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How Bad Is Welfare Fraud in the USA?

Posted by spritzophrenia on January 4, 2011

What do you see when you see someone on welfare? A lazy welfare Mom living the good life, claiming more than she is entitled to? After all, we all know that welfare fraud is rampant, right? In my previous post we’ve been having good discussions trying to identify what’s wrong with the USA, and the issue of welfare fraud came up. I was curious to find out how much of a problem it is.

What I discovered is that accurate figures are hard to come by; worse, grossly inflated figures are sometimes quoted. For example, a 2003 allegation claims child care fraud was found in 69% of the investigations conducted (the original link is broken and I can’t check if anyone challenged the figure). However, the speaker was at the time the head of a collective of profit-making fraud investigators. It would be in their interests to inflate fraud figures.

Check out my follow-up article with more statistics on welfare fraud

The Los Angeles Times reported in 2010 that 24% of new welfare applications in San Diego County contain some form of fraud. However, this statistic was misreported and the actual figure is probably considerably lower. The figure “includes both intentional misrepresentations and unintentional errors, such as information being taken down incorrectly by the county.”

By comparison, two years ago in the UK 56,493 people were caught defrauding the benefit system. This sounds like a lot, but if we consider that in in 2009 5.8 million were on the unemployment benefit alone, this means that less than 1% of all beneficiaries committed fraud.

welfare kids

Well, maybe they don’t find all the fraud. This is certainly true, but if a full-time staff of 3,000 fraud investigators cannot find it then maybe there isn’t much more to find? It’s hard to compare the UK with the US– the American system might be much easier to rort. However, this seems unlikely. If nothing else, at least the UK example shows that is is possible to have a welfare system where almost no fraud occurs.

I’d also like to see good numbers on the seriousness of the crime. Someone who is getting an extra $2 per week they are not entitled to is not exactly high rolling, yet it would still be counted as fraud. Sure, there have been a few notable cases but my point is that these are extremely rare.

The most accurate figure I’ve found for the US is from a 2002 report by The US Department of Labor which says that 1.9% of the total Unemployment Insurance payments for 2001 were attributable to fraud or abuse within the UI program.

For accuracy, we should note a couple of things: This figure only reflects unemployment insurance. It’s conceivable that other types of welfare could have different fraud rates. Secondly, this figure concerns the amount defrauded, not the number of people guilty. Unlike the UK figure it doesn’t tell us how many people took the money. But it’s not hard to do some simple math. In 2001, $580 million in overpayments were identified as fraud. At the time there were 2.38 million US people receiving unemployment insurance. If every one of them was defrauding the system, they’d get an extra $243 in their pocket that year. They won’t exactly be living the high life on that. Even assuming 1% of these people were fraudsters, each of them got $2436 extra that year. That’s a significant, but not extreme amount. The math shows the more people who defrauded the system, the lower the payback. The penalties are high, and the Government has full-time fraud investigators hunting the bad guys. Fraud is only worth considering if you can make serious money. Therefore it seems intuitively right that the percentage of people committing welfare fraud is low.

So, until someone can show me better numbers I’m going to put this out there:

Less than 2% of all people on welfare in the USA commit fraud.

“The myth of the Cadillac-driving welfare queen who defrauds the system lingers even though there’s no proof of it”, said Erin O’Brien, a poverty expert at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

In fact, welfare fraud among Philadelphia’s 95,456 recipients is “minute,” according to Peter Berson, assistant chief of the government fraud unit in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office.

The 200 to 400 cases of welfare fraud in the city each year – down 50% since 2002 because of better enforcement and fewer recipients – are not nonworking women having babies to game the government, but working women receiving welfare and working at other jobs without reporting the income, Berson said.

In conclusion, the rate of welfare fraud is so low as to almost not be worth mentioning. The next time you hear an allegation of welfare fraud, ask to see the hard facts. Anecdotes are just that, and urban myths develop quickly. In hard times, Americans blame the poor.

The facts tell me that 98 out of 100 people on welfare are not defrauding the system. Ninety-eight out of one hundred welfare recipients you meet are honest people who are struggling. Isn’t it time we dropped the stigma?

Edits: April 2012. There have a been some good comments below, including discussion about the “definition of fraud”. And there have been some, let us say, more ignorant comments.

Check out my follow-up article with more statistics on welfare fraud.

April 2012: A really good NY Times article Welfare Limits Left Poor Adrift.

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272 Responses to “How Bad Is Welfare Fraud in the USA?”

  1. Victoria said

    The scammers who make big money off of welfare abuse are not the poor, but professional scammers and often enough, it’s an inside job (welfare employees involved) or institutional (service providers, such as “homes” or care facilities).

    http://www.11alive.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=142574&catid=3

    It’s also important to note that individual scammers often have a record for other crime. In other words, many of those who abuse do so because they are criminals, first, not because they are poor.

    A California list: http://www.dss.cahwnet.gov/fraud/PG270.htm

    We don’t see the stats for the number of poor who survive and move on to self-sufficiency. It’s odd, considering it’s bragging material.

    • Thanks Victoria (and thanks for subscribing!)

      It’s good that it’s being reported. However, I wonder if the effect of it is to reinforce the myth that welfare fraud is common? I guess “Woman with three kids gets the money she needs to feed them” is not “news” :/

    • SNAFU said

      I just want to say i know someone very close who has mastered the art of living off of everyone else. This woman is not disabled by any sense of the word, worked 15 years at amway and one day applied for disability and by some miracle… landed it. since then she lives on disability while drawing food stamps and every other form of cash assistance she can get her rat paws on. the woman even goes to the food pantry and even worse…. claims children for toys for tots and she has no children living with her….. simply because its somthing she can get for free. All the while claiming the gov. doesnt give her enough to live on however if she wasnt purchasing DRUGS she would be able to at least get what she needed at everyone elses expense. HERE THIS: she uses the cash she gets from disability (paid for by our tax dollars) to buy drugs….. thats right folks. we work so she can sit on her ass and get high. Im not including names or details as this is entirely true and simply want people to understand this is not some small issue, most of the people she deals with are the same way. if one needs cash they make offers such as “ill give you $200 off my ebt card in exchange for $100″ this happens on a monthly basis….. im going into the military soon, perhaps that explains why i am entirely disgusted by this.

      • SNAFU said

        would also like to add i have an autistic brother who has been denied disability more than once. however he accepts the fact its bullshit and makes his life work regardless. things are harder for him yet he suffers even more so that people like her can shit in high cotton.

        • J Rooney said

          This is so true. I live in NYC and I see the EBT exchange for cash scam almost weekly when I’m shopping. This obviously happens all the time, but I doubt it gets counted for these welfare fraud stats because there is no way to track it.

          I also know a student who is scamming Medicaid. (You’re not allowed Medicaid as a student). Nobody cares.

        • BillD said

          So have you turned in the scammers?

      • A welfare fraud investigator said

        It is fraud if she faked a medical condition, but it is possible that she qualified for disability because she is an unemployable drug addict. It is also not welfare fraud if you collect foodstamps while you choose not to work. (There may be some “back to work” compliance requirements for cash assistance in some jurisdictions). It is also not welfare fraud to spend your disability or cash assistance on drugs. You can spend it on drugs, pay your rent, go to the movies, jump up and down on it, eat it, or stick it in your ears and run through the park shouting “Kalista!” One it is issued, it is your money and you can do whatever you want with it. Using poor financial judgment is not a disqualifier. (Spending benefits on drugs is still, however, a violation of the same local criminal laws as spending an earned paycheck on drugs). Exchanging your foodstamps, on the other hand, for something other than specifically defined food items is a federal crime. Foodstamp trafficking happens a lot more often than we are able to catch, and it is a better use of resources to look for stores that are buying them than recipients that are selling them.

        • Ruggster said

          Thats the problem with welfare. Lazy investigators that don’t want to waste their time with the smaller fraud cases. Those cases add up to a larger amount. My mother always said that if you mind your pennies the dollars will take care of themselves. Welfare is an assistance program not meant to be a living. For every dollar you give someone that doesn’t deserve it, you take a dollar from someone that earned it. Any fraud is fraud. If you’re truly a fraud investigator, you should start cracking down on these and stop making excuses for them. The other problem with welfare is that we allow stupid decisions to be made and don’t punish them. If I put food on my kids plate and he feeds it to the dog, he may get another plate of food but ill watch him more closely the second time and he won’t get dessert. On welfare, as you stated, you can spend the money meant to help provide food for your family on drugs and the next month they’ll give it to you again while your kids start to incur medical problems due to late of nourishment. It’s a stupid system. Not all, in fact not most welfare recipients do this however, the ones that do or even are suspected of it should be closer investigated. And that, sir, is not being done.

        • A welfare fraud investigator said

          I can’t crack down on it, because it is not illegal. Conducting an investigation of someone because they are making poor decisions is an even bigger waste of tax dollars, because it serves no purpose. There is no social service law violation. Even if I proved it, the DA won’t take it, because there is nothing to charge them with. I can’t get them sanctioned in administrative court, because there is no intentional program violation. I can’t attempt to recover the money in civil litigation, because they were eligible for the benefits.

          In the case of children not getting fed, that is actually a children’s services issue. I am a mandated reporter, which means I could be held criminally responsible for failing to bring a neglected child to children’s services. Once they let us know the child has been removed, we’ll take them off the budget.

          I’m not making a moral point. Weather or not someone deserves benefits is a decision made above my pay-grade. I have to look at what the law defines as fraud, and what I can prove. If you disagree with the definition, that is an argument to take up with your legislature.

          I should throw out that the Medicaid rules are set at the state level, and cash assistance rules can be set at the county and municipal level. It is possible that there are some jurisdictions that have rules about what you can spend cash assistance on, but I am not aware of any.

          As I said, there are very strict rules about what foodstamps can be spent on, otherwise it’s trafficking. The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture has field agents that are responsible for this, but only a handful per state. My agency has a unit that coordinates with Agriculture, and we will pursue a sanction if evidence of trafficking surfaces in a regular investigation.

          I would happily follow someone around for a week to see if they were trafficking, if my supervisor told me to; but remember that I get a salary and benefits, and so does my partner. Management feels that they would get a better return on my paycheck if I spend most of that week at my desk; because I am more likely to shut that case down by closely examining the application, checking databases, and making phone calls. That way, I’ll shut down a couple of cases, instead of one maybe. They are not going to let 2 guys spend a whole week on a single case unless it is sure to recover thousands of dollars.

        • A welfare fraud investigator said

          I meant to say, “I could be held criminally responsible for failing to bring a neglected child to children’s services attention.” It would be kidnapping if I tried to remove the child myself.

      • Joey said

        This is an example of 1 person. I work for an agency that provides supported living for people with developmental disabilities who rely entirely on assistance. For your 1 example, I can provide hundreds of examples to the contrary. So yes, it is disgusting that 1 person you know defrauds the system, but that cannot be used as ammunition to stop providing for those who actually need it. Moreover, it is essentially a civic duty to report fraud, so I really suggest you report it.

      • Kim said

        I want to see proof. If you are going to slander someone, you can at least bring evidence. Otherwise you’re just another one of those people telling a story about “someone” they know, and have probably never met.

  2. Cristine said

    you obviously know my feelings on this, Jonathan…but I will repeat them here.
    Is unemployment insurance considered welfare in NZ??? It isn’t here. It sounds as though you use them interchangeably? To get unemployment insurance payments here you have to meet criteria other than simply not being able to find work. You need to have been laid off for reasons that were not your fault (You can’t merely quit your job and collect it) and also your employer needs to cooperate. (Although you can fight it if they don’t, it can be quite the process) As I’d said on your facebook, when the winery I worked at closed in April, I did not qualify for unemployment because my employer had me classified as part-time even though I worked 40-50 hours a week. (no, we have no laws against this)

    I will be back with more!!

    • Thanks for the clarification Cristine. No, unemployment insurance would not be considered the same as what we call “the unemployment benefit”. However for the purposes of this article it’s the only accurate – or official figure I’ve been able to find figures for.

      This alone stuns me – given the belief that welfare fraud is huge, I would think someone would have produced some good stats on it. Maybe they have, but they are not easily find-able on the net.

  3. Cristine said

    Our government extended unemployment benefits to 99 weeks because they recognize that this unemployment is structural not cyclical (meaning that many careers are not obsolete so it is not a matter of simply finding another job doing what you have training/experience in, but you need to retrain for another career)

    And there is a lot of animosity toward the 99ers because most of the middle class is suffering and they feel it is unfair to give the money that they have worked so hard for away to someone who is doing nothing for it. But the fact is that the vast majority of the 99ers worked for decades paying unemployment insurance taxes themselves!

    Michigan had a program called “no worker left behind” that helped fund unemployed people for new careers but it ran out of money so workers WILL be left behind. The cost of education is SO very high and if people can’t be retrained for another career, what are they to do??

  4. Cristine said

    ok. i am almost done..really!!

    What people resent about welfare recipients is not just the obvious fraud! It is that they work so hard for their money and the vast majority of us (in America anyway) have had to take paycuts, loss of benefits, etc, so we are getting by on less but working harder. So to see someone collecting your tax dollars and not having to work for it (this is perception, not saying reality) causes severe resentment.

    that said, what would they do if they lost everything? They think it will not happen to them because they have been responsible and worked hard but you would think that this economic collapse would have taught everyone that it can happen to anyone. I am surprised by how many people are still on their “they must have screwed up” high horses…

    the fact that it doesn’t pay that well doesn’t matter. It is that they don’t have to work and you do and you are supporting their ‘lesiure’ that you yourself don’t have. When you add up welfare, food stamps, medicaid (free health care which is VERY expensive here), section 8 (free housing), etc, I think it does pay more than a minimum wage job because you are not incurring the costs of working.

    Child care costs here are astronomical so to tell mothers they should go work at Mcdonalds is ignorant.

    • You have really good points, Cristine and I think you show that the perception is more than just “there is fraud”.

      A key phrase for me is “What would they do if they lost everything? They think it will not happen to them because they have been responsible and worked hard.” I agree. People still believe in a myth.

      And yeah, seriously, what do these people want? For there to be NO help for millions of people in the USA? Have they thought about what that would do to society?

      That attitude thing is bigger than just whether there is fraud, but I hope my little piece at least chips away at one part of the myth of the “lazy poor”.

