Economic News More than 280,000 self-employed workers collected 500 million euros in the pandemic without meeting the requirements, according to the Court of Auditors

The Court of Auditors has detected that a total of 281,000 self-employed workers received 505

Economic News More than 280,000 self-employed workers collected 500 million euros in the pandemic without meeting the requirements, according to the Court of Auditors

The Court of Auditors has detected that a total of 281,000 self-employed workers received 505.5 million euros in aid due to the cessation of activity during the pandemic without meeting the legally required requirements or without their economic activity being suspended due to the health emergency.

It is one of the main conclusions of the audit report on the management and control of the extraordinary benefit for cessation of activity of self-employed workers affected by the declaration of the State of Alarm for the management of the health crisis situation caused by Covid-19. .

In its investigation, the supervisory institution has detected non-compliance with the requirements legally required of self-employed workers. Being registered with Social Security or up to date with the payment of contributions are some of the requirements that, at least, 125,000 self-employed workers did not meet and who received 119.5 million euros.

In turn, some 156,000 self-employed workers received 386 million for ceasing an activity that, however, was not suspended due to the pandemic in the list of the National Classification of Economic Activities (CNAE).

In addition to this, the Court of Auditors affirms that the non-compliance and incidents related to the management and control procedure for fee exemptions would affect 69,269 beneficiaries for a total amount of 41.6 million euros.

In its report, the Court of Auditors indicates that the benefit for cessation of activity, which entailed both a benefit and exemption from social contributions, was "effective" in maintaining the employment of self-employed workers, which was the purpose for which it was intended. was conceived.

But he has also warned that the management of aid has been "inefficient" based on the numerous "incidents and non-compliance" detected. In addition, the agency adds that the regulation of the benefit was "insufficient" in its origin and up to seven modifications were necessary between 2020 and 2023. This, says the Court, has caused "legal uncertainty, inequality of treatment between beneficiaries, and has favored the emergence of dysfunctions and inefficiencies in management.

The organization indicates that almost 1.5 million self-employed workers, 44% of affiliates, benefited from the extraordinary benefit in June 2020. The average benefit paid during the period of validity was 2,513 euros, while the average per beneficiary of the amount exempted for social contributions amounted to 1,007 euros.

The recognized net expense has risen to at least 3,741 million euros derived from the payment of this benefit, to which 1,495 million euros are added as a result of the contribution exemptions.

The report highlights that 94% of the benefit requests processed by the Mutual Collaborators with Social Security were resolved favorably in 2020 on a provisional basis, postponing the verification of compliance with all the necessary requirements at the end of the state of alarm.

However, this review has been postponed until 2023 with the risk that it may even be affected by the four-year statute of limitations established for benefits unduly received in the field of Social Security. "Which could, ultimately, cause economic damage to Social Security," adds the Court.

Regarding the procedure for managing and controlling fee exemptions, the institution has confirmed that there are "discrepancies and inefficiencies" in the different sources of information of the Social Security System.

With this panorama, the Court recommends that the procedure for reviewing the provisional resolutions adopted be initiated and that, when appropriate, the benefits unduly received be reimbursed. The institution points out, however, that these reviews have already begun after receiving the preliminary draft report for allegations.