State job centre and benefit agency UWV is facing enormous backlogs in several key areas of its work, Trouw reported on Saturday. The paper based its findings on a number of leaked internal policy documents.
According to the documents, the UWV is currently struggling to process 73,000 reports of fraud while 47,000 people are waiting to enter a back-to-work re-integration scheme and 25,000 people are waiting for a medical re-assessment to see if they are fit for work.
‘It is imperative that a different way of working be found quickly’, the paper quotes one of the documents as saying. In another, the UWV admits that action needs to be taken or ‘the backlog will be impossible to catch up with’.
The organisation has since admitted to the figure of 25,000 medical reassessments. ‘We don’t have the budget to process them all. That is a political choice,’ Trouw quoted a spokesperson as saying.
This is not the first time the UWV has been overwhelmed. Five years ago the backlog of checks on invalidity benefit claimants reached 100,000 and it was decided then to drop the reassessment of over half the claims.
Reports of fraud are also inundating the UWV. According to Trouw, that figure may be adjusted by labelling 30% of cases as ‘not serious enough to investigate’. The same method was used last year and was then presented as a one-off measure to cope with the backlog, the paper pointed out.
MPs have called on social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher to explain the claims and how he plans to tackle the problems.
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