The Danish Security and Intelligence Service (PET) revealed that some Danish jihadis fighting for the Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria are receiving sickness and disability benefits, furnished by Denmark’s taxpayers, which cannot be terminated under current laws.
“It is a huge scandal that we disburse money from the welfare fund in Denmark for people who go to Syria,” Danish Employment Minister Troels Lund Poulsen told Berlingske newspaper.
“Staying in a war zone and directly or indirectly taking part in military operations is not something that is in any way compatible with receiving disability benefits,” he said.
The jihadis, however, exploit a loophole in the welfare system by claiming to be too sick or disabled to work, and thereby qualify to receive an early pension. They then travel to Syria to wage jihad and the government cannot do anything to stop the payments.
“The legislation does not give Payments Denmark the ability to stop payment of a pension simply because PET provides information that the recipient is participating in the fighting in Syria,” Payments Denmark Deputy Director Carsten Bodal said.
“The rules allow you to stop paying, for example, if the recipient is on the run from detention, or if they violate the general rule for international travel for retirees,” said Bodal.
The PET discovered the exploitation of this loophole as it was investigating legislation set to go before parliament that would make it easier to terminate jihadi fighters’ benefits.