In 2022, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland Kela uncovered 1 930 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 2022, Kela made 752 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 5 035 201. 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.
The majority (roughly 50 per cent) of benefits abuse cases resulting in a request for police investigation are related to employment benefits, which have a higher percentage of shadow economy phenomena. 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.