Fighting Welfare Fraud

Fighting Welfare Fraud


[Music] over the past several years state lawmakers have taken measures to end what is commonly referred to as welfare fraud state officials have added proper identification to Cards providing users access to public programs and agencies are making efforts to cross-check identities against felony and drug conviction databases ensuring that public support is properly directed to the needy families that these programs are designed to help remains a priority at the Minnesota Legislature senator rich Draheim is one lawmaker who is working to end welfare fraud and he now joins me in the studio welcome thank you thanks for having me over 1 million people in Minnesota received some form of public assistance whether it’s food stamps Medicaid childcare cash assistance how widespread in your estimation is the problem of fraud you know I we’ve been told different numbers but it basically comes down we don’t know and we to me the first step when examining entitlements would be to try to identify who’s on the programs and then go a little deeper into why they’re on the programs and do they qualify for those programs we hear stories of people being from outside Minnesota other states coming in and applying for aid and then also trying to apply for aid in other states and there are some network of software that are supposed to catch those people there’s software out there that you can use a third-party vendor to kind of examine the data so if they have a credit card or a phone bill let’s say in Illinois or whatever state pick your state you know that we can maybe examine those people put them on a list and look at them a little more so I’m in favor of using an outside third-party software company to help us police those lists a little bit so you’re in favor of the legislature contracting with with an outside party to just double-check verify that the people that are receiving assistance are just deservedly receiving that exactly as our demographics of our state change and in our population is aging and we’re gonna have less people working so right now we have a shortage of finding workers but we’ll have a statistical deficit of workers in the coming five to ten years that’s been widely publicized yeah exactly so when do they’re not working we’re not collecting income tax they tend to spend less we have less sales tax property taxes will price contract a little bit because there won’t be their growth which we live on so resource would be more important and and tighter so to make sure we have the resources to help the people that really need to help we have to do a better job of policing who’s on the entitlements a couple examples there have been there’s been some success with with tracking these in March Fridley woman was charged for illegally tapping three programs she received a hundred eighteen thousand in public assistance illegally to Mankato residents also recharge with attempting to receive over seventy five thousand dollars illegally in public funding so we have tough laws in addition to maybe contracting and verifying what more needs to be done you know I think there’s some simple things we can do you know baby steps there’s no magic wand we can waive to solve a problem there’s always people going to be trying to beat the system but I think some of its self reporting so on some of the applications from that I’ve talked to three different groups of people from different counties and they’ve all indicated the same thing there’s some self reporting that goes on you mean the people are saying that they’re there correct there’s some okay asset verification I see what you’re saying just double-checking correct let’s go you know some of it it’s probably honest mistakes and you know obviously they should be forgiven for that but sometimes they’re not so honest mistakes so I think there’s some simple things we’re sitting down with people that work it on the county level every day and we can be a little more transparent to help the people that need to be helped and you had police the people that are just trying to beat the system one article I read mentioned the difficulty in discovering as you’ve talked about welfare fraud and it requested help from the public when suspicion arises what can members of the public – if if they think you know I’m not sure if that person should be receiving you know they can call there’s a 800 number they can call a tip line contact the local jurisdiction so if it’s a county called the county there’s I think I think there’s a lot more fraud than we really realized here probably every week someone tells me a story about someone that they feel are on programs that shouldn’t be on programs and of course there’s always two sides to the story but it should be investigated it should be look to add in a search of you an article from March the state’s Deputy Inspector of General fraud investigations explain that counties handle investigations into fraud differently but the state has a measure to help gauge their effectiveness from your perspective can the state do more to help local officials in their investigations yeah I think I’m sure there’s things we can do I know there’s been a little bit of a shift from having non law enforcement investigators to the shift to someone that has employed with the Sheriff’s Department okay so they kind of share that person or there are a license law officer that works for the sheriff’s office that does the investigation so they’re kind of like contracted out so by being a a member of the sheriff’s office they would have resources to some other databases that someone that doesn’t have that law enforcement background so in a sense where were pooling resources to help further some of these investigations yeah and in if they’re detective with the sheriff’s office they probably have a little different training little different instincts with their past experience and and I think that’s the route I think you’ll see more and more counties going towards so we need to hear from those county employees on you know talk to your legislators you know come and visit us come and visit me you know we need to hear from people with ideas we need solutions and it doesn’t only good to point fingers or complain about somebody we need solutions and we need to take those baby steps to make it better you have authored various bills to assist people with local programs for example you sponsor a bill seeking grants to help aren’t hard to train individuals you authored a bill establishing a farm to food shelf program does the state need to seek more creative ways to help families in need definitely we need you know to be we leverage our seed assets with a non-profit assets I think that’s the best way you know and I encourage everybody to give back find something that you are very passionate about and volunteer your time and/or money the the programs I really get drawn to are the ones where you know they’re helping people that no one else wants to help like convicts and they are paid back from the state or given a grant or money after they perform so instead of just throwing a bunch of money and hope they do something here there’s some accountability they work with people that just got out of prison they kind of give them a rah-rah you know self-worth type of evaluation established a new way of living get it back on their feet you know family values self-worth and then get them on a career path job not just a job but a career path job and help them train to that and then once they get employed than the state pays that agency that did all that work that’s a win-win for everybody and you’d like to see more of that correct yeah so pay-for-performance senator ham it’s such a pleasure to have you on the program thank you for coming with me [Music]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *