Brazil gears up to enhance data analytics to tackle benefit fraud

Interoperability and workforce training to use more data in decision-making are at the core of projects underpinning the reform of the country's pension system.
Written by Angelica Mari, Contributing Writer

The Brazilian government is planning a series of measures around boosting the use of data-driven technologies to tackle fraud in the national social security system.

The intended changes come against a backdrop of significant developments as the basic text for the overhaul of the country's pension system, one of the government's key priorities, was approved by the lower house of Congress on Wednesday (10).

Technology initiatives underpin the Brazilian government's expectations to save up to 9 billion reais ($2.4 billion) in 2019, with initiatives specifically related to reducing benefit fraud.

According to the National Institute of Social Security (INSS), ongoing technology work relates to "handling irregularities and increasing transparency" across the system.

Such efforts have digitization of processes and improved use of analytics at their core, alongside training processes to help the benefit agents make better decisions through the use of data.

"The most effective way to tackle fraud and irregularity, is by using technology, with systems that can cross-reference information using data from all systems available in the federal government," said INSS president, Renato Rodrigues Vieira.

According to Vieira, ensuring more interoperability across government systems means that granting benefits will become a much more stringent and efficient process going forward.

"When [citizens] are no longer required to produce any new documents to INSS agencies, the process will surely be much more strict, cleaner and faster because all the information required for decision making will already be available in our digital database," he added.

Changes in legislation passed this year so far introduce a number of requirements that claimants need to comply with in order to apply for benefits, including additional documentation to prove eligibility.

In addition, databases intended to hold data about claimants receiving benefits under special situations, such as rural workers, will be introduced and linked to the central social security repository as a means to support requests from next year.

According to Vieira, the technology work underway will become even more critical an prominent as further changes in the national pension system are introduced.

"Our system as it stands is not fair and I believe that with [the overall reforms], we can equalize the system," Vieira said.

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