Child benefit is a monthly payment made to families with children in respect of all qualified children. It is currently paid, to almost 632,000 families in respect of over 1.2 million children, with an estimated expenditure of €2.1 billion this year.
The Department operates control programmes on all payment schemes.
A number of methods are used to select claims for review. Targeted reviews happen when the Department becomes aware of a potential change in circumstances from information supplied internally, from other Government Departments or from Social Security Agencies from other EU member states.
The Department also randomly sends review forms to all customers that receive payment via Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) approximately every 12 - 18 months. Customers that collect payment in their post office must collect payment in person and are therefore not reviewed as frequently.
In 2018 nearly 348,000 child benefit reviews were undertaken, generating €59.5 million in savings and overpayments of €4.3 million. To the end of June 2019 there have been 218,000 reviews initiated and these have generated savings of €34 Million with €2.1 million in overpayments assessed.
The Department is constantly evaluating its control programme and where efficiencies can be found they will be implemented.
I trust that this helps clarify the matter for the Deputy.