We’ve all seen it. The “poor” in line at our local shopping market paying for lobsters, or filet mignon with their EBT card. We hear reports of people using their welfare cards at strip clubs and buying liquor at liquor stores.
The list of welfare fraud goes on and on.
Welfare payments issued to recipients long after they were listed as dead. Multiple recipients using one Social Security number — and multiple Social Security numbers being used by one person. Electronic benefit cards from Massachusetts being used in places like Hawaii, Las Vegas, and the Virgin Islands. Tens of thousands of blank EBT cards missing from state welfare offices. Repeated requests for “lost” benefit cards to be replaced.
In a report that covered only a two-year period, Bump’s investigators identified at least $18 million in illegal or suspicious welfare payments. “It pains all of us,” Bump told reporters, “to think that the program’s integrity is not being maintained.”
If this sounds familiar, it should. Blistering exposés of welfare fraud and abuse, in Massachusetts and elsewhere, have become almost routine.
Over a 22-month period in New Jersey, that state’s comptroller disclosed last week, prison inmates collected almost $24 million in unlawful welfare benefits — including $10.6 million in unemployment checks and $4.2 million in food stamps. TV reporters in Florida documented the use of electronic benefit cards in strip clubs, liquor stores, bowling alleys, and bingo parlors. A 65-year-old cashier in New Hampshire was fired last year for refusing to let a young man use a benefit card to buy cigarettes.
The new Massachusetts audit, meanwhile, followed an earlier report by the state’s inspector general, who estimated that the state is squandering $25 million a year on improper welfare payments. And before that was a national investigation by the US Department of Agriculture, which administers the food stamp program. It uncovered fraud in every state it reviewed.
Is welfare corrupt? Is it ever.
Every attempt to reform this fraud is shot down by Democrats. Hell, even attempts to stop the card from being used at strip clubs was shot down.
This problem could be solved easily and pretty quickly but the problem is that politicians really don’t want to do anything about it. Dependency on government is what they want and if that means millions of our dollars get wasted…so be it.
An audit last year by the US Department of Agriculture’s inspector general found problems with food benefits in all 10 states it reviewed, including more than 27,000 recipients who appeared to be dead, used a deceased individual’s Social Security number, had erroneous Social Security numbers, received benefits in multiple states, or were otherwise disqualified from receiving the benefits.
the federal government disburses $6.3 billion every month — $76.1 billion a year — in welfare payments for just the SNAP program. Adding in TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) brings the totals to $7.6 billion per month and $92 billion per year….these numbers don’t include the cost of unemployment or disability benefits, which are equally subject to abuse and deception. This also does not include the cost of the government employees who work to distribute these funds. A few quick calls and some Google searches and we discovered the cost of distributions is nearly 40%. This means that the total cost to the taxpayers is 40% higher than the actual cash distributions.
…Sources say the incidence of fraud is as high as one in four beneficiaries. Unbelievable — but all too possible.
This means $23 billion per year — nearly $2 billion a month— is going into the hands of criminals and scam artists.
The writer above, Tomthy Imholt and David Forsmark, come up with a simple solution. Use technology. If the NSA can use today’s technology to capture everyone’s phone habits than I would think our government could use it to stop welfare fraud:
The Massachusetts legislature recently discussed one possible solution: Putting picture IDs on EBT cards. This would allow checkout-line clerks to immediately see if the person presenting the card is the rightful owner….This seemed like a fantastic solution until lawmakers realized that self-checkout lines have become common in modern America. A scammer seeking to use an EBT card illegally could escape detection by using a lane unstaffed by a human clerk.
There is, however, a better way to fight fraud. Today’s technology can put fingerprint scanners on something the size of a credit card; the chips and memory needed to operate the device easily could fit where the hologram is on most of your credit cards. Credit and debit-card swipe machines already can handle this, so there would be no cost to the store or extra hassle to the user to put this system into place.
This plan, if enacted, would solve a number of issues.
First, the system could be set up so no one gets two cards. If two cards have the same fingerprint, one — or both— could be deactivated.
Second, no one could sell his or her card for cash to buy drugs or alcohol. Only the person to whom it was issued could use the card. (In the case of shut-ins, the card holders could designate an authorized user to buy groceries on their behalf.)
Third, no one could use the identity of a dead person to defraud the system for years without challenge.
Our benefit system must be saved to continue to serve the truly needy. Our leaders must use technology — our most effective and efficient resource — to stop those defrauding the U.S. taxpayer. Fingerprint technology is here, can easily be implemented, and shouldn’t cost more than $10 per EBT card.
Stack up the one-time cost of $230 million for our proposed system against potential monthly fraud of nearly $2 billion. If you know of any other investment that will pay a 1,000 percent return on a monthly basis, please call us.
Before a politician challenges this idea because the numbers might be a little off, look at it this way: Even if the cost of implementation is 10 times higher than our estimate, the fingerprint card would pay for itself in one month. All subsequent savings would go to the taxpayers while assuring that the proper resources would go only to the truly needy. Keep in mind, too, that like all technological advances, this one will also get cheaper with time.
I get fingerprinted 4-5 times a week…and that’s just to use my gym.
Getting handouts from taxpayers should be just as difficult, meaning not difficult at all. It’s a simple solution.
Will our elected leaders back it tho?
I’m doubting it. They want to get re-elected and the more people they get on the government dole the better. It’s just like voter ID. Why clean up a system so obviously broken when in the end it benefits them.
Hell, it wouldn’t even stop millions of illegals from getting benefits.
We’re on a downward spiral here. We used to look down on government dependence….how far we have come:
Is this any way to help the poor? FDR didn’t think so. In his annual message to Congress in 1935, President Roosevelt warned that “continued dependence upon relief induces a spiritual disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fiber.” The father of the New Deal knew that “to dole out relief in this way is to administer a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit. It is inimical to the dictates of a sound policy. It is in violation of the traditions of America.”
It is a mark of how far we have declined that a political figure who dared to say such a thing today would be denounced as heartless, a hater of the poor, even a racist — as Newt Gingrich found out when he tried to make an issue of soaring food stamp rates during the presidential campaign.