      By the way, I just saw this: Official figures show more private sector jobs created in 2010 than in the entire Bush years http://newsjunkiepost.com/2010/10/08/its-official-more-private-sector-jobs-created-in-2010-than-during-entire-bush-years/

      • nicholas m ward said

        I used to tow cars in Florida, Broward county I cant tell you how many times i had to respond to the Plantation welfare office to unlock cars jumstart cars and so on. I see bmws, lexus, h3 hummers and so on. I tell them it cost 25 dollars to open the car, And the drug dealer boyfriend pulls out so much money. The boyfriends live with the welfare persons, and by guid lines they cant live with the welfare persons but they do, welfare persons are only alowed to use it for 2 years but its way past 2 years we are talking 3 generations of welfare persons, You cant blame race because every person is in charge of his or her life, its not a fault of ours that people dropped out of school, went to jail, stole things from jobs, sell drugs, have 10 kids even thoug you cant aford them. Welfare needs to be cut now im sick of paying my tax money to people who dont want to work because they are getting free food free money free health care and so on. if a person is on welfare it needs to be capped off in 2 years, but as the saying goes have more kids and get more welfare. Im a cut and dry kind of guy i say it like it is and if the truth hurts people needs to understand its money being wasted. And yes i had a hard life to i was kicked out of my house at 16, i lived with friends finished high school while i was working full time at a fast food chain, i got my deploma took a job towing cars lived in my tow truck till i saved some money got an apt. paid my own way at bcc comunity college. 2 years school, then i went to the army. never once did i blame anyone for my life being messed up,So yes every person is in charge of there own life. 2 years max make the welfare persons get a job no choice, welfare is suspose to help people get a job so do it….Why should america tax payers pay for people who dont want to work at all. GET A JOB PEOPLE AND STOP BEING A DRAIN ON THE TAXPAYERS IN AMERICA….

        • Derek said

          Anecdotal evidence has no place in determining public policy. Everybody knows a guy who scammed this system or that. And they all think that because they know that guy they know all about welfare and what’s wrong with it.

        • Barb said

          I live in a small town and can’t tell you how many I know that collect food stamps, badger care, housing allowance, heat assistance, elect. assistance, and put there kids in every Christmas give away they can, make no effort to work and then turn around and get pregnant again when they are not supporting the kids they already have where does it stop. I have no problem with using it as a stepping stone but unfortunately it has way above and beyond that.

        • simple said

          Sorry Barb, Derek said it perfectly. Anecdotal evidence cannot be used. I know people that try to scam the system, I know people that try to take advantage of the ER as some sort of free health care. Should we cut off the ER, and spite the people that actually needs it because it inconveniences you?

          Just as he said, everybody thinks that because they know a guy who did some stuff (usually only that one guy) or in your case, you know “an small town” (seriously, do you spy on these people, or take census surveys? How do you know what they do), they completely understand how it works.

        • A welfare fraud investigator said

          It’s not welfare fraud unless he actually sleeps at the same address as her, and has at least one child in common with her. Otherwise, he is not legally responsible for her maintenance; and his income does not effect her eligibility.

          If they have a child in common, the county has probably gone after him for child support to offset the expense of supporting that child; but they are also probably not going to get anything if his income is from illegal sources.

          I should mention that I don’t work in Florida, so it’s possible I could be wrong about that jurisdiction, but probably not.

    • jboring said

      Cristine, you are very right about the cost of childcare but it’s not just potential McDonalds employees. With the economy the way it is now depending on their field even educated and trained people would have a difficult time finding a job with a salary high enough above the cost of decent childcare to make going worth it.

  5. Rich Liberal said

    The moniker was chosen in the spirit of full disclosure and in an effort to demonstrate knowledge of the subject I’d like to broach. I would like to understand why it is that even as “most of the middle class is suffering and they feel it is unfair to give the money that they have worked so hard for away to someone who is doing nothing for it”, many seem to have no problem with cutting the taxes for the very wealthy at far greater cost to the middle class. In principle I certainly understand and agree that in America one should be able to work hard, rise to the top and reap the benefits, but I don’t understand why that principle should be funded by those who “have had to take paycuts, loss of benefits, etc, so we are getting by on less but working harder”. It seems there is a general lack of understanding of the fact that one whose income is $50M or $3B annually is quite disproportionately enhanced by a tax cut compared to a middle class earner whose rate is also cut. To boot, the loss of tax income to the government is far greater while, at the same time, barely felt by the very wealthy.

    When the top 1% holds 90% of the country’s wealth (and really, the vast majority of the wealth is held by a miniscule portion of that 1%) isn’t the obvious solution to matters of budgetary balance to raise revenues by restoring tax rates for the highest bracket to former levels? And please don’t spout the baseless “the rich people create all the jobs” nonsense; if that were true there would be no unemployment because the rich are richer now than they’ve ever been. “The rich” we all know–the mere millionaires (not multi-tens-of millionaires or billionaires)–may have more of a claim to job creation as the population that hires the tradespeople, pays for the gym memberships, elective surgeries, and such, but the very wealthy are so few that their impact in the local economies is insignificant and their impact on job creation on a larger scale (starting businesses and expanding domestically (as opposed to overseas)) is established and is as unaffected by tax hikes as it is by tax cuts. A family with a fleet of six Gulf Streams, several yachts, mansions all over the world, a private Caribbean island, and enough spare cash laying around to slap their name on multi-million dollar facilities (thank you very much!) is hardly going to feel the extra million(s) in taxes that the middle class conservatives are so adamant they should not be required to pay. Why on earth does “Joe the Plumber” or, for that matter, “Mike the Dentist” care??? As one of the “low-enders” in that 1%, I would gladly pay another couple thousand a year in taxes so that the children of the middle class have the same chances my parents and I had growing up and some hope for the future.

    For all our sakes, education funding needs a big boost at all levels if we are to keep up in an increasingly global economy that’s not going to go away. When the rest of the civilized world is taking care of the health of their populations (especially the low-wage nations where the jobs are migrating to), we ultimately have little choice but to get a grip on healthcare costs and take care of our own or face increasing poverty at the hands of healthcare costs and profits out of control. We can whine about jobs lost to Mexico and China or we can make ourselves invaluable to countries whose populations are experiencing job growth and newfound wealth, and take advantage of the burgeoning new markets they are creating.

    • Cristine said

      I completely agree with you. One of the reasons that they are giving for not letting the tax cuts expire for the rich is that based on past economic models when you raise taxes on any level of income, the economy shrinks. However, as you said, even though historically the rich created more jobs when they had to pay less taxes, we are not seeing that now. The rich is hoarding their money, employers are demanding more work out of less people, and new jobs are still not at expected estimates..and the estimates were low. Another excuse is that even if you let the tax cuts expire, it will not come even close to paying off our debt. But why is that even relevant? There are so many other ways to use that money. Like you said, our education system is bordering on dismal. I live in a shoebox in a financially affluent part of town so that my children can go to an excellent school, but overall our system is failing. How can we expect children to break the cycle of poverty if they can not get a decent education?

      And as far as higher education, that is necessary in almost all lucrative careers now but unless you are very rich, you are burdening yourself with massive loans to finance it and then it is still very difficult to obtain a job

    • Practical Libertarian said

      I think you are off the mark by a substantial margin.

      Yes, 1% now control 90% – taxing their income will not change this, because, as you say, it is a small minority of the 1% that control most of this wealth, and it is already been taxed (or tax dodged).

      Also – transferring wealth from the wealth creators (all of us) to government does nothing to equalize wealth. Unless you are suggesting we take 20, 30, or 50% of the wealth already taxed and give it to the poor. I see nothing like this being suggested.

      What I see is an elite liberal class who wants this money for themselves. They push education, but their educational system is failing K-12, and their “higher” education has created a middle class burdened with six-figure debt, which will now be carried by government due to Obama’s transfer of the student loan business to the government. And funny how this is the only debt not dischargable through bankruptcy. Seems the government is gaming the system.

      These “elites” also believe in big, bigger and biggest government. They believe in debt, lots of it. And they believe in class warfare.

      I am no fan of our current tax system, nor of the discrepancy of the wealthy vs the poor in regards to asset distribution. That said, taxes are the absolute worst idea as to solve this puzzle.

      I would much rather see the top 1% be given tax advantages to fund educating and employing from the inner city, and from the poor and lower middle class. Lifting these folks out of generational poverty in any way that provably works is the solution, not more government. We have 60 years of big government to measure, and by any measure, the dept of Education, Welfare, even Military have squandered wealth and amassed irresponsible levels of debt while accomplishing little in some cases, or actually moving us backwards in other cases.

      • A welfare fraud investigator said

        The tax money spent on public assistance and foodstamps pales in comparison to what is spent on Medicaid, and most of the Medicaid fraud is actually committed by fairly wealthy people. Poor people never commit Medicaid fraud, because they all qualify, unless they are misrepresenting there immigration status, (which is pretty rare).

        It is not at uncommon for recipients that are caught committing Medicaid fraud to write a check for thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands, of dollars in restitution-the same day they find out they are under investigation-to avoid prosecution.

        In fact, where data shows that a county is finding fraud in only one or two percent of case, it is probably because they stopped wasting manpower on public assistance and are trying to save some real money on Medicaid.

      • BJS said

        The “rich” do not trust Obama…so you bet they are going to hang on until he is out. If this Country elects another one like him…it will decline even more rapidly.

  6. [...] these ridiculous (and in some cases psychologically abusive) movements makes me incredibly angry. How Bad is Welfare Fraud in the USA? A great discussion about welfare fraud in the United States. When I was growing up there I heard [...]

  7. I find it funny that people care about welfare fraud. I couldn’t care less. If somebody doesn’t want to work they’re probably not someone who should be working and would likely only make whichever company they work for a worse place, lowering the value that company provides to the world. So they get to sit at home collecting a few dollars while others work hard, big deal. You’re still probably better off than they are, both financially and emotionally. I say we need to focus on the bigger financial drain from the middle class, the extremely rich (who care about your well being a lot less than the extremely poor do). :)

    • Thanks Drew, good perspective :)

    • Practical Libertarian said

      So Drew, like in the example of this post, belief does not make truth. The top 1% earn 20% of all income and pay 40% of all income taxes. The top 10% pay 68% of all income taxes. Exactly what is your proposal in our relatively free society?

      It does make sense that people who have a head start and are gifted in money management have a huge, unfair even, advantage. But much like Michael Jordan had an unfair advantage due to his height, his natural gifts, and his willingness to put in his 10,000 hours of work becoming a start, how do we effectively create a society that encourages wealth creation, while also eliminating poverty,

      Jesus said the poor would always be with us. He also told us to care for them. I am honestly stumped as to whether or not there is an actual solution, or are we simply wasting trillions proving we are wrong.

  8. jboring said

    I have been on welfare, specifically government funded health insurance (which in my state is classified as welfare). When I got pregnant with my first child I was in one of those “high in fulfillment, low in income” career fields and my husband was still in school… needless to say we had no insurance or feasible means of paying for prenatal or hospital care.

    When I went through the application process I was stunned by how difficult it was. The paper work was outrageously confusing with a thousand little things you have to figure out and sort through in language that would confuse the best of us. A large portion of the people I saw in that office had developmental disabilities of some sort, many don’t speak a word of English, and most of the ones for whom English is their first language don’t have the literacy mastery necessary to be expected to navigate the paperwork when my well read, college educated self was having a reasonable amount of difficulty with.

    I have digressed a bit but my point is that while the rate of fraud is extremely over exaggerated by the media the flipside that will never be reported is that I’m sure there are scads of people genuinely in need of these services without the means to navigate the incredibly complex system.

    • thanks Jboring

      I’ve been on welfare too, and I agree, it’s not pleasant or simple. Though I am suspicious the US system may be worse than here in New Zealand.

    • A welfare fraud investigator said

      Trying to measure welfare fraud as a flat rate is actually a pretty meaningless statistic. Is the person that fails to report that their mother sends the $100/month committing welfare fraud? Technically, yes. And, if you count that, probably 80% of cash assistance recipients are committing fraud in my jurisdiction.

      But it probably costs tax payers all of $25/month. Or it might cost nothing. If that is their only source of support, it wouldn’t effect their budget at all. Lots of people lie on the application because they are afraid they will get a few dollars less, when it wouldn’t make any difference.

      They probably won’t even collect benefits long enough for that $25/month to add up to a fraction of the cost of paying investigators to examine that case. (It is easier, and cost effective, if you can catch a small issue like that in the application process; but not for an open case).

  9. Gary said

    First, we must define what we mean by “fraud”.

    My spouse’s neice is a “single mother” who lives with her parents. Her baby’s daddy lives there too. The reason they don’t get married is because her taxpayer provided benefits would be stopped. So, although technically there may be no fraud here, from a moral viewpoint, everything is wrong here.

    First, if you don’t have the means to support a baby, don’t have one. Should the taxpayer be burdened with that? And that they live together but don’t get married…. fraud?

    Philosophically, generosity and charity should be a personal thing. How I dole out my money to the “needy” should be my choice. However, our social programs have stolen that from me, and with it, the joy that comes from giving. It is patenly unfair to force the American taxpayer to pay for the mistakes of others who have made bad decisions.

    • Thanks Gary.

      Fraud is claiming what you are not eligible for. So in your example above, that would be fraud and would be considered as such in studies of fraud. Here in New Zealand it’s similar – if someone is living with their partner, what they are entitled to changes.

      I agree that if one doesn’t have the means to support a baby one shouldn’t have one. But life is more complicated than that. For example, a woman who stayed home with the kids and whose husband later divorces her. Previously she could afford kids, now she can’t.

    • Victoria said

      I think about all of the people who choose to give their lives, as soldiers, for all citizens, without regard to individual “worthiness.”

      I figure if there are people willing to dedicate their very lives as “government issue,” for all of us whether we deserve it or not, it’s not a big sacrifice to make a monetary commitment, especially when it only amounts to a small percentage of my total income.

      I don’t understand why one would be a virtue but the other an undue burden.

      • Wil said

        Victoria,
        One is a virtue and the other is an undue burden because of choice.

        Gary said:
        “Philosophically, generosity and charity should be a personal thing. How I dole out my money to the “needy” should be my choice. However, our social programs have stolen that from me, and with it, the joy that comes from giving. It is patenly unfair to force the American taxpayer to pay for the mistakes of others who have made bad decisions.”

        A service member chooses to enlist in the military; s/he knowingly takes the risk involved selflessly to benefit EVERY citizen (and illegal immigrant for that matter) young, old, working, unemployed, rich, poor. Not only that, but service members are generously compensated for their time with good pay and unmatched benefits for them and their dependants (which some might view as incentive to the assumed ‘virtue’ in their sacrifice).

