The state’s embattled welfare chief was forced to step down yesterday in the wake of a shocking internal report that found that a staggering 47,000 families receiving taxpayer-funded benefits are unaccounted for — and nearly $30 million in food stamp money went to recipients who were not eligible.
The shocking report, released to the Herald last night, found that the Department of Transitional Assistance has lost track of 47,087 households on welfare — or one out of 10 of the total 478,000 who received DTA mailings.
The welfare department also admitted that it overpaid federal food stamp recipients by a whopping $27.8 million since 2010.
The bad news is that, under Gov. Patrick’s watch, EBT fraud has been rampant and we’ve overpaid millions of taxpayer dollars–even as he was publicly denying there was ever a problem. Gov. Patrick vetoed modest EBT reforms–like no tats and porn with your EBT card–and claimed that such reforms were insulting to welfare recipients.
So why is something finally happening? Patrick clearly doesn’t care about EBT fraud. I give the credit to Taunton state rep Shaunna O’Connell. If she hadn’t kept pushing this issue (over the objections of the gutless GOP “leaders” on Beacon Hill, by the way) the EBT fraud problem would have been swept under the political rug.
Shaunna started the fight for accountability with EBT. She first passed the legislation to stop the purchase of alochol, lottery tickets and tobacco.
She’s the one who went after the 20,000 EBT cards that “disappear” every month, and she used public pressure to get EBT reforms into the state budget. Patrick was forced to sign them into law, but he refuses to enforce them.
Republicans have no political power in Massachusetts, but Rep. O’Connell shows what can be done if you take a principled stand on behalf of the taxpayer and keep fighting.
This is a relatively small victory, but can you think of a Massachusetts Republican who’s gotten a BIGGER one in the last four years?