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  • Audit: Welfare benefits going to dead people



    Food stamp benefits continue to be paid to thousands of deceased Washington citizens, according to the state auditor's office.

    The audit, which covered Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) records from 2013, found 1,752 food stamp cards that were used to buy food after the recipient had died, costing the state's taxpayers nearly half a million dollars.

    The report also found 2,863 people who used the Social Security numbers of deceased people to qualify for welfare benefits, costing taxpayers almost $9 million in 2013 alone.

    And more than 8,000 welfare recipients in Washington state were using fake Social Security numbers, the audit found, costing the state $26 million last year.
    I see absolutely no reason whatsoever not to issue these for EBT cards:

    It's been ten years since that lonely day I left you
    In the morning rain, smoking gun in hand
    Ten lonely years but how my heart, it still remembers
    Pray for me, momma, I'm a gypsy now

  • #2
    Racist
    If it pays, it stays

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Adam View Post
      I see absolutely no reason whatsoever not to issue these for EBT cards:

      In 1976, when I was working in the public assistance office, we had computers that could access earnings by SSN. Now, there is absolutely no reason the public assistance offices can't have SSN verification an tie into the SSA Death Index. We also had to see the person at least every 6 months. If they were homebound, one of us went out on a recertification visit.

      The controls need to be in place at the source, not at the point of sale. A lot of elderly and disabled people on food stamps can't do their own shopping. Sometimes it's done for them by friends or family members; sometimes by a senior program volunteer or someone from their church group. Requiring photo ID would only cause problems for the people who need the help the most.

      Departments of Social Services need to have adequate staffing with adequate oversight to make sure benefits go only to those who qualify. Breathing seems like a pretty basic qualification to me.
      "Since the historic ruling, the Lovings have become icons for equality. Mildred released a statement on the 40th anniversary of the ruling in 2007: 'I am proud that Richard’s and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, Black or white, young or old, gay or straight, seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about.'." - Mildred Loving (Loving v. Virginia)

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Celeste Chalfonte View Post
        In 1976, when I was working in the public assistance office, we had computers that could access earnings by SSN. Now, there is absolutely no reason the public assistance offices can't have SSN verification an tie into the SSA Death Index. We also had to see the person at least every 6 months. If they were homebound, one of us went out on a recertification visit.

        The controls need to be in place at the source, not at the point of sale. A lot of elderly and disabled people on food stamps can't do their own shopping. Sometimes it's done for them by friends or family members; sometimes by a senior program volunteer or someone from their church group. Requiring photo ID would only cause problems for the people who need the help the most.

        Departments of Social Services need to have adequate staffing with adequate oversight to make sure benefits go only to those who qualify. Breathing seems like a pretty basic qualification to me.
        That's just a massive invitation to fraud. I'm sorry, but I'm not going for it. If you're SO disabled that you can't even go to the grocery store with someone doing your shopping, then food stamps are the least of your problems.

        There is a massive amount of fraud in selling food stamps. Lots of people like to try to deny it or diminish it, but every sane person in this country knows that it's there, and a whole lot of us have seen it in person. Putting people's pictures on their EBT cards certainly won't stop all of that fraud, but it damn well certainly would clamp down on a lot of it.
        It's been ten years since that lonely day I left you
        In the morning rain, smoking gun in hand
        Ten lonely years but how my heart, it still remembers
        Pray for me, momma, I'm a gypsy now

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Adam View Post
          That's just a massive invitation to fraud. I'm sorry, but I'm not going for it. If you're SO disabled that you can't even go to the grocery store with someone doing your shopping, then food stamps are the least of your problems.
          There is a massive amount of fraud in selling food stamps. Lots of people like to try to deny it or diminish it, but every sane person in this country knows that it's there, and a whole lot of us have seen it in person. Putting people's pictures on their EBT cards certainly won't stop all of that fraud, but it damn well certainly would clamp down on a lot of it.
          You are so full of shit, and clearly don't know what the fuck you're talking about.

          I had a food stamp client who was an incomplete quadraplegic. She literally lived in her bed. She ran a telephone answering service with the toes of one foot and a headset. Between her earnings and SSI, she made too much to qualify for welfare, but because of medical and home care expenses, did qualify for food stamps.

