Kela tackles benefits abuse

Source: Kela

In 2023, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland Kela uncovered 2 174 cases of suspected misuse of benefits subject to further investigation by means of hearing the customer, for example. Suspicions of benefits abuse may arise, for example, if the customer has given false information or has knowingly withheld information affecting the benefit. 

In 2023, Kela made 585 requests for police investigation, which concerned one or more incidents of benefits abuse. The misuse of benefits had usually taken place in previous years. The total value of benefits abuse cases resulting in a request for police investigation was EUR 3 868 844. The misuse of benefits is often linked to certain shadow economy phenomena such as undeclared payroll and falsified receipts. 

The success rate of Kela's requests for police investigation in the criminal process is high, with roughly 85 per cent of the cases resulting in a judgment. In most cases, benefits abusers are sentenced for petty fraud or fraud. Benefits abusers are also sentenced for aggravated fraud and forgery. Prosecution was waived in only a few cases. 

Kela cooperates with other authorities. For example, co-operation with the Tax Administration gives Kela access to tax audit information. Kela also conducts its own income monitoring and uses other control measures to detect and prevent misuse.

Kela also continuously develops the measures it takes to prevent benefits abuse and uses information systems and new methods based on artificial intelligence and machine learning in this work, among other methods. In 2023, automated identification techniques were introduced at Kela that improve the identification of customer’s income and assets on the bank account statements they provide. In addition, Kela is developing automated detection of fraudulent documents.

Page last updated 3/11/2024