Sneak Preview: Massachusetts Acts To Curb Misuse of EBT Cards

July 24, 2013 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

xsass_bookshot(The following was excerpted from an article in the Single Audit Information Service.) Massachusetts low-income assistance officials have launched a “100-day action plan” to improve eligibility verification processes by the end of the summer that would ensure recipients of assistance programs are qualified to receive benefits and to reduce fraud, waste and abuse.

In a recent audit of the state Department of Transitional Assistance, the Massachusetts Office of State Auditor found that DTA had approved millions of dollars in questionable benefits, had inadequate security over electronic benefits transfer cards and failed to detect numerous instances of potential fraud. DTA administers the state’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program; the Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children program; and the Emergency Aid to Elderly, Disabled and Children program, which provide assistance to about 1 million individuals in the state.

OSA evaluated DTA’s eligibility determination process and its controls over EBT card usage from July 2010 through December 2012. It found that 1,164 recipients receiving benefits totaling $2.39 million under the three assistance programs were deceased or were using a deceased individual’s Social Security Number. In addition, 26 individuals were using two SSNs, resulting in more than $662,000 in questionable payments, while another 21 SSNs were being used by more than one individual, totaling $359,000 in questionable costs.

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