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Article on crisis loans fails to address truths

YOUR article 'Call for clamp-down on crisis loans system as £30m still outstanding' (News, March 10) fails to highlight this debt is largely owed by existing claimants and is thereby being repaid through the benefits system.

The claim that 'fraud is a significant contributing factor to the large sums of money involved' is not supported by any substantive evidence; rather, it is based on unattributed comments.

Processes are in place for making and recovering loan payments, which take into account whether a loan is appropriate.

The article fails to mention total deductions from someone's benefit are controlled by legislation. The article further incorrectly states that, 'When an individual leaves the benefit system, there is no way to recover cash'. Robust processes already exist to pursue recovery of crisis loans and the Welfare Reform Bill (2012) will provide powers to make deductions from an individual's salary.

Crisis loans help people when an emergency occurs and the minister for social development is committed to crisis loans remaining as part of the welfare system.

TOMMY O'REILLY

Chief executive, Social Security Agency

Belfast Telegraph

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