Greek health officials have announced plans to fight rampant welfare fraud by compiling a single register of beneficiaries.

Deputy Health Minister Markos Bolaris says thousands of people in the debt-crippled country are currently believed to receive benefits they are not entitled to. It is estimated to cost taxpayers millions every year.

He told a press conference Tuesday that the new register would weed out fraudulent multiple benefit recipients, and people who draw payments in the name of dead beneficiaries.

Bolaris also pledged targeted checks in parts of the country that present unusually high rates of disability such as the island of Zakynthos where about 2 percent of the population is registered as blind.

The registration process starts Wednesday, and will last more than a month.