The Stop The Scam welfare reform bill introduced by Wyoming Senator Leland Christensen to reign in welfare fraud and abuse in the Cowboy State has passed the Legislature and has been signed into law by Governor Matt Mead.
Between 5 and 25 percent of states’ welfare spending has been found to be either wasted or fraudulent. This fraud and abuse costs taxpayers millions of dollars and robs limited resources from the truly vulnerable who need temporary, targeted help.
With nearly every state strapped for cash, losing hundreds of millions of dollars to fraud is unsustainable. Every dollar stolen is a dollar that won’t be used to help someone who is truly in need or go toward other critical areas like K-12 education, emergency services, and infrastructure spending. That’s where Stop The Scam comes in.
Stop The Scam is an initiative of the Foundation for Government Accountability that compiles best practices from around the country to help states combat fraud in their welfare programs. The Stop The Scam solution embraces advances in technology and e-verify software to allow states to verify whether applicants are truly eligible for welfare benefits, monitor enrollees to make sure they are still eligible for benefits, and prosecute the fraudsters who steal from taxpayers.
Enhanced data-matching technology checks federal, state and commercial databases to confirm income, residency, identity, employment, citizenship status and more. Regular and automatic reviews of current welfare rolls are screened against updates to databases to ensure welfare recipients are still eligible. From there, we can publicly prosecute individuals who knowingly abuse the welfare system to recover lost benefits, deter future abuse, and change the culture of the welfare program.
Stop The Scam has produced proven results. In one year alone, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania have saved over $1.3 billion combined by using Stop The Scam methods. If every state adopted these practices, the total savings to taxpayers could be up to $8 billion annually.
Sen. Christensen’s bill represents a big step toward eliminating this burdensome, completely unnecessary drain on Wyoming’s budget. He was supported by the bill’s co-sponsors, Senators Stan Cooper, Ogden Driskill, Bill Landen, Curt Meier, R. Ray Peterson, and Jeff Wasserburger, as well as Representatives Rosie Berger, Dan Kirkbride, Kendell Kroeker, Dan Laursen, Tom Reeder, Tom Walters, and David Zwonitzer.