6,000 BPS preliminary checks issued regarding over-claims

Approximately 6,000 preliminary checks issued under the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) related to over-claims, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine revealed to AgriLand.

A total of 7,933 preliminary checks issued to farmers regarding their 2017 BPS application, according to the department.

Only online applicants were able to benefit from preliminary checks; these applicants were notified by the department of any non-compliance in the areas of over-claims, dual-claims and overlaps.

In some cases, farmers could have received a notification for one, two or all three errors, the department added.

Approximately 2,000 notifications were sent out relating to dual-claim errors and close to 180 notifications were issued in relation to overlaps.

Farmers who received notifications regarding preliminary checks to their BPS applications were given until Monday, June 19, to rectify the non-compliance.

The department had previously confirmed that there would be no penalty or reduction where non-compliance issues were fully rectified by the deadline.

Any farmer who was registered for text message alerts would have received a text informing them that a preliminary check notification had been issued.

If an application had been made through an advisor, the advisor would also have received a notification, according to the department.

Close to 1,000 farmers failed to respond

It was also revealed that 978 farmers who were in receipt of a 2017 BPS preliminary check did not respond via the department’s online response system.

However, the department outlined that a non-response can in effect be a valid indication from the farmer that he or she was happy to retain the details of the original BPS application.

This year, almost 114,000 farmers applied online to the scheme; this represented 87% of the total number of applicants.

Under EU regulations, all BPS applications will have to be submitted online in 2018. The department has been encouraging farmers to make the switch over to online applications over the last number of years.