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Welfare programs could curb fraud with pending legislation

If Governor Phil Bryant signs House Bill 1090 into law, it could be the beginning of a string of events that could help curb welfare and Medicaid misuse and fraud in the state.

On pay day, the stub shows you how much of your money goes to the state. A portion of what comes out of your check goes to help fund the state’s welfare programs.

Officials have argued that fraud could be bleeding the state of funds, but without a proper system in place, how harsh that bleed is has not been able to be determined.

“It’s hard to tell how big of an impact fraud and error makes on the state when it comes to welfare programs,” said Forest Thigpen, President of the Mississippi Center for Public Policy. “But with this system, state agencies will be required to run checks on who is on the roster.”

Thigpen said that seeing the impacts the eligibility checks have made on other, larger states, he believes that curbing fraud and error could have and up to $40 million dollar savings.

“Our welfare agencies will now be able to plug into and find out if there are people who used to qualify for welfare here and don’t live here anymore,” said Thigpen. “Or find out if someone’s identity is being used fraudulently to obtain welfare services.”

At the moment, welfare agencies are doing all they can to monitor the rosters, but various factors and errors go into play that could have someone flying under the radar.

“Right now, our agencies are doing a good job with the tools that they have, but this will give them extra tools to use,” said Thigpen.

Some of the examples of fraud that Thigpen mentioned include:

  • deceased people still on the roster, and family collecting those benefits
  • stolen identities used to file for welfare benefits
  • doctors knowingly filing for medicaid for services not rendered
  • people who have moved out of state, but obtain a Medicaid card for both the home state and the former state

 

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