Agency investigating Slovakian migrant laborers over sickness benefit fraud allegations
Benefits agency UWV launched an investigation into benefits fraud by people from Slovakia. The agency noticed that a striking number of migrant workers from the country claimed the Sickness Benefits with the same symptoms. It quickly realized that some of the doctors’ statements were falsified, NOS reports.
Migrant workers can apply for benefits in the Netherlands if they become ill. They also retain this right when they return to their home country.
Insurance doctors noticed that relatively many migrant workers from Slovakia reported being sick after working a short period in the Netherlands, often with the same symptoms. The UWV checked 94 cases and found nine files containing falsified doctors’ statements - when investigators called the doctor, they didn’t know the patient and never issued a statement.
In another 28 cases, the applicant was unwilling to provide further details, so the UWV stopped the benefit. In 32 cases, the application was rejected with no money paid. The UWV is still investigating the other files.
According to the UWV, it paid out over 200,000 euros in potentially fraudulent benefits. It will try to recover that money and impose fines but added that enforcement abroad is difficult due to “legal and practical limitations.”
The benefits agency stressed that it tries to find a balance between smoothly paying benefits to people who act in good faith and preventing and combating fraud.