Fraud detection in family allowances (Groeipakket)

Published by: Digital Flanders
Published at 16/05/2023 Last update 19/06/2023
Population and society
Economy and finance

The Flemish government provides a family allowance, known as Groeipakket, to every child residing in Flanders. This support program comprises customized family benefits and financial allowances based on the specific circumstances of each child. The total annual allocation for 1.6 million children amounts to 4 billion euros. The benefits system operates through an automated rights assignment approach, by which additional allowances are determined by the parent's income. However, instances of fraud exceeding 500,000 euros were detected in 2022. Fraud exceeding 500,000 euros was detected in 2022, highlighting the need for an AI application capable of identifying fraud indicators and promptly notifying grant outsourcers. Implementing such a system would yield several anticipated benefits, including enhanced fraud detection effectiveness, improved efficiency for file managers and social inspections, and the potential for a budget surplus for the agency.


Problem or opportunity

Each child residing in Flanders is entitled to receive the Groeipakket (literally, the "Growth Package"), a family allowance designed to provide financial support for raising children. The package is tailored to the specific needs of each child and family, with the amount received contingent upon the parents' financial situation  This inclusive approach ensures that children in Flanders have equal opportunities for growth and development.

The Flemish government disburses the growth package to support 1.6 million children, representing 900,000 families, with a total annual allocation of 4 billion euros. The benefits system operates by automatically assigning rights, ensuring that eligible families receive the appropriate benefits.

Various types of grants are available, including school, social, and care allowances. To qualify for an allowance, the basic requirements include Belgian nationality or legal residence in Belgium, residency within the Flemish region, and the child not exceeding 18 years of age. Additional allowances are determined based on the parent's income.

However, the misallocation of limited resources poses budgetary implications, while fraud undermines the sustainability of social benefit programs. As an example, in 2022, instances of fraud surpassed 500,000 euros. Furthermore, the manual processing of an overwhelming volume of documents by numerous fraud inspectors exacerbates this issue. Nevertheless, fraudulent activities can be easily identified through specific elements within the documentation. Therefore, the implementation of an AI application capable of detecting fraud indicators and notifying grant outsourcers is necessary.


Expected benefits

The primary expected benefit of implementing the proposed AI application is the more effective and automated detection of fraudulent activities. This advancement would enable file managers and social inspections to carry out their responsibilities with increased efficiency. Additionally, the adoption of such a system could potentially result in a surplus in the agency's budget.

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