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Results of Child Benefit Data Matching Exercise 10 June 2008

Eddie Teare MHK, Minister for Health and Social Security, today welcomed the findings of the Child Benefit data matching exercise undertaken during the period from January to April 2008.

The Minister said,

“It is pleasing to note that, for children of school age, the findings of the exercise do not appear to substantiate the perception held by a proportion of the public, that Child Benefit is being claimed in respect of a large number of children who are living abroad.”

The Minister added,

“This is now likely to be a regular exercise undertaken by the Department.”

Juan Watterson MHK, Member for Social Security said,

“The exercise has resulted in 17 overpayments being identified where children had left school but the parents had failed to notify the Department. As a result, the Department would be looking to recover in the region of £12,000 from the 17 cases involved.”

Mr Watterson added,

“Customers can accrue large overpayments of benefit if they fail to notify changes in their circumstances, so it is extremely important that they do so at the appropriate time.”

The exercise compared 12,500 children of school age in Child Benefit claims, against children on the registers of the Island’s schools and colleges. The initial comparison identified 273 children not attending schools in the Island. This figure was, however, further reduced as it was already recorded that 74 of these children were attending schools in the UK.

Letters were issued to the parents of the remaining 199 children who did not appear to be in education in the Island. As a result it was identified that a further 71 children are attending schools in the UK, 17 schools within the EU and 23 are being educated at home.

The exercise has also identified a number of cases where the Child Benefit customer has left the Island and 27 cases where the child had ceased full time education. The claims of 8 customers were terminated as they failed to reply to any letter sent to them.

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