          I had an 80-year-old woman on Social Security who was caring for a kid with open spina bifida that a neighbor girl had left with her one day and never came back. Because she had no legal relationship to the child, she couldn't get welfare for him, but they got food stamps. He couldn't leave the house because of the risk of infection, so we went to her to certify her food stamps. Somebody from the Catholic church did her shopping.

          Those are the two I remember in detail. You're forever telling people you know all about being poor. You have some limited experience with being partially disabled. You don't know shit about being really poor and disabled.

          Did I have clients who were frauds? Of course I did. It's inevitable, but not nearly as common as you'd like to believe.

          I also had colleagues who were a lot like you: self-righteous and totally in denial about what a short damned walk it is to the other side of that desk.
          "Since the historic ruling, the Lovings have become icons for equality. Mildred released a statement on the 40th anniversary of the ruling in 2007: 'I am proud that Richard’s and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, Black or white, young or old, gay or straight, seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about.'." - Mildred Loving (Loving v. Virginia)

          Comment


          • #6
            Food stamps are sold and bartered by the thousands daily in the greater Stl area.

            Give me the cash and I guarantee you I can get them for you.

            The price will depend on how late in the cycle you buy them.

            Early? Price is low because of supply.
            Late? Price goes up... supply.

            I have a FB friend that actually solicits to buy food stamps on her FB page.

            Nobody cares.
            Robert Francis O'Rourke, Democrat, White guy, spent ~78 million to defeat, Ted Cruz, Republican immigrant Dark guy …
            and lost …
            But the Republicans are racist.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Gramps View Post
              Food stamps are sold and bartered by the thousands daily in the greater Stl area.

              Give me the cash and I guarantee you I can get them for you.

              The price will depend on how late in the cycle you buy them.

              Early? Price is low because of supply.
              Late? Price goes up... supply.

              I have a FB friend that actually solicits to buy food stamps on her FB page.

              Nobody cares
              .
              Including you, apparently. Why would you be friends - even "facebook friends" - with someone who defrauds the government? Has anyone called the fraud unit at DSS? Or would everyone prefer to bitch about "welfare queens?"
              "Since the historic ruling, the Lovings have become icons for equality. Mildred released a statement on the 40th anniversary of the ruling in 2007: 'I am proud that Richard’s and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, Black or white, young or old, gay or straight, seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about.'." - Mildred Loving (Loving v. Virginia)

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Celeste Chalfonte View Post
                Including you, apparently. Why would you be friends - even "facebook friends" - with someone who defrauds the government? Has anyone called the fraud unit at DSS? Or would everyone prefer to bitch about "welfare queens?"
                She is an ex-co worker.

                Do you really think that the Illinois departments whose job is to increase the amount of dependence are going to take time off from that job to actually bust someone and reduce their need?

                BTW, she isn't a 'welfare queen'... she is a college student that works long hours and makes $15/hour.

                If you are employed by the State or Feds to distribute hand outs, how do you guarantee your employment?
                Not by reducing the roles, that's for damn sure.
                Robert Francis O'Rourke, Democrat, White guy, spent ~78 million to defeat, Ted Cruz, Republican immigrant Dark guy …
                and lost …
                But the Republicans are racist.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Adam View Post
                  That's just a massive invitation to fraud. I'm sorry, but I'm not going for it. If you're SO disabled that you can't even go to the grocery store with someone doing your shopping, then food stamps are the least of your problems.

                  There is a massive amount of fraud in selling food stamps. Lots of people like to try to deny it or diminish it, but every sane person in this country knows that it's there, and a whole lot of us have seen it in person. Putting people's pictures on their EBT cards certainly won't stop all of that fraud, but it damn well certainly would clamp down on a lot of it.
                  My mom can't go to the store to grocery shop anymore...hell, she can't even go to the pharmacy to pick up her meds anymore. She's not on welfare, she is on SS retirement. Luckily, if she has given me a check to take to the store nobody has blinked an eye about it. Mostly I just use my own credit card. But saying that having someone shop for some of these people is unheard of is ridiculous.

                  Adam, I get that you're tired of the fraud, so am I. But sometimes someone really can't get out and take care of themselves. Trust me on this one...I'm living it.
                  Not where I breathe, but where I love, I live...
                  Robert Southwell, S.J.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Celeste Chalfonte View Post
                    Including you, apparently. Why would you be friends - even "facebook friends" - with someone who defrauds the government? Has anyone called the fraud unit at DSS? Or would everyone prefer to bitch about "welfare queens?"


