Social workers want access to benefit applicants’ bank accounts (3)
Social workers in the Estonian capital of Tallinn would like access to the bank accounts of subsistence benefit applicants in order to catch those scamming the system by providing false information.
Social workers have submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Social Affairs to consider granting local governments the right to view the bank account details of subsistence benefit applicants and their family members, reported Estonian daily Eesti Päevaleht (link in Estonian).
Marje Paljak, director of the Social Welfare Department of the Central Tallinn district administration, acknowledged, however, that the problem is not all that great, as in their district there are perhaps only two or three scammers, who are exposed sooner or later, among the approximately 200 monthly subsistence benefit applicants, and the ratio of scammers to legitimate applicants is the same in the country’s other local governments.
In order to receive subsistence benefits, applicants must submit information regarding their monthly income and expenditures, and benefits are awarded only in cases where applicants’ net monthly income less the cost of housing falls below the established subsistence level.
This year, the subsistence level of income is 130 euros per month for an individual living alone, and 104 euros for each additional family member; subsistence level for each minor family member is likewise 130 euros per month.