Fraud on social benefits… On the right and on the far right of the political spectrum, people continue to denounce the loss of revenue for the State. So much so that some presidential candidates are making the fight against social fraud one of the major axes of their campaign.
The LR candidate Valérie Pécresse even wants to create a ministry of social fraud, estimating it between 10 and 15 billion euros per year. Same estimates for Marine Le Pen (RN). Eric Zemmour advance, he, an estimate much higher than its competitors: if 1 billion euros of fraud were observed in 2019, they would potentially be 45 billion per year.
However, the candidate Fabien Roussel (PCF) sharply criticizes these positions. For him, we must act against tax evasion, advancing the figure of 100 billion euros per year, against 10 billion for social fraud.
But then where should you focus your efforts first?
Social fraud difficult to estimate
The problem is that there is no estimate of social fraud, while France spends nearly 600 billion in social benefits every year. According to the report of the Court of Auditors for 2019, “the main social organizations have detected 1 billion euros in damages”. But most services do not provide an estimate of the amount of fraud. This is the case for health insurance and the old-age branch. Only the National Family Insurance Fund (Cnaf) estimates the amount of fraud it suffers: 2.3 billion euros in 2018. For its part, if Pôle emploi has undertaken to carry out a periodic estimate, it is hardly known. In 2013, it was 58.7 million euros for a total amount of benefits paid of 33 billion euros (ie around 1.7%). In 2018, this amount was 34.6 billion euros, so a potential fraud estimated at around 60 million euros.
“More generally, taking into account both errors and fraud, social organizations lose significant sums in any case”, explains the report of the Court of Auditors. In 2018, the CAFs wrongly paid, definitively, around 3 billion euros, or 4.5% of the total amount of benefits. For 2019, Health Insurance also estimates the amount of irregular bills paid to professionals and health establishments at 1 billion euros. An amount which does not include stays in public and private non-profit health establishments and “therefore clearly underestimated”, points out the Court of Auditors.
Social fraud is undoubtedly much higher than the 1 billion euros detected in 2019. However, does it really reach 45 billion euros as Eric Zemmour advances?
Between 14 and 40 billion euros per year
This is the high estimate of Charles Prats, French magistrate, in his book “Cartel of fraud”, published in 2020 (Ring), who even puts forward the figure of 50 billion frauds per year. That is about 10% of what France pays in social benefits.
The National Assembly’s commission of inquiry estimated, in September 2020, social fraud “between 14 and 40 billion euros” per year. That is between 3 and 10% of the amount of benefits paid.
The reality probably lies between the two.
UDI deputy Pascal Brindeau, rapporteur for the commission of inquiry into social fraud, in September 2020
A figure to qualify: at least ten billion euros of social aid would not be claimed by their beneficiaries in France each year, revealed in mid-January The Parisian. According to the platform Mes-allocs.fr, at the origin of the calculation, omissions, heaviness of the procedures or even poor knowledge of the existing allowances explain this figure. Among the big forgotten, we find the RSA, not claimed by 35% of people who can benefit from it. And also the activity bonus, unclaimed at 53%.
And tax evasion in all this?
Faced with this difficult estimate, one figure outweighs all the others: tax evasion is estimated at between 80 and 100 billion euros, according to the Solidaire finances union, in April 2021 on France Info.
However, in 2020, France recovered “only” 7.8 billion euros thanks to controls to combat tax fraud, according to the Ministry of Economy and Finance. The Solidaires finances union thus asked last April for more means to fight against tax evasion. It remains to be seen where the priorities of the next president will go.