Nearly £15 million in the Carer’s Allowance benefit has been overpaid due to error and fraud, a report from Scotland’s Auditor General has found.
Some 5.2% of the £284 million paid out was related to estimated error and fraud in 2019-20 – about £14.8 million.
Social Security Scotland is now responsible for delivering the benefit but it is still being administered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) through an agreement between the two agencies.
The Auditor General said the Scottish Government agency is still relying on the DWP for administration of much of the £3.5 billion worth of benefits it now has responsibility for.
The timetable for handing over responsibility was extended due to issues caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Auditor General Stephen Boyle said: “Social Security Scotland has strengthened its error and fraud arrangements and reacted quickly to the immediate challenges posed by the pandemic but there’s still a lot of key work to be done.
“It is now responsible for billions in complex benefits spending but remains heavily reliant on the DWP.
“Benefit spending may rise because of Covid-19, increasing the potential for greater error and fraud. And Social Security Scotland needs to think about what arrangements will be needed to manage that scenario.”
For the current financial year, Personal Expenditure Payments are expected to be around £1.6 billion, Disability Living Allowance is expected to total £719 million and Attendance Allowance is expected to be around £532 million.
The error and fraud overpayments associated with these benefits could be greater than £47 million, the auditor’s report said.