BOSTON, Mass. (WGGB) — An audit released Tuesday shows that the state’s Department of Transitional Assistance allegedly paid out millions in questionable welfare benefits, as well as had inadequate security of blank EBT cards, and a need for improved fraud detection.
In the report from State Auditor Suzanne Bump, it indicated that benefits to the amount of $2.39 million were paid to 1,164 people that had been reported as deceased. These payments ranged in length from six to 27 months after the death.
The State Auditor notes that a sampling of the cases shows that the store purchases and ATM transactions were made after the reported date of death, which suggests that unauthorized people were using the benefits.
The audit also shows that the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) paid out $368,000 in benefits to 178 people who were claiming deceased people as dependents and $164,000 to 40 people being claimed by more than one guardian.
“This audit demonstrates that DTA can do more to ensure that only eligible people are receiving benefits and that those benefits are not being abused. I am encouraged that DTA has implemented a 100-day plan and is working to address each of these issues and improve its operations,” Bump says.
The DTA administers a number of state assistance programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps), Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children, and Emergency Aid to Elderly, Disabled, and Children.
Also found in the audit was improper documentation as to the whereabouts of 30,000 blank EBT cards at five regional offices, raising concerns over the DTA’s ability to maintain proper physical security for the cards.
As a result of the audit, the DTA as begun implementing a 100-day action plan to address concerns raised in the audit.
You can CLICK HERE to view the entire report.