Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Swiss cut disability payments to Kosovo

Switzerland’s disability insurance programme will stop sending money to Kosovo over concerns of fraud and abuse, authorities said on Tuesday.
Accords with countries in the former Yugoslavia and with Turkey that govern payments to disabled workers once employed in Switzerland would also be renegotiated, Interior Minister Didier Burkhalter said.

Switzerland pays pensions to roughly 59,000 people living abroad. About 43,000 of those are European Union nationals.

A few hundred of payments go to people in Kosovo. But abuse of the system there prompted an inquiry last year. It failed after investigators received death threats.

The government also decided that no disability payments would be sent abroad for unverifiable claims.

Monitoring safeguards should also be extended to Brazil and the Dominican Republic, Burkhalter said.

Originally created to help people injured while employed in Switzerland, the programme, which has debts of SFr13 billion ($12.7 billion), has been hit hard over the past years by the effects of changes in society and the economy.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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