"Listening" tour to stop welfare fraud, share ideas


The Interim Commissioner of the Department of Transitional Assistance was in Holyoke Wednesday to share ideas and let people know about some possible changes to the welfare system.

“The interim commissioner has I think a really good plan to beef up the screenings for eligibility and to …identify …some ways to use technology to make sure that the EBT cards are being used only in the ways that are appropriate," said Governor Deval Patrick.

The listening tour follows a report from the Inspector General’s office that says Massachusetts could be paying as much as $25 million dollars to people who do not qualify for welfare.

“In a number of areas the DTA was deficient in complying with their eligibility requirements,” said Inspector General Glenn Cunha, during a regular council meeting.

In January, the state said nearly 7,000 welfare recipients were receiving benefits at incorrect addresses.

Beacon Hill leaders are also concerned about rising transportation costs.  The Inspector General and state Auditor have hired an independent auditor to prevent fraud and detect waste in the state’s transportation department.

“It’s a different set of eyes to determine independently what some of the systemic problems are there with accountability and oversight,” said state Auditor Suzanne Bump.

The DTA will continue its statewide listening tour throughout March and April. 

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