        Welfare, on the other hand, is taken from every taxpayer (including service members) regardless of choice or virtue through selfless devotion. Welfare only benefits the percentage of the population that contributes little to no productivity to the economy.

        Would you support legislation for making it mandatory for all citizens to enlist for at least a minimum amount of time (2-3 years) upon reaching adulthood? There are countries that do just that, citizens who refuse face jail time. Would that assumed virtue in service members’ devotion still exist if such legislation were implemented and citizens were forced to serve instead of choosing to? Do you predict that some people would not like having to serve and feel that it is an undue burden?

        • simple said

          That’s a very scary viewpoint. What’s worse, people like Gary would cry tears of sorrow whenever he feels he is not being given benefits.

          Like it or not, we live in a collective state with one another. Programs must benefit everyone, not just those that are “worthy of it”.

    • Derek said

      Is that what we’ve come to in this country? The welfare of children in need will be determined by how generous people like Gary are feeling that day?

      The New American Dream.

    • A welfare fraud investigator said

      Unless the jurisdiction you live in deviates from the norm, they are committing fraud. Social services don’t care if your legally married if you have children together.

      That said, it is not the government’s place to dictate who has the right to have children; and we are not going to let children go hungry because they are borne to parents that can’t support them.

      Having children you can’t support does not meet the definition of welfare fraud. Mismanaging your money is not welfare fraud. Even spending your children’s welfare money on drugs is not welfare fraud. (A welfare fraud investigator that discovers that you have been buying drugs instead of diapers will, however, take steps to have your children removed).

  10. [...] How Bad Is Welfare Fraud in the USA? [...]

    • Gina said

      I disagree . I see fraud all the time . The benefits should be there fro people who really need it .
      Ill give you a perfect example. My daughter moved out last year after graduating high school . Her job does not supply medical insurance so she is covered under are plan till she reaches 26. I just found out shes pregnant and is on welfare .. She is refusing to use our plan so she can get free benefits from the state and Im sure she hasnt told the state that she is has Medical insurance through our plan . Her and the babys father are not getting married because then he would have to pay for her to be on his plan . I know numerous people doing the same thing . I dont jave a problem with people being on it that truly need it . But this isi fraud and comes out of the pockets of tax payers that work and do thngs the right way .

      • Most states that I am aware of have anonymous phone lines to report welfare fraud. If you feel so strongly about it is reporting your daughter an option?

        • LJ said

          Don’t report that it’s ur daughter for god sake. Don’t you care about your kids. Have a hear geeze. My daughter is in the same
          situation. Her boyfriend makes tons of money on construction but gets laid off in the winter and she is collecting welfare. I feel
          that it isn’t right and she shouldn’t be collecting but it’s really none of my business. It’s her life. We as parents need to stay
          out of our childrens business. We have our own lives to worry about. If a little welfare is going to help out our grandchildren
          what is the big deal. Atleast we know our grandchild will be healthy. Having a healthy child is important right?
          LJ-from:Ohio

      • LJ said

        That was sappose to be have a heart. Not hear.SRY.

        • Marilynn said

          What is wrong with you. A crime is a crime.. and should be delt with. In other words, since this is your child if your child kills someone you are going to cover it up so they dont pay the price for there crime. you are helping in the problem in the United States. I believe you should be held accountable for what you are doing and teaching the future generations today. I love my children and if i see them doing something like that (welfare fraud) I would give them a choice. First of all let them know that what they are doing is illegal and tell them to rectify the situation or they will be reported. It is your job to teach them to be a better citizen. Not enable them to become criminals. But they have to know what they are doing is wrong and has to be rectified.

        • ruggster said

          You must be proud of the way you raised your kid. You may think it is OK but receiving benefits that she is not entitled to is theft. If she receives even a hundred dollars each month, its like going to the local Walmart and shoplifting 10 cd’s or a couple of video games. Do you think that is OK? The price of goods in the US is inflated for many reasons. One being that the retailers have to account for a certain level of theft. So, they may need to make 10% on an item but they raise the price 30% to account for all your kids stealing. So in reality, I’m paying for the crap your kids steal. It is the same with welfare. Everyone else has to pay for your kids. You sound like a real piece of crap to me. In the end, your kid is a criminal and you were a horrible parent.

      • BillD said

        The answer to this issue is to do what every other industrialized nation has already done. The people in the U.S. need to get over their fear of socialism trumped up by the right and go to an Improved Medicare for all. This would eliminate these shenanigans. Publicly financed health care is something WE the PEOPLE installed in Iraq! Why isn’t it good enough for US? It’s all about money in politics. Demanding universal, comprehensive, fiscally conservative healthcare is our civil rights battle that must be fought for our future. Replacing PPACA with HR 676 would create as many jobs as were lost in 2008. If you want proof, the studies and article can be found. See wndavis.blogspot.com, pnhp.org, healthcare-now.com, etc.

      • Klaamity Joe said

        And this displays the obvious: morality is an invented system created by complex species of ‘living’ organisms so as to create order from a more chaotic system. One ‘white’ moral is another’s grey or black. “Do ‘this’ under ‘these’ circumstances, but don’t ‘that’ under these other.” “Don’t you have a heart? Don’t do this because…” (kin selection). I am not attempting to degrade the concept of morality, simply to show the logical inconsistency between moral ‘virtues’ and specific moralities. Yes, we are a species which values the moral system, for very obvious reasons, but it is NOT a simple system. In fact, through our long experimentation via our Leviathan-like societies, I believe we will eventually figure out the proper mix, but, and I stress, this is only a hope. There are few guarantees in life, but I do believe that we need to make decisions, especially in our current age, based upon the actual data, not the limited scope that most people have without that data. We all need to be scientists, we all need to value the ‘necessity’ of real data, and we have hardly the excuse that it can’t be done.

      • A welfare fraud investigator said

        It’s not fraud in the criminal sense if the agency can’t prove that she knew she was ineligible because she was active on your case, but they could come back and hold her financially responsible for the medical expenses. Not the premiums, the ACTUAL MEDICAL BILLS. And, in my state, if she is under 21, YOU can be held responsible for paying that back. Do not report her to social service. I’ve seen dads report their ex-wife for putting the kid on Medicaid when said kid was on dad’s policy, and dad got thanked for being a good citizen with civil litigation for everything Medicaid paid out.

        I see your post is from about a year and a half ago, but, if she is still on Medicaid and eligible for your policy, tell her to get off before someone takes a closer look at her case.

  11. mark said

    I would say fraud could have a broader definition. If you could physically work and you are just collecting a check because there is no incentive to get a real job or your just too depressed, that to me is fraud.

    • I’m someone who has suffered from clinical depression all of my adult life, lost jobs because of it and been on welfare because of it. Depression ain’t that easy! Even with the best medical care, therapy, exercise, etc depression is hell to live with and sometimes life-threatening.

      I now have a good career, and have held jobs down when I have been clinically depressed, but it is NOT easy. It’s not something you can apply yourself to and get over it.

      As for definitions of fraud, there are a couple of definitions in the comments that are worth reading. Fraud is a crime, and only criminal definitions count as fraud. If someone meets all the criteria for being allocated welfare, that is not crime and it is not fraud. Sure, we might want to change the welfare criteria, but it’s not fraud.

    • A welfare fraud investigator said

      It might offend your sensibilities, but it is not fraud.

      It is fraud if you misrepresent yourself as unable to work to avoid participating in a back to work program, or to get disability benefits.

  12. mark said

    I don’t think the average soldier is thinking I want to give my life for my country. That is just crap. They are doing it for financial gain period. They think well the Army will pay my school and give me a good living and vocational training. That is a good deal. It gives them a secure job and guaranteed advancement. They never think they will be going to war. Of course there are exceptions. They also get preferential treatment for the rest of their lives with loans, jobs, healthcare etc. Lets not make them out to be saints just cus they sign a piece of paper and then do their job. Same with Police of firemen.

    • I’d like to expand upon your comment. I’m a soldier, and I joined because of the financial gain (mainly to pay for college). I’m now an officer. I transitioned because of money (again), but I’ve learned a lot about being sacrifice for my family and my country. I’m not a saint, but I would give my life for my faith, my family, my country, or even the soldiers in my unit, if it was necessary.

      Everything you say is mostly correct: most soldiers join because there’s an incentive beyond the altruistic, “I’m gonna be a hero,” line of thinking. However, the environment of the military supports a sense of heroism and humility. As a leader, I always remind my soldiers that whatever their reason for joining, they’re in it now, and I expect them to work as hard as I do to get their job done right. Yes, they’ll be compensated; yes, the government will take care of them; but that’s the main reason I ask them to work so hard. I ask them because it’s the right thing to do.

      Every soldier knows that there may come a time when s/he will have to face the enemy, and they’ll do it because it’s their job, they were trained for it, they’ve being paid, or their leaders inspire them to do so. Indeed, there’s many reasons why soldiers do what they do. But after the fact, when they’re called heroes or when they’re praised for their sacrifice, most of them will probably bow their heads and say, “It’s nothing.” That’s also a part of the American military culture.

      Again, though, I’m speaking generally about the America’s military and its current membership. I’m sure there are people who are in it only for themselves, or who have no intention of ever giving their lives for someone else. I’m also sure that some joined because they truly wanted to be heroes. (I know one person who did just that; he works in construction and makes five times as much, so that when he fulfills his weekend obligation, he’s losing money. He’s my definition of a hero.) But just as a few bad apples can ruin the bunch, I think a few good ones should stand as a prime example of what our soldiers can accomplish.

      P.S. I also believe that America’s model for a military culture is one that can be applied to virtually any nation; I’m not trying to put American soldiers above the rest of the world, I’m just saying that my experience with them has proven a lot of the current rhetoric true.

      • ruggster said

        That was so well said that I read it 3 times. I was in the Army and agree with you 100%. Awesome! Thanks so much for your service. I would follow a leader like you any day!

      • Klaamity Joe said

        You know, I don’t entirely agree with the command structure of the military in the general sense (ideally). But it not only works, it works well, and it saves lives regularly. The concept of a military (to offend or defend) is one such concept that I wish weren’t a necessity, but it is an ‘evil’ that we absolutely must tolerate in some form; I do believe that the modern context in which we live in makes it difficult to have the ‘ideal’ military, as we can only expect to act and react relative to other socities’ effects. I do, however, wonder what values (virtues?) from within our military we might be able to extend to our civilian populations in order to address the solidarity we commonly see in our military forces. I see a faux or pseudo form of this in places such as retail business, but it’s usually a shallow imitation. It is as Kraft imitation cheese is to the real thing; it can be substituted for the real thing, but rarely is it preferred. What do you think, Simon?

        • Klaamity Joe said

          I should have been more specific in my post: I am only speaking up on the necessities of things, not with regard to effects of other issues, one such being the exploitation of others (e.g., via the credulity or circumstance of others).

        • Retail corporate values are to Army values what Kraft cheese is to real cheese?

          Speaking as a Wisconsinite: that makes me smile. Thank you very much.

          Well, I tried to develop a response to Klaamity Joe, but everything I could possibly say keeps getting bogged down by my own cluttered thoughts. Seriously, it’s like, if you could look inside my head and see what I think about, you’d find it piled into a heap, rather like the room of a ten-year-old. Like my room when I was ten. Legos, everywhere. It was awesome.

          So I guess I’m saying my thoughts are awesome. Yeah, I can go with that. Either way, Joe, if you’re interested I’ll organize my thoughts into something resembling coherence and post it online, but probably not here, as I’m starting to stray too far from the original post.

  13. Brad Morawski said

    Nice post. Define fraud? Many more than 2% “abuse” the system. According to the rules of welfare fraud would be a criminal offense. Make the definition of fraud something around “not using for it’s entire purpose” than you open a can of worms. most people do not illegally obtain welfare. It’s not hard to get. Most people on welfare eat steak and chug red bulls all day. When that check comes in they are first in line at the scratch ticket store. Once tax time comes up they are out shopping for new cars and taking vacation thanks to your earned income credit.
    As of now fraud is illegal. Abuse is not. That’s what costs taxpayers so much money.

    • Thanks Brad. I agree, it’s important to define what we mean by fraud. For example, if someone makes a mistake and gets $2 per week more than they are entitled to, that’s not fraud. Fraud requires a degree of intention.

      Also, if the welfare office makes a mistake and gives people more than they’re entitled to, that is not fraud. (Many examples of so-called fraud in one of the articles referenced appear to be clerical errors.) Of course, if the recipient realizes a mistake has been made and does not report it, this is fraud imho.

      Abuse is too vague a term, in my opinion. I suspect it’s too hard to define it legally. For example, if I get a welfare check to cover my rent, but I spend it on scratch tickets, that is stupid – and perhaps abuse, but without creating some kind of utterly draconian big brother type system this kind of thing will happen – to a few.

      My definition of fraud, in a comment above is: “Fraud is [knowingly] claiming what you are not eligible for.”

      I can’t speak to the US system, but I’d be very surprised if many welfare recipients eat steak often. I’d be very surprised if they buy new cars (unless using loan sharks, which only gets them worse in debt.)

      When I was on welfare in New Zealand, it was a struggle to pay my rent and buy food for me and my son each week. There was absolutely NO money left for anything fun. I did not own a TV. It was in no way, “the good life”.

      In the end, I hear a lot of anecdotes, but as my article points out, no-one has (yet) come up with any hard facts to support this. I can come up with just as many anecdotes like my own story, or the story of a single Mom I know (whose husband abandoned her before her baby was born). If someone can come up with facts – and this must be a reputable study by a non-biased agency, then I’m happy to change my opinion.

      As yet, this hasn’t happened, and I stand by my research: Less than 2% of welfare recipients in the USA commit fraud. 98 out of 100 people you meet on welfare are not abusing the system.

      Incidentally, in New Zealand there is an anonymous tip line to report welfare fraud. I’m sure it’s the same in the USA. If people are so concerned about welfare fraud, why aren’t they reporting all these stories of welfare abuse to the authorities?

