Bay State taxpayers are doling out a staggering $25 million a year to welfare recipients who may not even be eligible to collect, according to a blistering new report from one of the state’s top fraud fighters.
The report, focused on families with at least one child, estimated that almost 10 percent of the 51,311 families on welfare are able to collect benefits from the Department of Transitional Assistance without having to provide the right documentation.
“The DTA is really going to have to do a better job following its regulations,” Inspector General Glenn A. Cunha told the Herald yesterday.
“This is definitely a message for people that if you want to receive cash benefits, you need to be prepared to provide all the eligibility information to the DTA,” Cunha said. “If you lack it, this will hopefully lead DTA to suspend benefits until they get the information.”
The inspector general’s eye-opening study found the welfare department is awarding benefits to recipients who:
• work outside jobs — a welfare violation that wastes $4.4 million in taxpayer dough. In one case, DTA never bothered investigating a tip that one woman was running a day care center out of her home.
• hold more than the $2,500 maximum assets — a lapse in DTA oversight that costs taxpayers $2.2 million. One welfare recipient was even the landlord of a housing unit, collecting $1,000 a month rent.
• fail to provide adequate proof of residency — another DTA snafu costing the state $4.4 million. In one staggering example, a recipient listing his address simply as a P.O. box was allowed to collect. Another was able to claim their child who went to school in Puerto Rico.