APL, RSA: Why Do Thousands of CAF Beneficiaries have Problems with their Aid?

Since the reform of the calculation of housing assistance and the arrival of new computer software at the CAF, anomalies have accumulated in the processing of applications for social benefits.

Since the start of 2021, 120,000 to 180,000 CAF beneficiaries have been confronted with anomalies in the payment of their rights. At issue: the reform of housing assistance.

Late payments, unpaid allowances, undue claims unjustifiably, blocked files … For several months, some  CAF beneficiaries have been tearing their hair out to collect their rights, in particular housing assistance . 

“My student daughter has been having problems with non-payment of housing allowance since April, two months late. No explanation was given to us, only a “bug” we were told… We must be patient, ” Denis, from Nantes , told actu.fr in particular . On social networks, similar testimonies are joined.

New aid calculation and new software

Indeed, dysfunction in the processing of social benefits have been accumulating for many family allowance claims, since the implementation, in January 2021, of the reform of housing assistance.

As a reminder, the amount of housing assistance – Personalized housing assistance (APL), Social housing allowance (ALS) and Family housing allowance (ALF) – is now calculated quarterly on the basis of income for the last 12 months, and no longer once a year and on income going back two years as was the case before.

This radical change in the method of calculation was accompanied by new computer software and very complex technical adjustments . The result: cascading bugs, miscalculations and backlogs piling up.

Nearly five million documents pending

“Before dealing with a request for housing assistance took about ten minutes, it was the easiest service to process (and also the most widespread ).  Now it can take up to an hour and sometimes without even being able to answer it, ” Nathalie *, an agent responsible for processing services in a CAF in Brittany, told actu.fr.

“The problem is that if there is a problem in the processing of an APL, it also blocks requests for other benefits from the beneficiary, such as the RSA or the activity bonus, because everything is grouped together in the same folder.”

A CAF agent in charge of processing services

In total, nearly five million documents (all benefits combined) provided by benefit recipients are currently awaiting processing, i.e. a doubling of stocks since the end of 2020, according to the CFDT Protection sociale travail emploi (PSTE).

Angry benefit recipients, destitute employees

In a letter sent on May 11 to all the agents and executives of the Family branch, Vincent Mazauric, the general manager of the National Family Allowances Fund (CNAF), recognizes “unforeseen difficulties or the extent of which was underestimated ”.

In total, 120,000 to 180,000 anomalies have been observed since the beginning of the year, of which 32,000 remain to date: delay in the processing of files but also the creation of unjustified “undue”, “that is to say. – say the fact of claiming the beneficiary for money that would have been paid in excess. The sums wrongly claimed were not withdrawn. And today, this bug has been fixed, ”said Vincent Mazauric in an interview with Ouest-France .

According to the director-general of the CNAF, 2 to 3% of the 6.5 million beneficiaries of housing assistance were concerned. A proportion that may seem limited but which does not take into account the other services affected in cascade by these anomalies, such as the calculation of the RSA or the activity bonus.

These anomalies weigh on the working conditions of the employees of the funds. In addition to having an increased workload, they also have to deal with more incivility. “Beneficiaries ask for explanations at the counter, by phone, by email. There is a misunderstanding, sometimes anger. And we, the employees, understand this anger and share it. We feel exhausted and destitute ”, testifies Pierre Nordemann, CGT delegate to the CAF of Meurthe-et-Moselle.

Strike calls and a petition

In this department, the employees went off work for an hour Thursday, May 27 at the call of the CGT and FO to denounce this situation. Calls to strike have also been launched in other departments. “Anger is mounting because the management has minimized the problems from the start. It is all the more shocking that this reform has been postponed three times. We could have been better prepared, ”protests Pierre Nordemann.

Same indignation on the side of the CFDT PSTE, which recently launched a petition to demand more human resources (less overtime and more employees on permanent contracts), “legislation easy to understand and explain” or a “Reliable computer system that is not a source of error”. 

For its part, the management of the CNAF promises a resolution of all these problems “by the end of the year”. Too long for the unions, which could decide on a collective national mobilization in June. “And today we have just sent a new letter to the management with a copy of our supervisory authorities, namely the Minister of Solidarity and Health, Olivier Véran and the Minister Delegate for Public Accounts Olivier Dussopt”, emphasizes Florence Puget, secretary of the social security sector of the CFDT PSTE. The public authorities have so far not reacted to this situation.

(*) The name has been changed

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