Single mums caught in $110m welfare rort
SINGLE mothers who have been crying poor but raking in tens of thousands of dollars in welfare have been busted in a $110 million rort.
The women - from around Australia - have been claiming a single parenting payment but hiding cash they have received from operating and working in family day care.
In Queensland, a family day care mother who was receiving the single parenting payment had pocketed about $70,000 through her work at three family day care providers.
She had significantly under-declared money earned and will now be forced to repay taxpayers $10,000.
In another Queensland example, a mother received more than $120,000 over three financial years but declared net income less than $20,000 a year. She now has a Centrelink debt of more $40,000.
The Australian Federal Police and Human Services Department's joint Taskforce Integrity, Australian Taxation Office data matching and AUSTRAC helped identify the rorters.
The blowtorch has finalised 6200 cases, and is on track to recoup $110 million - about $40 million in debts from this financial year.
Human Services Minister Alan Tudge said the crackdown was to ensure taxpayers' money was valued.
"The Coalition Government is serious about ensuring welfare recipients get what they are entitled to, nothing more, nothing less,'' Mr Tudge said.
"While the vast majority of people do the right thing, the unfortunate reality is that some people deliberately defraud the system while others inadvertently fail to update their records.
"Data matching is working. It is working to ensure that debts are identified and money owed to the taxpayer is recovered.
"Taxpayers are happy to support those who are down on their luck but they expect integrity in the system."
He said government departments shared more information than ever before.
"We can now check the income people are reporting to Centrelink is correct by matching it with data from other government departments so it's an important reminder to ensure your income details are accurate.
"Labor simply failed to do the basic auditing of welfare payments to ensure that people weren't ripping off the taxpayer.
"We are now doing this work and uncovering welfare overpayments to ensure taxpayer's money is not being wasted."
A lot of the Government's compliance measures are targeting people who pay tax. It means cheats who under-declare their income and receive welfare payments are being nabbed in greater numbers.