    • threenorns said

      wow – i’d like to know what kind of bennies YOUR state hands out! i’m up in canada. i believe our welfare system is a bit more generous than yours – i was on welfare after i left a bad relationship and was stuck caring for a developmentally delayed child on my own in a town where i knew no one. i couldn’t get child care, couldn’t find work, and after the car was seized and crushed for being a dangerous vehicle (the safety cert it came with turned out to be hot but who am i, a mechanic?) no transportation.

      my rent was 500 plus utilities. my entire income – child support plus welfare – was 929 a month. do me a favour: cut your income to rent plus 429 and live like you have a toddler to support: heat, hydro, healthy food (i never feed her from packets or cans if i can buy fresh – she has enough to deal with without adding poor physical health from malnutrition to it), transportation (no public busses here, did i mention? and a cab to town is 25 bucks each way!), diapers, clothing for a fast-growing child, etc.

      do that for three months and let me know how that worked out for you.

      • Kathleen said

        I would positively hate being a family and homeless in America with the economy the way it is. 4 years ago when my family was homeless we could not find a shelter despite calling every day, working with agencies that put families in shelters, and working with welfare office. The police dept did a “welfare child check” on my kids. We showed them everything we were doing to get us off the streets. The police took all our information, called the places and less than 5 hours later funding for a motel came up and in less than a week so did a spot in transitional housing. This coming from the same agencies who a day earlier told us nothing was available or going to be available for a while but to keep working and stay positive. My family (husband, myself and two children) had a difficult time trying to get help to get back on our feet.

        I spoke to a couple agencies recently that help homeless families and individuals, and they said in order for them to help (get people/families) get housing for homeless they have to be 5 years on the streets minimum.

        In order for people to get a place in shelter you have to call every single day if you miss one day you will be placed on the back of the waiting list.

        I read some of these posts and it sounds like people receiving welfare are just living like the rich and famous when in fact the hugest majority is NOT. They are struggling every day to keep/find a roof over their heads, feed their children at the end of the month, and clothes on their growing children. Believe me when I say a family walks a lot, takes a lot of buses, and needs a phone just to survive because it is a full time job if you are homeless. Most agencies that offer free phones allow only 10 mins use during certain hours, showers are on certain days an hours, free meals are the same certain days hours, washing your laundry only a set amount on certain days/hours. Good luck finding work if you are a homeless family because the father can not leave the mom/children if there is no safe place for her to be and no phone to stay connected. Now sure the mom could go look for work, but sad fact is when in a situation like this a man gets hired faster and for more pay unless woman is certified/licensed for a certain career.

        • W said

          Kathleen, I’m not sure where you live but 5 years on the streets is not the norm. I know in Maine, I have had tenants that came to me through social services that were in the state less than a couple days and were already getting help. I do know that Maine has been ahead of the curve on a lot of this stuff. The saying here is that New Hampshire’s welfare program is a bus ticket to Maine.
          I don’t think anyone is suggesting that all those living on welfare are living the good life but there is enough that you simply can’t ignore welfare fraud. The main point of the article was the suggestion that welfare fraud was so little that no one should worry or be concerned about it. The truth is that is not the case. I am willing to bet that you know or knew someone that is or was committing welfare fraud and it likely irritates you as well.
          I am sure that most people on welfare are people that would choose to be doing well on their own without assistance but that isn’t all of them. I know this because I have had my share of bums happily mooching off the system with no desire to better themselves. One in particular had a job that offered her a promotion but she turned it down and admitted to me that she did so because if she had accepted the promotion, whe would have had her benefits reduced. Here in Mine, they do a sliding scale benefits program. You don’t simply earn too much to qualify. You would qualify for assistance at the level that you are eligible for. So, just because you earn a hundred dollars more at your job doesn’t mean you lose 100 dollars in benefits. You may lose 50 or 75. But many people look at it that they would work more and the only addiditonal they would get for the extra work or responsibility is 25 or 50 bucks and they rationalize that it isn’t worth it.
          I am sorry that you were in a situation that you needed assistance and hope that you are able to get out or if you have already, I commend you for that.
          If you know of someone that is getting welfare, unemployment or disability benefits that does not ‘really’ qualify for those benefits, understand that they are stealing from you and me, not just the government.

        • Kathleen said

          Yes, I do know of people who have committed welfare fraud and it did irritate me and still does when people collect anything for false purposes, I don’t care who they are or their reasons, insurance fraud, stealing identity fraud, or anything else.

          I do know that welfare fraud exists. I have heard about Maine’s welfare system in passing. I can not remember where though.

          I just wanted to share that for some people who do collect non fraudulently are suffering and any help they get is one step towards success.

          I understand this blog is about people committing welfare fraud, and that it could be a low percent, low enough that it goes on without any repercussions.

          If you know someone is committing fraud call the welfare office number in whatever area a person lives in to report it. I just do not understand, why do we see the fraud and do nothing? I am guilty of not calling because I did not want to get involved. I always thought they would get caught on their own, which does not happen, sadly. So if you are waiting for someone else to call most likely it won’t happen. I do not have much contact anymore with the family that committed fraud.

    • BG said

      I love how everyone says “I see welfare fraud happen all the time!” and then proceed to give one instance where they’ve seen it happen. Yes, there are people who get their check and misuse their money, just like a lot of people do when they get paid. If someone on welfare gets money back from income tax, then thay means they’re on the ticket to work and have a job, because as you taxpayers like to complain about, people on welfare (without jobs) don’t pay taxes, therefore wouldn’t get anything back.
      I am considered to be on welfare. I am 32 years old, and I’m on SSI disability because I have 4 rare health conditions. I was denied full disability benefits because I was disabled before age 18, so was not able to work for 10 years under Social Security even though I was sick,I went to college, I got a bachelor’s degree, and I tried to work. my health prevented me from doing any job I tried. I applied for Social Security benefits and I got turned down. they said I wasn’t ” disabled enough”. so I kept trying to work. my health kept getting worse. I applied again. and again finally my benefits got approved. SSI/ Medicaid. welfare. everywhere I go if people find out that I had SSI/ Medicaid they assume that I’m a lazy drug addict with 10 kids at home by 10 different fathers. not someone with no children who is severely disabled.

      to some, I may be committing “welfare fraud”, although for myself I use that term loosely. on record, I live with my parents, which is basically true. So I get $465.34 a month. barely enough to pay any bills. thankfully I have help from my family… and my boyfriend. I also have a room at my boyfriends house, where I spend most of my time. I don’t live there, no, no. but if I did, I’d probably get more money from the government in order to help pay bills. I also don’t take advantage of food stamps or any other government programs. they say pride is a sin, but call me a sinner. I have a college degree and I will not get food stamps unless I have to. thankfully I have people who help me right now. for all of the people who think they should be a limit on government assistance, I’m sorry but I disagree. I will never be able to work, no matter how much I want to. I will never be able to get married, because I will lose my insurance if I do, and I have a monthly treatment for my primary immunodeficiency that costs 20,000 a month. I can’t afford that without medicaid.

      I’m so tired of everyone making the welfare issue about us vs. them, acting like everyone on welfare is a low life who abuses the system. Thank you for this article. I’ve been searching the internet for articles trying to find the actual statistics. this is the closest I could find a what I need.

      • ruggster said

        The problem with your post is that it applies to your situation only. You said a few things that generalizations that simply aren’t true. No one said that everyone getting is committing fraud. No one said that there should be a limit on all benefits. No one here looks down on deservedly needy people.
        As for your situation, you are not on welfare. You are on disability. That means that you have been diagnosed with a condition that says that you can’t easily or safely work. That is a heck of a lot different than someone that decides to drag their feet in getting a job. It is different than someone that continues to have children when they can’t afford to pay the bills they have knowing that a child will automatically entitle them to funds for the care of that child. It is different than someone that has decided to live above his or her means with the newest smart phone, ipad, flat screen, nice car, video game, tattoo or whatever else knowing that social services will assist them while others struggle and go without to make sure their responsibilities are taken care of. You situation is different than someone that makes poor choices with their health such as smoking, drinking and drugs that all cost money and create health problems that will bury them deeper in debt.
        So, you see, your situation is different. And the people I know that despise welfare fraud wouldn’t give your situation a second glance.
        There are many forms of welfare fraud. There are those that will trade their EBT cards for drugs, booze or cigarettes. . There are those that hide or lie about income so they qualify for more. Others falsify living situations to qualify. Some will purposely apply for jobs at locations that are not hiring knowing they won’t get a job. Some will turn down jobs that would mean having to work for an amount similar to the benefits they receive. I could go on and on about the forms of fraud but I think you get the point. Fraud usually means that you’re doing something underhanded to get money or services you don’t deserve or don’t need.
        Fraud is a problem. It doesn’t matter that someone can only think of one or 2 situations where fraud is occurring. In fact, one situation is too much. I only know a handful of people that use social programs like welfare or section 8 housing and of those, 2 of them are committing fraud and, yes, I did report them. They were investigated and were able to excuse their way out of the situation to the point that it was dropped. Those 2 represent about 10% fraud. That is too much!
        As for limits on benefits. You bet there should be limits. It is proven that people that learn to depend on social benefits get into a comfort zone and never want to get off them. In fact, many people on unemployment never find a job until their benefits run out. Social programs like welfare, unemployment and section 8 housing were meant to give people a hand up not a hand out. One person I know in particular depended on housing and other programs for 18 years while her kids were young. That is a bit ridiculous. Anyone that thinks otherwise has a poor mindset.

      • Bill D. said

        Hi BG, Thank you for sharing those remarks. It is unfortunate that many and the GOP especially paint people receiving any kind of assistance as undeserving. I follow this blog and have added some comments that weren’t much appreciated by the conservatives who like to rant here. It is a shame that they assume the worst of people when they don’t realize that humans, like other species, when it comes right down to the nitty gritty will do whatever it takes to survive. If they can’t find an employer to give them a job, what are the alternatives? Begging, crime, welfare? For all the efforts we make on behalf of democracy around the world, it’s shameful that the the american dream seems to be fading at the hands of the greedy few who have the ability to manipulate the system as it has devolved to plutocracy.
        I’m sorry for your situation and wish your health was better. If you want to feel like a contributor to the society that has supported you, maybe there are volunteer opportunities you could handle. I don’t know what jobs you’ve tried to do, but maybe there is something you could do as a volunteer that wouldn’t be too taxing on you. Many volunteers are needed for so many things.

        • ruggster said

          Bill D, I don’t think you should paint the GOP with a brush that suggests they think people receiving public assistance are lazy. I consider myself a conservative and realize that lazy people come in all political parties. I think what you are confusing is that we want people to take some responsibility. Just by your statement here, I can see that you as well as most liberals live in this scholastic world where problems are caused by the greedy rich and not by the poor choices people make. Unfortunately, that is not how the world works. People are not all inherently good. Many are jealous people that want what others have without the work. I have no problem with helping people get a leg up but I see no reason to have a cradle to grave society for people that are able but not willing. Once you’ve seen a few people abuse a system that is meant to help them, you get this attitude. If it was simply that a person can’t find a job, that is tough but many times they could find a job if they really wanted to. I’m not saying this is always the situation but it does happen. A lot of people don’t take stock in the system. They are takers. I am not for stretching their benefits out indefinitely. I generally hate to paint people with a wide brush but you did so I feel I can take that liberty.
          I busted my butt to get to where I am and the idea that my taxes need to continue to rise to take care of people that are certainly able to work but not willing because they used to make 70 grand a year but can only find a job that makes 25 grand and are not willing to stoop that low is frustrating. I went to nursing school and studied my butt off. I worked part time and cut my expenses to only the necessities to make ends meet. I bought at yard sales and the thrift stores and spent my Friday nights home with my family. At the same time I had a coworker that continued to live in the moment. He enjoyed those Friday nights at the bar and watching the game on cable on his wide screen and ate out regularly. He is still working the same job slaving away living paycheck to paycheck while I enjoy my cushy job and paycheck. I did it and anyone else can. The problem is that we give people a living on social programs so they have no reason to improve themselves. You can try to make it out that we don’t care about the needy or poor but in reality we want better for them. I believe in the idea that if you give a guy a fish he’ll eat for a day but if you teach him how to fish he’ll eat for a lifetime. What does a social program do for a person??

        • BillD said

          I’m so glad you’ve been able to work hard and do well for yourself. Not all are given the traits and abilities you needed to succeed. I agree with showing a man to fish. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that. Some peoples brains just aren’t wired right. They could look normal to you and everybody else, but let me tell you, there are people who just don’t have the ability to deal with getting and holding a job. Also, I don’t have any inside information, but I’m wondering if some of the people on relief are there because that is cheaper that investigating what they might be up to and then keeping them in jail where they would get healthcare they don’t get now.

        • Ruggster said

          Bill, please don’t insult me by suggesting that the government has brains enough to think that paying a criminal social assistance is in lieu of room and board behind bars.
          As for my ability being greater than others that lay about on assistance, that is also bs. This is the problem with liberals. They constantly make excuses. That’s 2 in one post for you.
          A person that at one time had a decent job but now is doing the math to see if the extra benefit of a working paycheck is worth the trouble of getting up in the morning is simply a fraud. I am sure there are those out there that can’t work for one reason or another. There are programs for those people. Unfortunately we’re talking about welfare fraud in this blog. Those people would not be committing fraud. We’re still talking about the people that are going out of their way to get something theyre not entitled to by deceiving the system. Stop suggesting that everyone falls into a special category so it is alright for them to cheat the system. Fraud is fraud. Again, I’m not talking about those that genuinely need assistance. I’m talking about the cheats.
          I don’t know exactly how to fix the system but for you or anyone out there to suggest that fraud is such a small problem, is just stupid.

    • A welfare fraud investigator said

      Only foodstamps even have rules about what you can spend them on, but any violation of those rules are considered trafficking.

  14. Victoria said

    The problem with the earned income credit, as it pertains to those on welfare in the US, is that it cannot be saved beyond a short time period; it must be spent or it counts as a resource against benefits. So, one can go entirely without benefits until the EIC is used up, in which case it doesn’t last very long, or one can purchase a large item that has the potential to improve quality of life. A reliable car is a necessity for work in most parts of the US. The value of your car cannot be too high (not above 5K in many states), since “too much car” disqualifies you for benefits.

  15. Ruby said

    I know that number must be higher. It is so easy to get on welfare. My sister did it. All you have to do is write father unknown on the birth certificate and there you go. Do you know how many people do that and they know who the father is. In her case, she knows who the father is and he lives with her. I’m sure she isn’t the only one.

    • Interesting. Most states that I am aware of have anonymous phone lines to report welfare fraud. Is reporting your sister or other people you know of doing this an option?

