CBA: Inter-departmental communication St. Maarten key to combating social benefits fraud


PHILIPSBURG--There are two types of social benefits fraud trending in St. Maarten: employers' evasion of paying employer premiums and pensioners who unlawfully put in to receive pensions from both the Dutch and French governments.

This according to the report "Crime Pattern Analysis CBA," a near-300-page document presented to Justice Minister Roland Duncan by Attorney General Dick Piar on Wednesday.

As in the case of health insurance fraud, the agency for social and sickness insurance USZV advises that more information must be exchanged between government agencies to handle these types of fraud properly.
USZV has estimated that fraud relating to the General Old Age Pension Insurance (AOV) runs up to several hundred thousand guilders.

AOV fraud is the collecting of a higher pension amount than the pensioner has right to. A common example cited has to do with persons living on the French side, but still registered at the Dutch civil registry. By doing this, they receive pensions from both governments. Often these same persons have homes they rent out to increase their monthly income. Pensioners have received AOV subsidy wrongfully.

In the second category, USZV has established that approximately 30 per cent of local employers neglect paying the employer premiums as required in the labour sector. For example, it was realised that premium evasion is considerably higher in the construction sector than the banking sector. Also, some employers simply pocket the money. Yearly, millions of guilders are lost because employers do not pay their legally required premiums.

USZV is also aware that in the construction sector employers are placing employees on sick leave when there is not enough work. By doing this, these employers try to minimise the amount they pay in wages. This also is fraud.

To combat frauds related to employer premiums, health insurance and pension, information exchange is needed between the various departments. USZV advises that the first priority must be to invest in better information collection, before fraud can be properly contained or even detected.

This type of work is outside of police responsibilities. Therefore, USZV also advises that a commission be selected and given specific knowledge of the laws and rules relating to these areas. The commission can search through various department systems for administrative clues that will help it detect fraud.