The Department of Social Protection launched almost 6,300 investigations into welfare fraud last year.
123 cases were referred for prosecution in 2022.
The state recovered money from 115,000 people last year - due to welfare 'overpayments' amounting to over 80 million euro.
Criminal barrister and Fine Gael senator, Barry Ward, says the cases can vary hugely.
'It can be where someone has forgotten to cancel a payment or has received a payment through an error.
The department can resolve that themselves where usually the money is paid back.
But where you have people who are defrauding the system, stealing from the tax payer and stealing from the state.
It's very important that they are dealt with by criminal law as its the only way we can law down the marker to show it is not acceptable.'