    • LJ said

      You don’t have to put father unknown on the birth certificate because the girl will get the support and then give it back to the father.
      I know how it works. The fathers(bf) money stays within the family and gets un-noticed. It’s wrong.
      LJ-Ohio

      • A welfare fraud investigator said

        No, he’s going to pay a big chunk of his income, and they are only going to pass a dew bucks through to her.

    • A welfare fraud investigator said

      It is rampant; but, in my city, we catch them all the time. There are lots of ways other that the birth certificate to establish who the father is, at least enough to shift the burden of proof in family court.

      • nurse1 said

        My husband’s daughter is on section 8, welfare and working. She is married to her kids father. Welfare office computers do not talk to each other if they did several people would be in big trouble, and the newly unemployed people would be able to get some of the benefits that they have paid for with their taxes. She is committing welfare fraud, & section 8 fraud.

        • A Welfare Fraud Investigator said

          There are layers of privacy and separations of bureaucracy that are going to stop a lot of stuff from getting detected automatically. I take a certain amount of comfort in the inefficiencies because I have a little bit of insight into where they come from. A system that cut through all the red tape in the name of zero tolerance would be a frightening thing to behold. Would it be worth living under ‘Big Brother’ just to ensure no one gets a handout they don’t need?

          It would certainly make my job easier if we did decide to too away with the safeguards, but I would also be a little terrified by the decision to do so. Would it be too corny to quote Charlton Heston in ‘A Touch of Evil’? “Police work is supposed to be hard, that’s the whole point. Police work is only easy in a police state.”

          You would be shocked by how much of your information I have access to already. If someone on this board were to let three specific, personal details slip, I could probably use that to pull up their social security number. (That is not a challenge, by the way. I have to put control numbers on all the confidential information I run a search on, and it would be a criminal abuse of the public trust to use my position to look at people who aren’t under active investigation). If you were ever on our system, I could use the information we have to generate breeder documents, and turn those into a real driver’s license or passport with your identity and my picture.

          A lot of the little inefficiencies are by-products of the mechanisms in place to make sure I would be caught if I tried to do something like that. Limiting information shared between offices makes it easier to track down abuse when someone with a criminal mind outsmarts both their character background investigation (to get their position) and the safeguards.

  16. Jennica said

    I am 19, I have been on “welfare” since I was an emancipated minor ( 15), and even before that, I’m only on Maine care, because I have no other means to get health insurance and to be honest I am never siick or get hurt (knock on wood) but its nice to have insurance until I cann afford iit I know how the system works. some of you say it’s hard to get accepted, well I guess It depends on where you live, where I live on the other hand it’s so easy. and to lie and commit fraud is as well, I know PLENTY on well off people who collect unnecessary benefits when some one who works there butt off every night and day makes to much.. It’s hard for my coming from a family who does just that. I look at it an feel disgusted, I know and care about alot of people who work so hard that sometimes find themselves living out of a car etc. because they can not get assistance. I’m not saying everyone does it Obviously but the percentage of people in the USA that ABUSE the benefits is outrages. and FRAUD, you guys are right, you should define it. because other people look at things differently no your benefits should not stop for an extra 5 a week on a paycheck or what not. but its the people who are working making more than they claim, and going to food pantries yet they live in this gorgeous apartment and have a gorgeous car and nice cell phones clothes hair the list goes on and on. I know a few, and to add to that they pay 43bucks a month for rent because they are so bad off. I mean come onn I have not had an easy life I choose to leave a home to get away from alot of things I’ve slept on the side walk before I have never had the feeling of an IPOD or a laptop until recently Im almost 20 and I finally got my own car and I just started college which IM PAYING for because I work at a subway, and make 8.25 an hour and make to much for any assistance, when i’ve have my rent for apartment, my car loan and now school payments gas food, they never take that in to consideration, and when people say they cant get a job seriously my landlord I have had to work 3 before and as long as your persistent annd show that you want it you can get a job THERE is opulently out there and I LIVE in MAINE, I just moved to waterville 3 months ago and I’ve had 8 interviews and all of them wanted to hire me but I only took two

    • Thanks Jennica for your story, it helps to hear some of the reality that is out there. It sounds to me like you deserved some help, at least in some points in your life.

      The health insurance question complicates things a lot, because in the USA you must have health insurance or you will get stuck with huge bills. In New Zealand (my country) we have free health care for everyone to cover the basics, so “health benefit” fraud just doesn’t happen. (It used to sometimes, but I’m keeping this simple.) I can’t stress enough how good state-funded health care has been for us. (Don’t believe the distortions that various US lobby groups tell you about our country’s health system – I’ve seen the ads and they made me LOL, they were so wrong.)

      Somebody above talked about “incentives” to work. If someone has to work three jobs just to pay rent and food that seems like a big incentive not to work and to just take welfare, to me. So it seems that the question is also complicated by the problem of low wage jobs? Get the book “Nickel and Dimed” out of the library, it’s a really interesting read about exactly that question.

      I’m impressed you’re working so hard to pay your way and glad things are slowly working out for you.

      Jonathan :)

      • Derek said

        Exactly! Of course there’s no incentive to work three minimum wage jobs in place of one that pays a living wage. But once you start working that one minimum wage job, you’re thrown off of many assistance programs. Throw a child or poor health into the mix and you’ve essentially created a permanent class of people dependent on welfare with no incentive to find work. The problem is simplified by so many people. It’s not welfare or welfare fraud, it’s our education system, it’s our failure to prevent teen pregnancies, it’s our failure to treat drug addiction, it’s our failure to treat mental health problems, it’s our failure to provide basic health care, it’s our failure to ensure that our citizens don’t have to work three separate jobs to survive. It’s our failure to provide higher education to every American and to help those who are leaving failing industries retrain themselves for a different career. George W. Bush once responded to a woman who told him she worked three jobs by saying, “It’s uniquely American isn’t it?” What’s uniquely American is our refusal to look at the real, complex, adult-version of what’s going on in this country, opting instead for a detached, simplistic, childish view that says “We should eliminate welfare so that the poor will get off their as es and work!”

        It’s not that simple, kids!

  17. citygirl said

    Welfare fraud is a big deal. I know married people who get welfare for themselves and thier kids. The problem is that they never told the public aid office they are married to the dad of the kids. Only a real man would allow his wife to collect foodstamp to feed him and his family, live in a $ 1200.00 a month section 8 house, and claim EIC at the end of the year. Welfare fraud is big. I also want to know how is it that a person with a low income that may have paid $ 500.00-600.00 in income tax can get a tax return of $2k-4k .whereas people who pay $ 3k-6k in income taxes cannot get anything back. Only in america can this happen. There really is no reason for the low income or the POOR to get and education and raise their income. I know I sound mean. I have 2 different difintions for the word “poor” 1st the PPP perpetually poor people meaning they have been poor 5- years or more. WHY? I do not care about them, 2nd the NP new poor. These are the people I really care about because they have worked and paid into the system but by no fault of their own are unemployeed or underemployeed. The NP should get all the welfare they need regardless of martial status, previous incom, or the typr of care or house they live in. They have paid for the service, and deserve it

    • Thanks for your reply, Citygirl.

      I agree, welfare fraud is a big deal. This is why I tried to find accurate figures about it. So far, the figures I’ve cited above are the best I’ve been able to find without access to internal reports from Government anti-fraud offices. I’d really like to find an accurate “unbiased” study which can disprove my figures. Maybe I’ll have to do it myself one day.

      I can’t comment on the tax side of things as I don’t know much about it. I think Victoria, in a comment above mentioned the earned income credit.

      I’m curious. Have you ever considered reporting the fraudulent people you know to the anonymous fraud reporting phone line? If not, why not? I hear a lot of stories about people who “know someone” but haven’t heard from anyone who’s reported someone yet.

      • ruggster said

        I don’t think you really believe that welfare fraud is a big deal. It sounds more like you’re patronizing these commenters. Read that bold statement in your article. ‘Less than 2% of all people on welfare in the USA commit fraud.’ I think 2% would be OK with me but the likelihood that 98% of the people out there are doing the right thing with very little oversight is ridiculous. I drive down the interstate to work daily and I can tell you that a good 50% of the cars I see are speeding. Even speeding 5 mph is speeding as is only receiving a hundred dollars of benefits here and there that someone is not entitled to is fraud or even more important THEFT. I am trying to figure out what you have to gain from misrepresenting the problem and see nothing other than to encourage more fraud which is sort of a liberal agenda. It helps keep people dependent upon a system and perpetualizes that system. After all, who bites the hand that feeds them?

        • Ruggster.
          I have deleted one of your comments elsewhere which was an extended rant about me being too “young” and naive to understand the real world. Perhaps you’re just trolling. I’ve decided to leave your other comments for now. However, any more like that and all of your comments will be deleted and you will be banned. My blog, my rules.

        • Ruggster said

          I’m not sure what you mean by trolling. I have been watching this because I am curious as to others experiences. You can delete my comments if you want but it only goes to support my theory that you’re picking and choosing the facts that you want to observe. With that in mind, if I were to pick and choose facts, I could prove or disprove anything. Banning a voice doesn’t change the truth. It just closes the mind. So much for the liberals wanting to encourage open thought. Liberals claim to be open minded but that is only true if you are like minded. I assume that when you posted this on your liberal site, you expected only liberals to respond positively supporting your theory. After a few years, this would be the authoritative reference on welfare fraud. So much for that. Your little experiment backfired and now you’ve discovered that many people out there don’t believe your stacked data. That you’ve already deleted one of my comments makes me wonder how many other relevant comments you’ve deleted rom others. Like I said before, picking and choosing facts you can prove almost anything. I could probably find enough info out there that prove you shot Kennedy! Go ahead and delete this, ban me, it’s your blog, your rules. Remember though, as Mitt Romney told President Obama, “you can have your own plane, you can have your own house but you can’t have your own facts”.

          by the way, I noticed you deleted the most recent comment. That was far from a rant. If you go back and read it you’ll find it was very well organized. The jist of it was that you’re a young guy thathis inks he’s enlightened and knows more than all others. One day when you have a job and are working you butt off paying for someone else that has chosen to pass on an opportunity because it is ‘more work than its worth’ yet you still have to ‘donate’ a portion of your labor for him to sit around, you may realize that his system needs an overhaul. To think that he problem is so small it doesn’t need fixing is stupid. Tell that to the kids of Connecticut. Gun deaths from legal registered users account for a smaller amount of violence in the US every year yet we’re in a huge debate over banning guns all together. Why?? It barely registers. In fact, registers about 1/100th of the amount when compared with welfare fraud. If your so called 2% is no big deal, why is .02% a big deal? I don’t have any problem with legal use of welfare for a set period but the unlimited use that you encourage is ridiculous.

          Now tell me what of that is a rant.

        • Ruggster said

          I’m kind of curious of your situation. Why did you choose this subject? You said you spent some time on welfare. What was the situation? How did you get there? How did you get off? With all the other things going on in the world! Why tackle welfare fraud and not menial minimum wages, gun violence, slave labor, rancid housing projects, prostitution, marijuana legalization, gay and lesbian rights…… Etc…. I’m curious as to your choosing to disprove frau with so many other issues out there.

  18. Cory said

    Tell ma if this is a reliable source for figures:

    http://www.fordschool.umich.edu/research/poverty/pdf/jcpr_pollack.pdf

    • Thanks, I hadn’t thought of contacting people like this. You’ve give me ideas.

      As for your question, after a brief look over it I see it’s from a unit of the University of Michigan. That’s a reputable school, so if the researchers have followed good methods, then yes, it’s probably a reliable source. However, It’s not so much the source, as the study itself. A study could have been done by smart people but still get some things wrong, perhaps because of the methods they used. That’s why academics prefer “peer reviewed” research, so that others in the field have checked it.

      I’m not sure if this paper was peer reviewed, but it will probably have been published in a journal somewhere, so the answer is probably yes.

      I didn’t see any figures in there on welfare fraud, but it’s a good idea to investigate academic sources. In fact, I don’t know why I didn’t think to look up the academic journals i have access to. Thanks, watch this space.

  19. [...] of people are interested in my post a while back about welfare fraud in the USA. So I thought I’d do a follow up. First, I’ve got some [...]

  20. Beakizer said

    I enjoyed your post and for the record, I have been a republican/conservative pretty much my entire adult life…

    Until the second Bush term, which by the end of, I was pushed pretty much to the center (although with right-leaning tendencies…).

    When we talk about fraud and number in this country it is seldom that EITHER side tells the full story or use real numbers. Case in point is your repeated reference to the mere $2 per week error. I would think that A) No fraudster would AIM for an extra 2 bucks and that B) Even our government would not even count that. But it SHOUNDS good in articles…

    Much the same as the right harps on welfare fraud…

    So both sides need to be more honest here.

    But let me relate what I see on a daily basis where I live that is a HUGE scheme to collect free money…

    We have a sub-community in our area which consist of more than 20,000 residents. They are of a particular orthodox group, which I will say only that. This community is in a constant state of growth, with housing going up at non-stop levels for the past 10 years. Many residents do hav regular jobs and run legitimate businesses, but I happen to also know that a LARGELY disproportionate number of government checks are delivered to roughly 80% of the reidential households.

    Mind you, these households typically consist of 4 to 8 children – all of whom ALSO get free health care (free to them – not to the rest of the tax payers).

    I also know that MANY MANY of these households do very well in their “off the books” endeavors. Many work down in the city in the diamond district, garment district, etc.

    Much of their housing is built with government grants and LOW cost loans, which after they are built, they do NOT offer the low cost housing to anyone outside their community (which is illegal).

    They get away with all of this (and MUCH more) because our largely LEFT politicians know that if they cow-tow to these people, then they will get all of their voter eligible residents on buses to the voting centers and TELL them who to vote for (this is widely know around here), all but assuring the election.

    I could go on, but you get the idea. And this is but ONE community. I know of MANY more in my state alone that get away with this – with the politicians knowledge (which is fraud on their part). And no – it’s NOT just the left. The right does it to, although to a smaller degree.

    I have no issue with paying taxes. Or even raising them. And frankly, even with all I pointed out above I think there is a much BIGGER issue than welfare abuse.

    How about government spending that’s out of control? On BOTH sides?

    I have an issue paying MORE money to an entity that pretends to have oversight on it’s own spending but clearly does not. I mean seriously – would you invest money in a company that runs ITSELF into a deficit? Or spend more money than it makes? And simply “cuts pay” when they don’t have enough money to operate? (Let’s face it – raising taxes is the same as taking a pay cut…).

    It’s the same reason I want no part of our current government taking over health care. They will run it into the ground. And it is simply the same greed of not having to pay that those who accuse the rich of being greedy.

