A state audit today found Massachusetts has handed out $18 million in “questionable public assistance benefits” over the past few years, including welfare to more than 1,160 people who were either dead or using a deceased person’s Social Security number.And yet, a group who proposed to check whether people were eligible to vote was harassed by the multiple federal agencies when they applied for a 501(c3).
The report, which covered food stamps, cash, and other benefits to low-income families, estimated that recipients using a dead person’s Social Security number alone received at least $2.4 million in between July 2010 and April 2012. It also flagged another $15 million in suspicious transactions from electronic benefit cards during the two-and-a-half-year period the auditor reviewed.
The state Department of Transitional Assistance, which is charged with administering the benefits, told the state auditor almost a year ago that it was already in the process of addressing the issues, including comparing its list of welfare recipients to the Social Security Administration’s master list of dead people in July 2012 so it could end benefits to people who have died.
Yet a month later, in August 2012, the state auditor found a majority of the dead recipients it checked were still receiving benefits, including many who actually started receiving aid for the first time after the beneficiary supposedly died.