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Mass. Interim DTA Commissioner Provides Update On Programs To Stop Welfare Fraud

A recently released audit reports that welfare benefits were paid out to more than 1,000 people who were deceased in Massachusetts. The report comes at a time when the state Department of Transitional Assistance is conducting a top to bottom review of its practices in light of a report showing the potential for fraud released by the state Inspector General earlier this year.

The Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance has been under scrutiny since  a report released in January by state  Inspector General Glenn Cunha revealed that the state’s welfare system could be paying out up to $25 million in fraudulent benefits annually. After the resignation of former DTA Commissioner Daniel Curley following the release of that report, Stacey Monahan was appointed as Interim Commissioner and was tasked with administering a  full review of the Department. I recently spoke with Monahan, who gave a brief update of the on-going 100-day action plan and other steps she is taking to eliminate the potential for fraud in the welfare system…

Monahan, who is also touring communities in the commonwealth for public input on how to improve the DTA, said that the high caseload on individual caseworkers has been a common theme.

Hours after our conversation, news broke about an audit released by State Auditor Suzanne Bump that shows that between July of 2010 and December of 2012, welfare benefits were paid out to 1,164 beneficiaries in Massachusetts who were deceased.

Commissioner Monahan addressed the audit in a conference call with reporters, saying that the department is already taking some steps to improve the way the state monitors the vital records of beneficiaries...

Monahan said that her department has asked for the auditor’s list of 1,164 cases of benefits paid to deceased beneficiaries. She said the department will conduct a full review of the cases when the information is received.

Lucas Willard is a reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011.
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