    We all need to be honest with ourselves. It IS about money – whether you make 27K per year or 100 million… we earn it, we want to keep as much as we can. And when the government gets its crap together, learns how to balance a damn check book, THEN perhaps they will garner more trust from the people on both sides.

    In the meantime, both sides should quit spitting out rhetoric. Most of it is B.S. anyway :)

    Thanks.

  21. jf said

    Beakizer,

    Your reply should be noted as what is it: a nice covert attempt to cover your overt anti-antisemitism.

    You are a coward and a very small person.

    • Cameron said

      jerk..

    • Wait, so, he’s an anti-semite because he thinks it’s unfair that a limited section of the American population isn’t required to abide by the same laws as the rest of us? Honestly, I don’t really care that much about the issue Beakizer brought up; I do care that your first response to him is to hurl insults and effectively shut him down. What you’ve done is the same thing that so many small-minded people do when faced with rational arguments: they look flustered for a moment, then shout, “Well, you’re just a bully! So shut up!”

      Why your comment has been allowed to linger on this site, I cannot fathom…

    • ruggster said

      Anti-antisemitism?? So does that mean hes pro semitism?? Where do you get that? Or are you just throwing out a word that you have no idea the meaning of? That must be a liberal tactic. Attack the right! No one will read his lengthy comment but they’ll read my baseless attack because it is only 1 illegible sentence long. Nicely played……. idiot.

  22. Just wanted to point you toward some current information on Unemployment Insurance over payments which includes fraud. It’s not welfare, but I have heard many people complain that UI benefits should not be extended in this climate because it encourages people to be lazy and game the system.

    http://www.ows.doleta.gov/unemploy/improp_pay.asp#

    This includes 2009, 2010, and the first 2 quarters of 2011. For CY 2010, the fraud rate nationally was 2.69% or $1.5 billion. Small potatoes. I found that number in the full report under the “Data Definitions” section in that link.

    Damon

    • Many thanks Damon, I will check out the info when I get a chance. Fraud rate 2.67% eh? That’s encouraging as it’s not too far from my own “working” figure above.

      Thanks :)

    • Paul F said

      The bigger problem is one that cannot be measured. It is the families where one of the earners is a low wage earner and has been laid off. This person has little incentive, as the difference between UI and working, when you factor transportation, clothing, etc… is not much.

      I know of 3 families personally where the wife has decided to sit at home for 2+ years because she can, and is fine not applying for work, as her husband earns enough to pay their bills.

      How many folks are in exactly this situation, where all we are doing is paying them to stay home? I know some, and I know this is not that uncommon. Now that we have extended 2 years, and talking about a 3rd year, these people, already low wage earners, are becoming unemployable, as they are out of the habit of work, and are losing skills.

      And when you say only $1.5 billion, well add up the 100’s of government programs where we are only wasting a few billion, and all of a sudden, it is a big pile of money. And this is assuming we can really know about “all” of the fraud and abuse.

      • Even if there is wastage of “billions”, what actually counts is what this amounts to as a percentage of the total government spend. The US government budget is so large that even 100 billion is less than 3% of the total Government spend. For example, total US Government spend in 2010 was over three thousand bilion (Actually 3046 Billion) See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_federal_budget

        Given there are government departments whose job is to find fraud, I think we CAN know all of the fraud. (Well, the majority of it, it’s obvious that we will never catch everything, but that is true of any human endeavour.) That is the point of my article above, and in the ? months since it and the follow-up were written I have not yet found anyone who can give me ACTUAL FIGURES to disprove it.

        I’m sorry, but I am tired of hearing about people going by “our feelings” and “I heard that so-and-so got money when they weren’t supposed to”. If we can’t provide actual facts, maybe we should revise our opinions?

      • BillD said

        how much skill do you need for a low wage job. Come on!

  23. [...] http://spritzophrenia.wordpress.com/2011/01/04/how-bad-is-welfare-fraud-in-the-usa/ [...]

  24. Gia L. said

    People abusing the welfare system has become more common each day, causing the majority of U.S. people to resent the welfare system and its beneficiaries. This has promoted out of wedlock births, and higher dependency on the government and hard working Americans tax dollars. More changes must be made to this reform in order to prevent a rise in the abuse of the welfare system. Its not right in my eyes, for a young mother to continue having children, living rent and bill free, knowing that there are greater rewards for her to have more and more kids, rather than actually getting a job like the rest of us! :/

    • BillD said

      Why don’t you see if you could trade places or move in with one of these young mothers and see how long you think you could deal with it and how much you sympathize afterwards? “walk a mile in my shoes.”

  25. DJ P said

    I am a married woman with a 3-year-old child. We basically live paycheck-to-paycheck (I say “basically” because I just recently got a third part-time job that’s helping out a lot). I have worked hard and networked since quitting my full-time job to stay home to take care of our son when he was born. I now work three part-time jobs from home so we don’t have to go broke to put our son in daycare to be raised by someone who isn’t his parent. We have never been able to qualify for government benefits. We have both worked since we were 15 years old, so we’ve been paying into the system since then. Obviously, I am unable to obtain healthcare benefits from an employer and my husband works for a small company who offers group insurance for an astronomical price, especially considering the poor benefits. We pay out-of-pocket, post-taxes for private insurance so that we are not leeches on anyone else. We’re being responsible. It means sacrifice on our part, but that’s what you do.

    I have learned, directly from the people doing it, that a family member’s spouse and a friend of mine are both lying the government to obtain benefits. Both of these people have children. Both of these people have money. The family member’s spouse has a very large inheritance from which she draws more per month than my husband and I make combined. She lives with her mother and pays nothing to live there. She drives brand new Audi and visits the hair and nail salons on an almost weekly basis.

    The friend lives with the father of her child, and has since before they had the child 6 years ago. Their son is mentally disabled and he does and always will receive benefits for this (which I’m 100% OK with). They both work and make decent wages. Only a little less than what my husband makes, but they live in a place with a much lower cost of living. The buy new flat screen TVs and car stereos while getting food stamps, WIC, medicaid, and unemployment. She has two iPhones and an XBox 360. I don’t have nice things like that, because I can’t afford it. I guess because I actually pay for my groceries and healthcare out of my bank account.

    These are just the people I know who have actually said the words to me “I’m lying to the government to get benefits”. Who else is doing it? I can’t have another child, because it would cost me too much out of pocket. Private insurance no longer covers maternity in the US. Those of us with private insurance pay much more for much less. I am an excellent mom and could support another child in life, but cannot afford to give birth to another child. Meanwhile, there are people who are on welfare and/or jobless who are able to have children that my husband and I are paying for with our taxes out of our hard-earned wages. It disgusts me. Our grandparents put into the system, too, and get barely anything in government benefits. My husband’s granny late husband was a US paratrooper at Normandy during WWII and she worked in the bullet factories during that time. She draws SSI and that’s it. Barely $1000 a month for all of her living expenses.

    We are distributing welfare to the wrong places. I’m all for helping out the disabled, those who need temporary assistance getting back on their feet, and the elderly who have “time served”. I am not OK supporting people who steal. You have a choice over most things in your life. You choose to bust your butt and sacrifice or you choose not to. That shouldn’t be anyone else’s problem but your own.

    • BillD said

      health care is an issue for everyone but especially the “near poor”. Look at my earlier post for information about dealing with this issue.
      Improved Medicare for All is the solution, you need to demand it. Look for a showing of “the healthcare movie” or visit the website healthcaremovie.net.

  26. I feel like if you are capable to work and have no disabilities, then you should get your lazy ass up off the couch and work! Stop jerking the system, they make it hard for people who really need it.

    • BillD said

      I’m with Jonathan on a question he’s asked a few times. If you know a goldbrick taking un-qualified benefits, have you reported it to a hotline?

  27. Abraham Smith said

    I work in the welfare office in my county in PA. I can tell you that there are many, many people who are getting benefits that they are not entitled to, whether the amount of benefits simply needs to be adjusted or they are outright not eligible, or no longer eligible. The workers in my office and many like them are simply so overworked and pressured by our management to push applications through in a timely fashion that we do not have the time to properly verify all the claims on the application. You would not believe how many adults with children have not worked, have had no source of income whatsoever for many years yet the bills are paid, the rent or mortgage is up to date and the kids are fully clothed and have more “stuff” than I would be able to afford to give my children if I had any. If you do the math, at least for those in PA, a single individual who receives the full amount of Food Stamps, lives in Section 8 housing and receives disability related GA Cash assistance the tax payer is giving that individual $13,980.00 yearly and that does not include any medical claims, that is pure $$$. For those receiving Food Stamps, Section 8 housing and the maximum SSI benefit the total cash payment is $19,488.00. Then you add in other freebee programs like LiHeap and special allowances and the “Poor” are living better than those who take their applications

    • Debra said

      Thank you for the totals. I was wondering what a person on all the programs ended up getting. My son is doing a report on welfare Fraud, but he is finding out you really don’t have to commit fraud, because there is so many ways to get a “handout”. I don’t really know a better way to say that. Is it ok if he uses your comments in his report? Thanks Debra

    • BillD said

      That is a sad situation, Abraham. It’s similar to what we hear in Ohio. It the Republicans are so worried about cost of benefits and fraud and want to create jobs, they should employ more case workers and fraud investigators to get benefits properly qualified and minimize the fraud. There shouldn’t be a question of big vs small government, but about ensuring that the government can serve the people who cannot care well for themselves and serve less the corporations and individuals who can afford to take care of themselves.

      • ruggster said

        Sweet idea BillD. I agree with you 100%. While we’re at it, why not hire more immigration officials to keep out illegal aliens along the border. For every illegal we stop, you can likley pay that border patrollers salary for a year and take him off the welfare roles. Or how about the fraud surrounding Hurricane Katrina. remember that? They were claiming that they didn’t have enough staff to watchdog the program. Then hire more! There were people down there getting rich because they claimed their trailer was washed away yet they were living in Northern Alabama at the time. Hire more investigators. For every fraudster they catch, they could employ an army of these investigators. Or governmental contractors. If they weren’t so busy chasing after the little guys back in the 80’s you never would have heard of the 10,000 dollar hammer. Haliburton anyone?? Good idea BillD!

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  35. JBryan said

    The unfortunate thing about welfare fraud is that if you know 1 person committing it – you likely know dozens. I just recently started paying attention to other people in my work place during the refund season (which is also a disturbing area to look into) and the numbers that were be thrown around were staggering. Mind you the avg rate of pay where I work is about $11/ hour- almost everyone ( about 19 people) claimed they were getting at least $5000 back- many of these are single guys with no kids. This led to some curiosity about other ways people are “benefitting” from govt. assistance( I say this because these refunds far exceed what they paid in). 8 people I talked to explained to me that they get at least $600/mo in food stamp(EBT card) along with daycare vouchers which can be between $300&$500/mo(these are collected by family members who claim to care for the child) Reduced housing for at least 4 mothers whose husbands or BF live with them. 4BR homes in decent neighboorhoods or Apts for around $500/mo. This is accomplished by the man using a different address and having child support taken from his check and put right back into the household by the wife/GF. The separation claims also qualify the children of these relationships for healthcare. What it comes down to is -on the low side- is about $1500 extra “money” per month in these households.( this is not including the tax refunds. Do the math here $18,000/ yr + a $5000 or so( and that was a low figure) in tax refunds. This is not a random occurrence, it is a common way of life here. There is no mindset of ” I need help right now”- its a well played system where you are raised to believe that this is what you are entitled to and this is how you go get it. I too have looked for more “real” figures regarding welfare fraud and all I find are blogs where people who even use the phrase are attacked for trying to discredit the poor working class. Reporting fraud does no good either because there are not enough people to properly process the claims, much less investigate the fraudulent ones.

    • A welfare fraud investigator said

      A huge part of my day is processing written complaints. I have to throw 90% of them out, often because it is not even clear what they have to do with welfare. But entering garbage complaints chews up a big chunk of my work day. If you are going to report welfare fraud, please, PLEASE, don’t do it anonymously. We will probably need to ask you about a detail that you didn’t realize was important. Also, we are less likely to assume that you just sent the complaint in to harass your ex-girlfriend if you put your name on it.

  36. Joann said

    Well, I know quite a few people collecting welfare. My husband’s niece has been collecting it since she was 18 and had her first child. She is now 25 and has 5 kids. She has never worked a day in her life and just keeps having kids so she can remain on the welfare system. Her mom is only in her late 40s and she collects SSI claiming she can’t work, but she has no trouble at all running around at night to bars and to go shopping to spend all of her free money. She could very easily babysit her grandkids so her daughter could work but the daughter has been given a choice by the government, get a job or don’t and we will force the taxpayers to support you, so she chooses to be lazy. Her younger brother is collecting SSI because he says he can’t keep a job due to anger issues. I have known him his whole life and never seen him display any anger. He smokes pot every day and pops pills and he has no problem working under the table doing roofing. I even reported him to social security for this and nothing was done. My husband’s other niece who is 21 has 3 kids and she has never worked a day in her life. She sees her cousin collecting a ton of free stuff for having kids so she follows right along. I believe that once it is allowed they take advantage and this is how we end up with so many unwanted children in this country. If they were told to get a job and support their own kids, they would have to, and wouldn’t have another and another… My daughter’s father and I split up because he began using drugs and I refused to put up with that. He got married to someone younger than him, 19, and they had a child. Immediately his wife started collecting welfare. She was told that she needed to get a job, so she just had another kid, then another, then another. They now have 4 that are not taken care of very well at all. She even went and got a job at Walmart 2 years in a row, around October and worked till the end of December and then collected a ton of money at tax time. I think since she collected welfare all year she should have been forced to pay some of that money back with her $5,000+ income tax refund, but nope, she didn’t. He now collects SSI because he is a drug addict and all the kids receive checks because of that, he does live with them. This year she didn’t get a job but instead she is going to let her mom’s boyfriend claim her kids and they are going to split the money. I cannot understand why the government isn’t cross referencing kids claimed on tax returns with the welfare office to see if someone collected benefits for them. Every time I go grocery shopping I see young people with their Access cards and full carts of food. Most believe that the government OWES this free food and money to them. There is a bunch of apartments near my house that are HUD apartments. These kids dress better than most kids in the area, many of the parents drive expensive cars, have iPhones, tons of jewelry, get their hair and nails done every other week… Why don’t people ever say, hey, if they can afford all this stuff, they can afford to pay their own rent? Meanwhile, the rest of us, whether we have kids or not, have to work every day to support ourselves, our children, pay for our own food, medical, houses… and then are forced to pay more and more to cover the people who refuse to work. We need some serious welfare reform in this country. We also need to revamp the dept. that just keeps handing people SSI checks for no good reason. I have a step brother that has been blind and mildly retarded since birth and he works every day. If people like him can work so can the rest of these people. The problem is they are given a choice and they choose to be lazy. In my opinion, ending this welfare way of life would improve these people’s lives, improve the lives of the people who have to pay for them, and it would decrease the amount of unwanted children and those being born into poverty.

