Denmark: Holiday welfare-fraud

Denmark: Holiday welfare-fraud

Many welfare recipients go on vacation via Germany to avoid their trip abroad being registered in Denmark. This allows the welfare recipients to go on vacation without fear of losing their benefits, though it's illegal and is considered benefit fraud.

A few less-sophisticated leave via airports in Denmark, where the risk of being discovered by tax inspectors is much higher.

According to the Tax Authority and the municipalities that Jyllands-Posten spoke with, there are two types of holiday-cheats:

Ethnic Danes who go on 'sun-vacations' for a few weeks without declaring it.

The other group is people of a non-Danish background who go on vacation to their homeland for up to four months without notifiynig the municipality that they're going home.

The municipalities and the Tax Authority don't know how much money is fraudelenty paid in welfare in such a way, but both estimate the amount is severla million kroner.

Kjeld Petersen is a customs consultant for the Tax Authority's smuggling inspectors in Billund airport, and he knows some people cheat on their welfare on vacations.

he says that in the past four years they've had a lot of success with their inspections, but people discovered that it's too dangerous to depart from Billund and Copenhagen and they now drive to Hamburg or Frankfurt and depart from there. There's no inspection there, and inspectors don't stand at the German border every day, so there's a minimal risk of being caught.

If a couple is receiving welfare benefits, they could get together over 26,000 kroner a month. And the total can quickly run up if they leave Denmark for a few months.

Kjeld Petersen says they have cases involving 100,000 kroner. Most recently were a Somali and Nigerian who left Denmark for 3-4 months and fraudulently received 72,000 kroner.

Marianne Lyngholm-Pedersen works in the inspection group in Kolding municipality. Due to vacation welfare-fraud, they established and formalized cooperation with the customs agents in Billund airport. She urges citizens to tip municipalities if they know of welfare fraud.

She says they rely heavily on reports from citizens. Some of these people, for example those who go on vacation in the Balkans, drive very often. The authorities don't know about them, and they don't get their passports stamped when they drive. But she knows that it happens. They fill the car, and off they go.

Source: Jyllands-Posten (Danish), h/t Uriasposten