Inmates’ social welfare cut after data checks revealed they were in prison

The Department of Social Protection estimated that it saved €8 million from a number of data-matching exercises up to last September

Heather Humphreys, Minister for Social Protection Picture: Julien Behal

Some 370 prisoners had their social welfare payments cut off last year after cross-checks against the records of the Irish Prison Service revealed they were in prison.

The move generated savings of €2.3 million, and was part of an €8 million crackdown that also targeted nursing home residents and taxi drivers.

Around 178,000 records held by other government agencies were cross-checked against the names of people getting social welfare payments.

Documents obtained by the Business Post under the Freedom of Information Act show that students wrongly claiming social welfare and people found to be getting undeclared pensions from the British government were also caught by the data-matching exercises.