  37. Lastoftheprimes said

    I also noticed it’s almost impossible to locate “unbiased” data as it pertains to fraud and our government relief programs. Another figure I’m curious about is how to track it’s “abuse” (and I realize an agreed upon definition of “abuse” is hard to come by). I find the common negative stigma is that at the “Root” of the opposition for government assistance programs, are “Fears” that they are being abused. How can we ever lay to rest false beliefs, and simultaneously properly penalize those contributing to the abuse without concrete data. So frustrating…

  38. Bill Davis said

    http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=1302 Here’s an interesting article I found. Extra! May/June 1995

    Five Media Myths About Welfare. It’s getting old, but it is interesting from a historical perspective.

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  40. Git a job said

    I believe welfare should be capped also. I see some of the welfare moms out here in California in section 8 housing, no job, but money for breast augmentation, and better than decent vehicles. There is no push or benefit to get off, so why get off? I was unemployed for a period of six months and when I got a job, that I didn’t like, it was hard to go to work everyday, I wanted unemployment again… so I guess in a way I understand why they don’t want a job. But hey you start somewhere and build up. Get a job welfare mommas, or go to school :}

  41. w said

    3000 fraud investigators for 5.8 million cases. That is about 1900 cases per fraud investigator. That is 7 cases that each investgator would need to go over carefully each day at about an hour for each case. You’re numbers don’t impress me. If I had to look through 1900 cases, I’d likly miss stuff as well. I don’t believe for a second that only 1% of 5.8 million people are out there cheating. I am willing to bet the number is more in line with the number of people on the road breaking the law speeding, driving with out licenses, registrations, iinspections, insurance or any other number of moving violations compared to the total number of people on the road. I would like to think 99% of people are honest but look at our court systems and jails. We all know better than that.

  42. Kathleen Dugger said

    If you turn a person in for fraud especially a family, what good can come of it?I figured, there has to be too many cases per worker load for the fraud to go unnoticed. I was told by many people if you are honest with the system you will get no help, but if you lie and tell them what they want to hear than you will receive benefits. Reading all that I have read, I find this to be true. When I speak to people on welfare they will eventually tell they are committing welfare fraud and will give you their entitlement speech that goes something along the lines of- “I have kids, so I am entitled to food stamps. I pay more in rent, so I should be getting more. What else am I supposed to do if they are going to lower my food stamps? My only option is to have my husband work under the table or get paid over time under the table.” This is what happens to people when they depend on welfare benefits. They freak out and panic if their benefits drop. They want more and more and more, and will figure out ways to get more. No one is being held accountable for this fraud taking place and until the system starts looking into these cases committing welfare fraud is going to become the norm. By welfare fraud I mean collecting welfare benefit amounts a person is not entitled to due to the fact they are deliberately lying about their monthly income.

    • Bill Davis said

      I wonder if the census takers asked any questions about this kind of thing and have any feel for how many are cheating? I also wonder if there was a larger supply of better paying jobs available if people would feel less justified or less compelled to cheat to eek out a living. Keep in mind, there are a lot of “broken” people out there that most people never see who for lack of a sufficient quantity of God given talents/traits are never going to be able or willing to take care of themselves. You can blame it on upbringing or birthright but there are exceptions to every rule. The question is, do you want to be giving to beggars or be solicited constantly by charities or pay taxes to the extent that people unable to take care of themselves are not living on the street. Do you love a higher power or money? If the answer is money, you are probably never going to be happy. If you live for others, you will be happy with who you are and who you love.

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  44. Fitzy said

    Reblogged this on fitzthegreat3 and commented:
    Reading this blog post has helped me decide what my Writing for Activism project will be on!

    • Cory said

      I’ve got a good one for you. My wifes ex-husband who previous to their divorce worked full time earning $60000+ per year. upon getting separated he decided to quit his job and sell all of their belongings behind her back. Which I thought and was told was illegal. By the time the divorce was final he had started working full time, which his income was about equal to his ex-wifes. The judge ordered that there be no support awarded to either party. Shortly after the divorce he somehow got his old job back but only on a part time basis which allowed him to qualify for food stamps, medical assistance, and whatever else comes with it. 3 years later he decided to work full-time again doing to exact same job he made $60,000+ doing 4 years ago. Now only this time he makes less then $25,000 and still qualifies for welfare. They share 3 kids and she makes $30,000 per year. They same job she’s had for many years. The state now went after my wife to recoup some of the childcare bills he now has because he works full-time. He makes the same amount when working full time as half time somehow. When discussing all of this with the child support worker, her response was, “yeah, that happens a lot”. I was floored. They know about fraud, but they just don’t care. Another response was, “well, it will probably only be $50 a month”. I stressed the fact that not only would she be paying a able bodied man who is obviously scaming the system, but I’m also a tax payer and something should be done about this. I guess she didn’t see things the way I did. Is it a crime to knowingly allow fraud to happen? I’d certainly like to think so.

      Cory
      Wisconsin

      • Cory said

        I meant he worked halftime and not full-time when their divorce was final.

      • A welfare fraud investigator said

        A child care worker probably wouldn’t know how to look into that, even if they were allowed to. He might be getting part of his salary direct deposited to a trust account.

        Report the fraud through the right channel. If you want to get their interest, try to finesse his expenses out of him. Next time your wife is arguing about money with him, she should suggest he doesn’t understand how much she has to pay in rent, car insurance, etc… If you can draw him into a game of one-upsmanship, where he tells her how much he is paying for that stuff, write it down. If you can get enough that it adds up to over $2000 a month, and you provide those numbers, your complaint might look like more than attempt to use social services as a proxy to harass an ex.

        Don’t bother reporting expenses with no paper trail.

  45. Peter said

    This is such a joke. I can tell you that from living in poor areas and seeing my neighbors. Having their husbands live in another apartment because the cost of his rent is less than what she would loose if he were a single mom. Or the amount of “Single Moms” that actually have someone living with them. Of course they do not let the “Investigators” know this. Now that I have gotten a better job and do not live in building where out of 8 adults only 4 worked. Now working as a plumber I still see it, I go to roughly 4 homes a day. And I see how people on government assistance have the heat cranked to 80, because hey they do not pay the bill. There are a bunch of people in the house . all the bedrooms are full. But could they take turns watching kids so others could get a job? Of course not. The house reeks of weed. So they Get section 8 that covers their housing, Plus heating assistance . Plus food stamps and wic. And in Massachusetts you can withdraw some of your food stamp money in cash. “Inspectors” have no incentive for finding people abusing the system. Now if they worked for an Insurance company instead of the government then things would be different because the government is not concerned about Profit margins and don’t care if they under staff the investigating side of things. If you truly believe that only 2% of welfare recipients are scamming the system then you are a moron or probably never spent alot of time around people on welfare. Kinda like the government officials that keep dumping money into this. Set up a bounty program where you can turn in your neighbors for abusing the system. I bet the number of people caught abusing the system would go up then. Bring back the days of the greatest generation where people were ashamed to be on welfare and would take any job available to get off. Now we have people bragging about how they are on welfare.

    • ruggster said

      Great post Peter. It is a shame but the idea that only 2% of the people out there are abusing the system is ridiculous. The idea that the system polices itself with investigators that have no incentives to find fraud is spot on. Likely the investigators avoid calling out fraud for fear of their safety. Could you imagine approaching one of these thieving drug dealing bums and telling them you’re yanking their benefits. They have nothing else to do but wait for you to leave the office and then slash your tires or do whatever. I’m not saying they all would do that but the fear that one would is enough to keep any investigator from doing his job. THe bounty idea is awesome as well. Talk about policing themselves. Most of these guys loyalty goes to the tip of their noses and that is it. They’d drop a dime on their best friend for a quarter.

      • A welfare fraud investigator said

        Intimidation isn’t an issue, because we don’t go to their home to announce that we are taking away their benefits. We just close the case. Or, if it is big enough, we give it to the DA’s office.

        The only time we would tell someone they are in trouble is in a controlled interview enviorment while we are trying to get a confession out of them.

    • Kathleen Dugger said

      They not only brag, but share information on what else you can do to scam the system. Here is what a lot of “single moms” do, they allow their boyfriends to live with them so when the mom has to go to a mandatory job search class he gets paid for babysitting the children. You can get 2.50 an hour for watching children. So a single mom with lets say 3 children can bring in about 7.50 an hour by having their boyfriend watch the kids from anywhere from 20-40 hrs a week. They mail the checks once a month. There is a food program that pays you to feed the children you are watching so for breakfast it is 1.50, same for lunch but dinner is 2.00 this is for every meal plus there is a snack. The food program is called USDA. They pay in check once a month. So a single mom gets foodstamps, welfare check, medical, a check for her boyfriend watching her children, plus a USDA check. I have seen a mom bring in 700 a month for USDA alone and than additional 600 for her boyfriend to watch the kids and if she is on section 8 this is all money in her pocket. So sure they are at home, but they are getting paid for watching children and feeding them, they would consider themselves employed because guess what they can turn around and claim all the money the boyfriend made in for taxes and then bring home another check for Earned Income Credit, child care credit for state taxes. I know this because I also lived in a low income community and they told me all about it and shown me their checks. All you can do is shake your head and damn they have this all figured out.

    • A welfare fraud investigator said

      I think Massachusetts would be violating Federal Law if they let recipients convert foodstamps into cash. Those clients probably have a separate cash benefit.

      Where I work, there is a pretty good incentive to catch fraud. Your likelihood of getting selected for a promotion is pretty directly related to the number of dollars you save or recover for the city.

      Bounties would only make it harder to find complaints with merit amongst the flood of gibberish.

  46. Kathleen Dugger said

    Excuse let me clear something up it is 2.50 per child an hour. The meal amounts are for meals served everyday, so if you serve your children meals 4 times a day than each meal is paid for by USDA. If you get certified to watch children than you can get up to 3.50 per child. I am not sure how many boyfriends are certified though. I have not heard of a boyfriend being certified, but would not say there are not some.

  47. paleangel said

    I can certainly appreciate that the majority of welfare recipients are in need, and I also understand that welfare, disability, and unemployment are different. I have met individuals receiving disability when they were very ablely employable and I have known people that collected unemployment when they were not trying to find work. It is a small percentage who commit fraud but still when you combine these programs 1 billion dollars plus a year could be put to good use. Everyone has heard the cliche 1 bad apple spoils the bunch, so is the case with these programs. The only reform I feel is needed is ensuring those who need help receive it and those who do not, don’t.

    • Peter said

      I believe what I have seen, and what I ave seen is that it is not a small percentage, Its a large one. Pretty much everyone I have ever know that has collected unemployment hasn’t been looking for a job. Also a large portion work under the table while collecting I think its funny that everyone seems to find a job before unemployment ends. I have not seen or know if I have seen many people defrauding disability, but you do see on the news when they catch a fireman out on disability at the gym training for a bodybuilding competition or some such nonsense. but Housing assistance, welfare, food stamps, wic . I have seen more people abusing them than people recieveing them and not lying , cheating , or exaggerating in order to collect or collect more.

  48. Syn said

    I think the percentages are bullshit.
    If they don’t track how the EBT money is spent, how are they calculating a number of those who are committing fraud? It’s not possible.

    • A welfare fraud investigator said

      It is tracked, but transaction would have been declined to begin with if the store wasn’t already misrepresenting the purchase.

      But you’re right. You can only tally the amount of fraud we actually catch.

      • Ruggster said

        In other words, fraud is higher then the 2% that they claim it is. They can only catch 2% so claim that is all there is.

        • A Welfare Fraud Investigator said

          Who are “they”? I think that “2%” cited was a reference to unemployment insurance benefits. UIB is really a non-issue for tax payers, because it is paid into by employers. By my understanding, the issue of eligibility for UIB is usually about whether or not an employee did something to justify termination, but I haven’t worked for any labor departments.

          Any percentage cited is going to vary from locality to locality, getting higher in jurisdictions with concentrated poverty. Even then, a flat statistic is going to be pretty subjective. I think I could probably find some error in over 9 out of 10 applications pulled at random if I had unlimited time to look into each one. But how many of them were deliberate, and how many were honest mistakes? With little discrepancies, there is no way of knowing.

          When I was assigned to review application, where the burden of proof is still on the applicant, I shut down about 1 out of 10 applications. And that was just because I was a little berserk about holding their feet to the fire. I know I didn’t catch everyone. But there were also some that I shut down because they weren’t lying, and the truth made them ineligible.

          I work in a big city that probably has a much higher instance of fraud than average for the country. (A significant portion of our fraud is people from out of town misrepresenting their address, because they know they are more likely to slip through the cracks in the overstressed system). My perception is probably also skewed because I spend more time looking at cases that have already raised some kind of red flag, so I might be inclined to think it happens more often than it does.

  49. [...] [...]

  50. ron said

    you are so fulll of shit….Almost everyone I know that is on welfare and collecting foodstamps do not need it….they are only on it because they make more money than working….so take the free handouts away and make them work…stop breeding laziness

  51. Kathleen Dugger said

    There are some of us poor folk who bust our behinds everyday working over 45 hours a week (not a typo, I meant 45) and still qualify for assistance without committing fraud of any sort. I pay out the behind in rent to keep my family out of the ghettos and the projects. I take care of a child who is disabled also. I am not lazy at all. Sure the government can take away the assistance they provide. Some states have taken away child care assistance, which has caused a lot of people serious pains in the paycheck. I am going to college so I can provide for my family. Times are tough for everyone, and I believe welfare needs to be reformed so people do not get stuck in the system, and so people who do commit fraud pay for their crimes.

    • Bill d. said

      I would agree the reform is needed, but not so much to welfare as healthcare. We pay far to much for insurance which makes labor costs too high in the world market. If we got cost under control more better paying jobs would become available. Replacing PPACA with HR 676 would replace all the jobs lost in 2008.
      I’m glad you’re in college trying your best. Don’t hesitate to take enough time to press and vote for candidates who support single payer.

