In 2016, the social security office in Zurich discovered a concealed bank account containing CHF 1 million belonging to a deceased man who had received welfare payments for 13 years, reported RTS.
Over the 13 years, the man had received financial hardship payments, known as supplemental benefits, and health insurance subsidies amounting to CHF 140,000.
When applying for hardship payments in Switzerland, all wealth must be declared. In general, an individual with wealth above CHF 100,000 (CHF 200,000 for a couple) does not qualify.
After the man’s heirs declined to fully repay the illegally claimed welfare payments, the social security office took the case to the Federal Tribunal, Switzerland’s highest court.
The man’s heirs argued that only 5 years of payments should be repaid because it was a civil claim. However, the Federal Tribunal agreed with the social security office that the time span of 15 years applied to criminal offences was justified in this instance because the man had committed fraud.
In addition, the court concluded that the claim should be applied to heirs as well as recipients of the welfare, setting a new precedent.