Social security

France's rights ombudsman slams abuses of benefits fraud crackdown

France — Analysis

Successive French governments have made a priority of the issue of social benefits fraud, which is recurrently a popular subject for politicians of all sides during election campaigns, and also for some sections of the media. But a report this month by France’s official ombudsman for the protection of citizens’ rights reveals that while the true cost of benefits fraud is often grossly overestimated, benefits agencies are engaged in such a zealous crackdown that many innocent people, most often the poorest in society, have been cheated of their rightful allowances, and ordered to make backpayments on false pretences. Mediapart political commentator Hubert Huertas details the findings of the report.

French welfare deficit higher than planned says minister

France — Link

Heath minister Marisol Touraine says social security deficit will hit 11.7 billion euros this year instead of originally forecast of 9.8 billion.

France won’t cut spending on health care amid high social-security debt load

France — Link

Health minister Marisol Touraine says health care spending will be maintained despite President Hollande's new pledge to reduce welfare 'abuses'.

EC calls for private sector competition to manage social security services


The national social security services of European Union member states are to be opened up to private sector competition according to the terms of a proposed European Commission directive on public procurement. The directive, presented in December 2011 by European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, Michel Barnier, and due to be submitted to the European Parliament later this year, requires governments to launch a yearly invitation for tenders to manage sectors of their compulsory social security services, most of which until now have been managed according to the principle of social solidarity. Surprisingly, the proposal, contained in an annexe of the 246-page text of the directive, was until this month unnoticed by MEPs, several of whom have now mounted an urgent campaign to have it removed. Mediapart's Brussels correspondent Ludovic Lamant reports. 

French audit office warns of huge social security deficit consequences

France — Link

France must make painful cuts to rein in a social security deficit that is uniquely huge among euro zone countries, the state audit office warns.

Government prepares a bitter pill for overcharging French doctors


Earlier this summer, France’s new socialist government announced a crackdown on the increasing number of self-employed doctors who charge fees well in excess of the standard rates refunded by the country’s social security system. The government is concerned that the explosion in fees charged by specialist practitioners is excluding many medium and lower income earners from being able to pay for consultations that are only partially reimbursed, often at less than a quarter of the fee demanded. Doctors’ representative bodies and the state social security office have been given until October 17th to thrash out an agreement, without which the government says it will introduce legislation this autumn to force the fees down. Vincent Manilève reports.

Threat to French arts and entertainment casuals' social security exception

France — Link

The envy of struggling artists across the world, the French social benefits safety net for entertainment business casual workers is under threat.

Exposing the real fraud behind 'welfare-dependent France'

France — Investigation

Welfare benefit fraud is currently a regular headline topic in the French media, and the ruling UMP conservative right party has made it a campaign issue for next year's presidential and legislative elections. But are France's welfare-dependent, dismissevely described as 'les assistés', really Europe's champion scroungers, as some pretend? Mathieu Magnaudeix argues here, figures in hand, why the issue is a political smokescreen that ignores both the facts and the massive cost of tax fraud and evasion by the well-off.