Meeting of LegCo Panel on Welfare ServicesBackground
on 12 April 1999
Agenda Item V: Strengthening of Social Security Field Units (SSFUs)
and the Special Investigation Team (SIT)
The Social Security Branch of the Social Welfare Department has 33 SSFUs which are responsible for processing applications for Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA), Social Security Allowance (SSA) and Fee Assistance (FA). The staff of SSFUs are also responsible for performing emergency relief duties. During processing applications for the above social welfare schemes, staff of SSFUs are required to verify information provided by the applicants, conduct investigation through home visits or office interviews, conduct assessment and authorization on applicants' eligibility for welfare assistance. The existing CSSA and SSA cases are reviewed regularly and the staff of SSFUs have to conduct reviews to ensure the continued eligibility of the recipients.
2. There are two Special Investigation Teams (SITs) that play the central role in fraud prevention and detection. The staff of SITs are mainly responsible for undertaking in-depth investigation of suspected fraud cases and conducting random checks of existing cases to detect fraud. SIT will also follow up on reports of suspected fraud and abuse, either received through the telephone hotline or other sources.
3. The approved establishment of SSFUs and the SITs in 1998/99 are 1 349 and 18 respectively. In 1999-2000, this will be increased to 1 537 for SSFUs and 34 staff for SITs respectively. A breakdown of the staff deployment is at the Annex
. The increase of staff in the SSFUs is required to implement the Support for Self-reliance Scheme, handle increased number of applications and reviews due to increase in social security caseloads and strengthen investigation. The increase of staff in SIT is required to step up investigation and prevention of CSSA fraud.
Strengthening of investigation and fraud prevention
4. With the provision of additional staff, SWD will implement the following measures to strengthen control to safeguard public expenditure against fraud and abuse :