Over 5,000 Blue Badge holders 'dead'

Over 5,000 Blue Badge holders 'dead'

Over 5,000 parking permits for disabled drivers have been found to be registered to dead people and may have been used fraudulently a major oversight report on government spending has found.

The National Fraud Initiative also found that almost 10,000 bus and rail travel concessionary passes were registered to the dead.The organisation uses complex data matching processes to bring together information from different government bodies to detect potential frauds.In its latest report it has detected more than £5m of pensions, housing benefit and rates fraud and overpayments in Northern Ireland.Between 1 April 2012 and 31 March this year, the value of payments challenged included over £3m in pension payments, £1.6m in housing benefit and over £350,000 in rates fraud.The total included incorrect payments stopped and an estimate of future savings achieved by no longer making the payments.It also found discrepancies in Blue Badge and bus and rail passes with 15,000 registered to deceased people.This usually means the badges were not returned after the deaths of holders and could potentially be used fraudulently, the audit office said.Auditor general Kieran Donnelly said it was essential government used all preventative means possible to detect fraud.He said: "Every public sector body has a duty to demonstrate a zero tolerance to fraud and to play its part in challenging those who seek to commit fraud."There is still evidence of over-investigation by some participating bodies."Organisations should target investigations on known fraud risks and should not continue to investigate matches when no fraud or error is being found."The auditor, however, said there could be more work done on improving the efficiency of detecting fraud among government organisations.

© UTV

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