Detecting and preventing error, evasion and fraud (EEF) in social security systems is essential to ensure the development and promotion of social security protection as well as to strengthen public trust in social security institutions.
The development of social security systems is encouraged by international institutions, including the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Social Security Association (ISSA). Social security systems are an important facet of social investment involving considerable, and often increasing, financial commitments. Such commitments, in turn, require guarantees of the proper use of the resources allocated.
For this reason, the application of coherent policies to detect and prevent EEF in social security is essential:
- To guarantee the rights of social security beneficiaries: detecting and preventing error, and adjudicating on the entitlements of each beneficiary based on their status by reducing cases of non-allocation;
- To guarantee the use of social security resources in accordance with their purpose, without any diversion of those resources to interests that are alien to social security, such as the interests of individual or legal entities, whether for-profit or not-for-profit, which have no connection to social security rights or obligations;
- To guarantee the acceptance by those who pay contributions and taxes of the defined rules, by communicating the results of endeavours to detect and prevent EEF, dissuading them from seeking opportunities for EEF, and persuading them to accept and consent to (comply with) the payment of social security contributions.
The effectiveness of anti-fraud policies, and the appropriate communication of their results, is essential to build trust in the development of social security institutions. Addressing EEF also increases public trust in the system and creates a positive spill-over effect.
The sustainable development of social security institutions is not merely a matter of the efficiency of the techniques used to collect contributions and award benefits, regardless of whether such techniques are of a legal or financial nature or involve information and communication technology (ICT), etc. The use of rigorous processes to detect and prevent EEF reinforces the legitimacy of social security institutions and has a positive impact on their capacity for sustainable development in support of social well-being and economic redistribution and growth.
Processes to detect and prevent EEF must be designed and implemented in a comprehensive manner. Social security institutions and all their functions (distribution of benefits, collection of contributions, and support functions, such as legal techniques, finance, ICT, communications, etc.) should be covered by such processes.