline in child sickness benefit cheats: report
11:33 CEST+02:00
Cases of suspected fraud by parents claiming benefits for the care of sick children have declined dramatically following the introduction of an absence certificate requirement, a new report by the Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan) shows.

Checks prior to the introduction of the certificate of absence, to be provided by schools and pre-schools, showed that cheating was suspected in eight percent of cases. But in the second half of 2008, this figure had declined dramatically to only one percent.

In the majority of cases the child had in fact attended school or pre-school while the parents had claimed the benefit.

"This has declined surprisingly quickly," said Viktor Karlsson of the Social Insurance Agency to the newspaper Dagens Nyheter.

The number of suspected cases of benefit fraud are reported to have remained low in the early months of 2009, according to the newspaper.

However checks on employers to see whether parents had in fact been at work while claiming benefits show a slight increase over the period - from eight percent prior to the introduction of the certificate, to nine percent in the second half of 2008.

Viktor Karlsson is unable to explain the difference, but says that it could be as a result of parents placing their children in the care of others while they go to work, and then claiming the benefit all the same.

Temporary parental benefit is available in Sweden to parents for the care of their sick children. Parents of children under the age of twelve are entitled to receive up to 120 days per child and year.

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