The cost of welfare fraud and abuse is substantial. Not only do welfare scams result in millions of taxpayer dollars paid out to ineligible, undeserving fraudsters, they also steal limited resources away from truly needy individuals and families. Put simply, welfare fraud is a fiscal and moral crime. No state is immune.
From New York to Nebraska, reviews of states’ welfare systems found individuals receiving taxpayer-funded welfare benefits without having their identity, assets, and even residency verified. Other reviews found individuals who no longer qualified for welfare benefits continuing to receive them—including millionaire lottery winners and even individuals who had died years prior.
Welfare scams drain state budgets, put the truly vulnerable at greater risk, and anger voters. But there is a simple solution to stop the scam.
Anti-fraud initiatives that embrace data-matching technology have attracted bipartisan support in states like Illinois and Pennsylvania, and have resulted in hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars in savings. The three-step solution ensures individuals applying for welfare benefits are who they say they are and eligible to receive benefits; tracks welfare recipients already enrolled in programs to ensure they are still eligible; and prosecutes welfare fraudsters to the full extent of the law to deter future scams and recover funds paid out to perpetrators.
States across the country should look closely at the Stop the Scam solution to fix their welfare programs and guarantee only those who truly qualify and are in need of taxpayers’ help will receive it. To do anything less is irresponsible and immoral.