As many as 345 university students falsely registered themselves as unemployed while studying last term, defrauding up to ISK 300 million (USD 2.4 million, EUR 1.5 million) in total from the Unemployment Insurance Fund. Their position towards the fund is being investigated.
From the University of Iceland. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
Some of these students received wage-related benefits, in addition to student loans, given to the unemployed in the first months after they lose their jobs. Others received general unemployment benefits, ISK 149,000 (USD 1,200, EUR 749) per month, Fréttabladid reports.
A third group of students, who were registered as unemployed students in the summer of 2008, kept receiving ISK 110,000 (USD 879, EUR 553) in benefits per month after resuming their studies in the fall of 2008. Those benefits are intended for students who haven’t obtained full rights in the employment market.
The basic living costs for students, according to the Student Loan Fund (LÍN), are ISK 100,600 (USD 804, EUR 506) per month.
The student registries of LÍN and the Unemployment Insurance Fund are now fully compatible so that such abuse will be prevented in the future.
A few days ago, the Ministries of Education and Social Affairs presented actions to that end, including the abolishment of students’ rights to unemployment benefits in summer.
Also as part of these actions, the income threshold for those who start studying after losing their jobs was increased to make it easier for people to qualify for student loans as an alternative to registering as unemployed.
Click here to read more about the cooperation between LÍN and the Unemployment Insurance Fund.