The Office of the Ombudsman registered a 40% increase between 2017 and 2018 in complaints about executions of debts ordered by Social Security and determined inspections in the sections of the executive process, one being held in Faro.
Between 2016 and 2018, 592 complaints were filed by citizens of the Ombudsman's Office who were coercively charged by the Social Security services, most of whom complained that they had kept the bank account in arrears beyond the limits established by law or whether they concern debts already prescribed or that were still within the deadline for contestation.
There are also cases of "persons whose bank account has been seized and who claim that they have not been notified for voluntary payment," according to Lusa, an official source in the Ombudsman.
The number of complaints has fluctuated from year to year, but the cases related to 2018 show a strong growth: in 2016, to the Ombudsman, Maria Lúcia Amaral, a total of 197 complaints, the following year were 165 and in the year last year, reached 230.
Against this background, the Ombudsman decided to proceed with a series of inspections throughout the country in the sections of the Social Security executive process.
To Lusa, the same official source of the Ombudsman said that more than a dozen inspections are under way, including one that is currently being held in Faro.
The result of these inspections will be known during the next quarter.
In addition to these actions, Maria Lúcia Amaral also called attention to the Social Security Secretariat for the need to introduce some changes and refinements in the collection process, namely, by providing the Social Security information system with means allow the permanent regularization of the current account of all taxpayers and the simplified access to the respective extract ".
Maria Lúcia Amaral also suggests that the means of repayment of contributions improperly paid by taxpayers who are collectively collecting badly owned debts and recovering them from the loss should be accelerated.
The provider also argues that, prior to coercive collection, the Social Security Institute (ISS) should inform the taxpayers concerned of the existence and value of their debt "so that they can settle it or obtain clarification about it before the start of the enforcement process" .
The plan to combat social security contributory and tax evasion provides for the creation of an electronic mechanism that prevents the simultaneous attachment of several bank accounts of the same debtor when their balance exceeds the debt amount. This measure was poured into the State Budget for 2019 and its implementation is scheduled for this year.
The objective of this electronic solution is to stop cases where, in the event of a debt to the State, the debtor sees the balances of accounts held in one or more banking institutions being simultaneously seized, being prevented from moving the money.
"In 2019, the Government creates an electronic mechanism that prevents simultaneous seizures of the balances of several bank accounts of the executor in the same attachment, as soon as the amount captivated in one or more than one account is sufficient to satisfy the amount of interest, plus interest and costs, "says the text of the budget law.
In this way it becomes possible to close the attachment to the amount equivalent to the amount that is being claimed by the State.
The legislation in force already imposes some limits on the attachment of bank accounts in the case of debts when determining, for example, the non-enforceability of the value corresponding to the national minimum wage or to the entire social pension of the contributory scheme when the debt complies with the obligation to pay alimony.