                    That's just asking for trouble. The fraud detection folks aren't interested in nailing individuals who scam the system, they are looking for large organizations and businesses. But just to make sure they "document" everything a few social workers will come buy the house and the office to figure out the motive behind reporting the fraud.

                    Been there, done that. It sucked and in the end they decided that my scamming former employee was perfectly within her rights to claim needy status.
                    "Faith is nothing but a firm assent of the mind : which, if it be regulated, as is our duty, cannot be afforded to anything but upon good reason, and so cannot be opposite to it."
                    -John Locke

                    "It's all been melded together into one giant, authoritarian, leftist scream."
                    -Newman

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Celeste Chalfonte View Post
                      You are so full of shit, and clearly don't know what the fuck you're talking about.

                      I had a food stamp client who was an incomplete quadraplegic. She literally lived in her bed. She ran a telephone answering service with the toes of one foot and a headset. Between her earnings and SSI, she made too much to qualify for welfare, but because of medical and home care expenses, did qualify for food stamps.

                      I had an 80-year-old woman on Social Security who was caring for a kid with open spina bifida that a neighbor girl had left with her one day and never came back. Because she had no legal relationship to the child, she couldn't get welfare for him, but they got food stamps. He couldn't leave the house because of the risk of infection, so we went to her to certify her food stamps. Somebody from the Catholic church did her shopping.

                      Those are the two I remember in detail. You're forever telling people you know all about being poor. You have some limited experience with being partially disabled. You don't know shit about being really poor and disabled.

                      Did I have clients who were frauds? Of course I did. It's inevitable, but not nearly as common as you'd like to believe.

                      I also had colleagues who were a lot like you: self-righteous and totally in denial about what a short damned walk it is to the other side of that desk.
                      Why not just make it universally required that picture IDs be used and then have a separate procedure for exceptions? That would make sense and it would greatly diminish the cash-for-EBT market.
                      "Faith is nothing but a firm assent of the mind : which, if it be regulated, as is our duty, cannot be afforded to anything but upon good reason, and so cannot be opposite to it."
                      -John Locke

                      "It's all been melded together into one giant, authoritarian, leftist scream."
                      -Newman

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Celeste Chalfonte View Post
                        Departments of Social Services need to have adequate staffing with adequate oversight to make sure benefits go only to those who qualify.
                        Yay, more government. That should fix it.
                        Science that cannot be questioned is propaganda.

                        Cameras in classrooms now.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Celeste Chalfonte View Post
                          You are so full of shit, and clearly don't know what the fuck you're talking about.

                          I had a food stamp client who was an incomplete quadraplegic. She literally lived in her bed. She ran a telephone answering service with the toes of one foot and a headset. Between her earnings and SSI, she made too much to qualify for welfare, but because of medical and home care expenses, did qualify for food stamps.

                          I had an 80-year-old woman on Social Security who was caring for a kid with open spina bifida that a neighbor girl had left with her one day and never came back. Because she had no legal relationship to the child, she couldn't get welfare for him, but they got food stamps. He couldn't leave the house because of the risk of infection, so we went to her to certify her food stamps. Somebody from the Catholic church did her shopping.

                          Those are the two I remember in detail. You're forever telling people you know all about being poor. You have some limited experience with being partially disabled. You don't know shit about being really poor and disabled.

                          Did I have clients who were frauds? Of course I did. It's inevitable, but not nearly as common as you'd like to believe.

                          I also had colleagues who were a lot like you: self-righteous and totally in denial about what a short damned walk it is to the other side of that desk.
                          You cite a tiny fraction of a tiny fraction of a percentage of people who are on food stamps. Overwhelmingly, people who are in the sort of straits that you are describing here are in some manner of home or assisted living facility or some such, and have no need to go out and shop for groceries. That's why I said that people who are so disabled that they cannot go grocery shopping (even if someone else does the actual shopping) have bigger things to worry about than food stamps.

