Robbed blind? Greece cracks down on benefit fraud

Associated Press + More

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece's biggest welfare fund says 60 percent of people drawing disability payments for the blind on the eastern island of Chios are not entitled to them.

The announcement Thursday by the state fund IKA comes as Greek authorities step up efforts to root out widespread welfare and pension fraud amid the country's acute financial crisis.

IKA said it selected Chios for an investigation after noticing that the percentage of visually impaired residents far exceeded the national average. It said three-fifths of the people getting state benefits for the blind do not have serious visual impairments and would have their benefits cut.

Similar checks have been carried out elsewhere in Greece. The government says it will seek repayment of benefits given to people who were not entitled to them.

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