The Stop The Scam welfare reform bill introduced by Missouri Senator David Sater which will reign in welfare fraud and abuse in The Show-Me State has passed both chambers in the state legislature. SB 607 is now headed to a conference committee with members of both the House and the Senate to hammer out any differences in the language. When the finished version is passed, it will head to Governor Jay Nixon’s desk and await his signature.
Between 5 and 25 percent of states’ welfare spending has been found to be either wasted or fraudulent. With Missouri spending roughly $1 billion on welfare, 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 unacceptable and unsustainable. Every dollar stolen or wasted 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 FGA’s 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. Sater’s bill takes a big step toward eliminating this expensive, burdensome, and completely unnecessary drain on Missouri’s budget. The hard work of passing the House version of this bill, HB 1795, was done by Representative Marsha Haefner. The tireless efforts of these legislators will provide the governor with a law that every taxpayer can support.