                          If you think that forty-seven million people in this country are in the kinds of situations that you are describing, then you are just intentionally blind to reality. The cases that you are describing number in the dozens and hundreds nation-wide, not the millions. As scott noted, it would be simple enough to make arrangements for exceptional situations. ALMOST everyone on food stamps is certainly able-bodied enough to get themselves to the grocery store. MOST of them are able-bodied enough to provide for themselves, but don't. There is simply no way on earth that the number of people on food stamps in this country has doubled in less than ten years without a HUGE number of those people not actually needing that assistance. All those people are simply draining resources from the people who actually DO need help. Why anyone, even the most ardent supporter of food stamps and other government dependancy, would want to protect them is beyond me.
                          It's been ten years since that lonely day I left you
                          In the morning rain, smoking gun in hand
                          Ten lonely years but how my heart, it still remembers
                          Pray for me, momma, I'm a gypsy now

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I used to take Celeste's comments about my being clueless in this matter more seriously. After all, this was what she did and I was in another world. But having done many many enrollments in ACA, Medicaid, and Medicare plans I've seen the other side of the coin and I've seen how easy it is to work the system. I've witnessed first hand people deliberately getting a foothold and then using that status as a stepping stone to other entitlements. I've met the one "rich" person in a family that owns all the assets that everyone else uses, I seen the people pulling up to the store in Escalades and buy food with EBT, I've seen the Section 8 house a beneficiary has as their address during the enrollment and noted that it was obvious someone else lives there - she even slipped up and took a call from the tenants in front of me. I've even had some very delicate conversations where I've been given the "balance" that I'm told to walk between reporting fraud and hampering someone's ability to access medical care.

                            The system is designed to be gamed. There is no legal way to deny benefits to someone who has a Section 8 house that she rents out under the table while she lives in one of the houses owned by her son.
                            "Faith is nothing but a firm assent of the mind : which, if it be regulated, as is our duty, cannot be afforded to anything but upon good reason, and so cannot be opposite to it."
                            -John Locke

                            "It's all been melded together into one giant, authoritarian, leftist scream."
                            -Newman

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Another scheme I found out about:

                              "All the EBT cards go to Grandma." She buys in bulk and she feeds everyone. Not just the food for the people she takes care of, she feeds everyone that shows up. Her family eats for $1 per person per meal. They are all on other public assistance so they get the EBT and cash assistance to pay her the $20 per week (the great-grandkids eat free). They all get free healthcare with Medicaid and/or Medicare and the physicians they use "donate" to their community. Some do it with food, some do it with cash to people that provide food to feed the poor but it all funnels right back to her. She feeds anyone else that stops by for $3 per meal, and there are lots of people willing to pay $3 to help someone out. She donates the leftovers to one of the homeless shelters, which builds goodwill with the partner organizations, that give her massive discounts since she runs an unofficial soup kitchen.

                              Every Friday night she hosts a massive feast and she charges attendees $5 per meal and they show up in the hundreds. Patrons of civic organizations drop off liquor and beer "for the cause" and she charges $1 per drink until she runs out or midnight. Last month there were 200 people there at midnight and they weren't exactly sober.

                              So here's the problem: All in all, she probably nets $80,000 per year in actual financial gain. To anyone in the FBI, that's a pittance. To anyone in any of the state organizations, it's a rounding error. Since it's all cash, the proof is hard to document without a large expenditure of resources and then in the end it's really small potatoes compared the the massive fraud elsewhere. Plus, it's a socially acceptable means to defraud the government. Only by rolling up the distribution of benefits is she scamming the system, so she's not really costing the government anything. She's just an undocumented social welfare organization.

                              And there's the rub. Once the standard becomes an actuarial figure that is "acceptable," there's not way to eliminate fraud. The social safety net has become a hammock and has raised a generation of people that are gaming the system as a way to prosper instead using the system as a means to survive a temporary downturn.

                              A child of one of my clients got food stamps, Section 8 housing, Medicaid, and TANF for his 18th birthday. He's going to put off college for a year to "save up." He's not working, he's collecting money from his "benefits." He drives "his uncle's" car and he makes the payments in cash he gets from Lyft.

                              The system is too easy to game.
                              "Faith is nothing but a firm assent of the mind : which, if it be regulated, as is our duty, cannot be afforded to anything but upon good reason, and so cannot be opposite to it."
                              -John Locke

                              "It's all been melded together into one giant, authoritarian, leftist scream."
                              -Newman

                              Comment

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