The “Show Me State” shows taxpayers they’re serious about stopping welfare fraud

posted at 8:41 pm on February 18, 2016 by Kristina Ribali

Welfare fraud is an expensive problem that taxpayers everywhere are paying for, but in Missouri there is a movement in the state legislature to help stop the fraud.

State Representative Marsha Haefner has filed legislation that “will allow the Department of Social Services to contract with a third party vendor and establish a eligibility verification system.” This is a central component of the Stop the Scam reforms being implemented recently in several other states. Modern technology allows multiple databases to be compared and can determine if people who are signed up for welfare services are actually qualify for taxpayer funded support.

Rep. Haefner told reporters that, “This is an attempt at bending the curve of reining in welfare costs. We’ll make sure that the people who get welfare are actually eligible to receive it.”

“We want to spend money on the right people for the right reasons, rather than those who don’t have the need,” Rep. Haefner said.

As she pointed out, “It’s all taxpayer money.”

Part of the job of each legislator and governor is not to waste the hard earned dollars of their taxpayers. It’s encouraging to see that Rep. Haefner agrees.

This is part of a greater welfare reform effort in Missouri that began during their last legislative session in 2015. Despite a veto from the governor, legislators pushed through a common sense reform bill into law with an override from both chambers at the state capitol. The bill focused on reforming Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) benefits.

The bill helps Missouri welfare recipients take important steps toward transitioning out of a lifetime of poverty and toward self-sufficiency. The law now requires “welfare recipients to take immediate steps to seek employment in order to receive benefits.” The money saved from these reforms will help those who need it most.

According to lawmakers, the state will “take the savings generated by these reforms and invest them in child care, education, transportation and job training assistance for participants in the program.”

With last year’s efforts and the new legislation being proposed by Rep. Haefner, and supported by current Speaker Todd Richardson too, Missouri should be well on its way to providing a more prosperous future for their citizens; pulling them out of poverty and setting them on the road to a brighter future.


Kristina Ribali is the Senior Coalitions Director for the Foundation for Government Accountability. Follow Kristina on Twitter and Facebook for the latest on welfare and health care reform.

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