      • ruggster said

        Why not back up a bit and work on tort reform. Health care costs are what they are because juries hate to see a wealthy doctor and feel that if a doctor makes an error that they should pay above and beyond damages. Doctors and health facility costs skyrocket to pay for their insurance premiums. Work on Tort reform and get juries under control Then healthcare costs will come in line. Try telling that to any politician. They are all lawyers that get rich off these lawsuites. The more they sue, the more insurance costs, the more our healthcare goes up. There are a lot more problems in the US than healthcare, labor costs or welfare fraud. There is an entitlement issue. Everyone feels they are entitled to whatever it is that is out of their reach on their own. No matter what it is. They feel that if someone else has it they should as well. That makes for really jealous people that can’t find happiness in what they have on their own. The poor in this country are rich compared to those in many other areas of the world. If the poor or less fortunate would realize that some things such as cell phones, ipods, cable tv, laptops, internet access, alcohol and cigarettes are not necessity or a right but a perk or a benefit then they would easily dig themselves out of their hole. I can’t tell you the number of people that I have seen come to the hospital I work at getting free healthcare yet I have a hard time keeping their attention due to their distraction from their cellphone, ipod or whatever else they have going on. If you have no money, try going without the extras for a bit. You will live and maybe even thrive without them.

        • Bill d. said

          Studies have shown legal reform would save a drop in the bucket compared to eliminating insurance companies and the administrative costs of dealing with them. Single payer is the answer. I suggest you find an opportunity to watch the Healthcare movie. See a preview at http://www.healthcaremovie.net.

        • hemi49er said

          It is difficult to believe studies that tell us multi-million dollar lawsuits, and the enormous cost of Medical Malpractice insurance necessary due to the litigious nature of our system is only a drop in the bucket. Seems that the folks doing the “studying” have a vested interest.

          While single-payer is not necessarily a bad idea, the problem in our political system is that is is not only unlikely to ever happen, it would cause a cataclysmic loss of jobs. Every “big” solution, be it healthcare, taxes, our military, come with them job losses. Should we eliminate health insurance, the insurance companies would fail, we would see bankruptcy, long-term unemployed professionals, not to mention what it would do to the business of “doctoring”. Some to much of the profit would be gone, and with it the loss of the educational system that is supported by ambitious people desiring to make a good living and willing to commit to the associated debt or cost of education.

          We need to make incremental changes now, and each year, with maybe a 10-20 year goal of single payer, but understanding that we as a society need to survive the shift.

        • Bill d. said

          Those are all valid concerns. I don’t know exactly how to address them myself, but I can recommend you visit http://www.pnhp.org for more information. There are people there who can refer you to articles and research that will explain the transition.
          Were you as concerned about the factories closing for auto workers and suppliers as you seem to be for insurance company employees?
          There’s always good/bad news. Good: everyone would be covered, no ifs ands or buts. Bad: there would be free retraining opportunities for administrative workers at insurance and healthcare companies. Insurance companies wouldn’t go out of business. They are already preparing by buying into care delivery in addition to insurance. There would also be more discretionary family income to spend on other products like better life, auto or homeowners coverage.

        • Bill d. said

          Those are all valid concerns. I don’t know exactly how to address them myself, but I can recommend you visit http://www.pnhp.org for more information. There are people there who can refer you to articles and research that will explain the transition.
          Were you as concerned about the factories closing for auto workers and suppliers as you seem to be for insurance company employees?
          There’s always good/bad news. Bad: there would some employment changes.   Good: everyone would be covered, no ifs ands or buts. There would be free retraining opportunities for administrative workers at insurance and healthcare companies. Insurance companies wouldn’t go out of business. They are already preparing by buying into care delivery in addition to insurance. There would also be more discretionary family income to spend on other products like better life, auto or homeowners coverage. More money to invest in retirement savings products, etc.  

        • ruggster said

          Bill D, you are out of your mind if you think multimillion dollar law suites don’t affect the cost of healthcare. That is the issue with this country. My mother always used to say, “take care of the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves.” We had some friends that used to go to a convenience store for gas and buy a soda and a candy bar, then the Walmart for groceries and buy the kids a little toy for the ride home then see some fan apparel from their favorite sports team and buy that as well all because it was only a few bucks. The guy made the same amount as I did yet was always struggling to make ends meet while my family went on a nice family vacation every year. If we stopped paying out all the little scams, everything would be cheaper. Easy money only inflates prices to everything. If you went to Zimbabwe, a meal may cost you only a few dollars but if you were to go to Dubai, a meal might cost you hundreds. Juries “rewarding” plaintiffs with million dollar verdicts to punish defendants helps only the person that is getting the money and not the rest of us. The hospitals will continue to do what they do but charge others more for the services to make up for that settlement. Show me a study that disproves that and I’ll show you a study written by a democrat. Companies build in an amount to their prices to reflect loss from law suites just like stores build in a percentage to their prices to cover shoplifting. Add up the loss from the healthcare spending due to a lack of tort reform, then throw in welfare fraud, then add up unemployment fraud then throw in the GSA scandal and throw in some pork barrel spending, how about free government grants and then ‘use or lose’ financing for infrastructure repair and a multitude of other spending and then come back and tell me how it is just a drop in the bucket. Any of these on their own is nothing special but them together could run a good sized country. Until we convince our government that all the little spending wastes add up to huge wastes, it will continue to over spend.

        • Bill d. said

          I suppose I would be wasting my time trying to change the mind of an apparent diehard conservative. Consider yourself fortunate you were raised to manage money and self-discipline better than your neighbor.
          If you look for the good or the bad, you will will find it.
          There will always be ignorant and stupid people. We should teach the ignorant and have mercy on the stupid. Judge not, lest ye be judged.

        • ruggster said

          Bill, rather than change the mind of a conservative that thinks waste and fraud is bad, why not work to change the mind of liberals that think waste and fraud is ok? I am all for helping people, I am just not all for people taking advantage of the system and getting a free ride on the backs of those that work hard for a living. I am fortunate that I learned how to manage money but that is something that someone in a bad situation could figure out for themselves. If you’re trying to get out of a hole, does it make any sense to keep digging??? As for the auto workers, I wouldn’t worry much for them as they dug their own graves by not being willing to budge on their wages. They should have gone down with the ships they were sailing rather than being bailed out by us. In the city I live in, cuts had to be made due to the economy. City workers across the board were offered a slight decrease in pay as opposed to cutting actual jobs. They refused to accept that. They thought they won the war until later in the year the city went ahead and cut a bunch of positions to make up for the shortfall. Now the ones that lost their jobs are thinking that compromising would have been a better deal. The auto companies should have been forced to make that harsh decision as well.

        • hemi49er said

          Bill D – I think you may too many assumptions. The healthcare industry is $2+ trillion annually. When you shift the underpinnings of the economic model, you displace millions of workers. The average doctors office has 3 office support staff per 1 doctor just for insurance processing. You are talking about billions in real estate losses from insurance companies and their agents surrendering these properties in many cases. Add to that the healthcare system itself. It cannot skip a day, week, or month of not getting paid. A transition would take years, AFTER the politicians agreed, and again, that WILL NEVER HAPPEN. So back here in reality, we must address what we can each year, and simplification would be one huge thing to address. Why not an industry standard paperwork system so that 1 set of information gets filled out and is instantly shared by all the patients doctors? Why couldn’t an app be build to iPads / tablets for all of this? Why not address the BILLIONS wasted on fraud and abuse and the BILLIONS wasted on frivolous lawsuits? These are actual real things we can address. Another is to block grant the states and get rid of a layer of expensive and worthless federal bureaucracy? These things do not require congress, nor a president, to agree. This simply takes smart people pushing their businesses and local legislatures.

          A single payer system shift without a 10-year cross over would likely make the last recession look like a boom economy.

        • A welfare fraud investigator said

          Health care costs are what they are because the fee based system doesn’t provide enough incentive for preventative care. The purpose of malpractice insurance is to cover the long term expenses created by medical mishap. Limiting those payouts is just going to shift those expenses to disability and welfare.

  52. Bill d. said

    What makes you think liberals condone waste and fraud? I certainly don’t. I’m appalled. Unfortunately, voters aren’t paying attention to who they elect and you can see the result. The corporations own Washington and every state legislature. What too many wealthy, intelligent people don’t get is that gifts to individuals are not equal. They have theirs but have failed to experience or understand people who have not been so gifted.

    • ruggster said

      How about this then. Liberals are generous with other peoples money.

    • hemi49er said

      Bill, you want us to think that liberals don’t condone fraud, waste, incompetence and abuse, but you want us to believe “too many wealthy, intelligent people don’t get is that gifts to individuals are not equal. They have theirs but have failed to experience or understand people who have not been so gifted”?

      Who do you think supports charity, just poor people? Or just liberals? Conservatives are more generous givers as numerous studies have shown (even when liberals try to discount that some of that giving it to their church). C’mon, these “headline” opinions are all kind of silly.

      Certainly being poor is not a choice made by many. Most of my life I have been lower middle class. For a few years I was a six-figure earner. Last 7 years I have lost 7 jobs and watched my wages drop from just over $100k to $231 a week on unemployment. I have sold most of the belongings that I did not lose in my first and second divorces. I am now poor. I qualify for food stamps and since I still have a little money left in my 401k I am paying the early withdrawal fees and paying my own way. I hope to never have to rely on public assistance for food and healthcare. But I am maybe 12 months from that point.

      All that is to say that I understand middle-class, I know basic poor, and I can emphathize with the negative cascade that can occur when you go through life changing events like major health issues, surprise divorce, major job loss (over 50).

      Most of the rich friends that I have had (and I have several very well off friends) are extremely generous. They support mission work here and abroad, the local food and shelter services offered by our church and the city, and most have invested their profits in expansion, adding more capacity, more jobs, being decent people.

      Maybe you just want rich people to be evil since its easier to take shots at them. Most rich folks are not Steve Jobs (former owner of one of the stingiest corporations on earth) or 50cent. Some are evil, selfish, just like some middle class and poor.

      I am extremely suspicious of solutions that always involve other people’s money.

  53. carl bowman said

    Working in Loss Prevention for supermarket chains for the last 18 years I have seen many examples of nearly all the scenerios mentioned above. I have done no studies and can only comment on my area of the country but at least here welfare fraud is both common and rampant.Cards are sold for .50 on the dollar for drug and alcohol money. Supermarkets don’t care and don’t check I.D. because a sale is a sale. Closer monitoring in this area would eliminate a lot of fraud.In addition I believe a lot of misuse would be eliminated by having welfare cards set up like W.I.C. cards are in that instead of getting anything you want with the card you get certain items designed with both nutrition and economics in mind. I can not count the number of times I have seen things like steaks and exspensive seafood being purchased with welfare cards on a Friday or Saturday evening. The standard is sell a card for beer and charcoal, and,surprise, massengill douche money, Another uses their card to get the steaks and ribs with. Instead you should be allowed one chicken, one 5 lb. bag of beans, one bag of apples, one gallon of milk etc.
    Liberalism is the great enabler of people. It allows people to make mistakes without the ramification of consequences.It allows people who make bad decisons to continue to do so with the comfort of knowing someone will step in and leviate the suffering from such bad decisions. Noone owes anyone anything in this world. We are all born naked and we all die alone. It’s the decisions we make in between that make or break us and it isn’t fair for those who made good decisions to have to suffer the bad decisions of others. There are those in which due to circumstances beyond their control such as injury or sickness or mental disability that deserve our sympathy and help. And in such cases I have seen human nature step in and provide help to such people.

    • Kathleen Dugger said

      There would still be people selling food for money because in places like Seattle and San Francisco restaurants would have people sitting in front of a market close by the restaurant with booths set up to look like they are selling stuff. They are actually purchasing people’s Snap benefits from the cards. They go into the market and purchase large bags of beans and what not, so if the government switched the Snap program to a W.I.C. type program than the selling method changes. This time the people sitting out front do not take your card, but purchases the bags of beans and chicken things they were buying for their restaurant anyway. The people still get drug and alcohol money and restaurants still get supplied with food, and fraud will still be committed. Outside of the government ending programs for the poor, I do not see how to stop fraud from happening. I see people selling W.I.C. formula on Craigslist all the time, and baby food.

  54. disgusted said

    A family member of mine just got pregnant on purpose, while unemployed and unwed knowing she would be able to collect WIC and Welfare. I find it absolutely infuriating. She is 36 lives in her parents’ basement with her boyfriend of a few months. She’s currently taking out student loans for online “grad school.” This doesn’t fall under the category of fraud, but it certainly falls under despicable, and not at all a good quality for a parent.

  55. [...] when you look at the actual numbers and find less than 2% of those on Welfare abusing the system (http://spritzophrenia.wordpress.com/2011/01/04/how-bad-is-welfare-fraud-in-the-usa/); most go back into the tax base and prove that the programs essentially work. The point is that [...]

  56. Reblogged this on Reynolds Performance and commented:
    Wonderful blog discussing the effects of Welfare fraud in America, that looks at the statistics, facts and more importantly why people really should take the time to investigate and understand what is going on in American Politics.

  57. You’re not a “stay at home mom” or a “single mom”; : you’re a selfish; irresponsible; worthless; welfare whore who has a baby(ies) even though you can’t afford to support one on your own.

  58. Where I live, the poor have babies on purpose, so that they can move out of their parents house and get a free apartment; free food; free utilities; free education training classes; and sometimes, a free car and free insurance.

    Then, they just keep having babies so they can receive more welfare. And, they call themselves “stay at home moms” and “proud parents” on their Facebook pages (which they are on, 8 hours per day). You’re not “stay at home moms”.. you’re welfare whores, and they have no shame whatsoever.

    It’s a “lifestyle” for them and they hope to live until 60 on total welfare; NEVER having to work.

  59. TIP OF THE ICEBERG / WELFARE MOMS KNOW ALL THE SCAMS: They have no shame.

    They pop out baby after baby; party like rock stars; fraudulently sell their food stamps for party money; live for free in HUD housing; fraudulently file for the Earned Income Tax Credit; ENROLL IN COLLEGE and then drop out, so that they can get a refund of their student loan money and Pell Grant money (THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS).

    The colleges are all in on it, because they keep 20% of the money, but the welfare moms don’t care–it’s free money. They NEVER plan, or are forced, to pay back the Student Loans… and the Pell Grant money does not have to be paid back.

    My neighbor makes more than I do and she has NEVER WORKED. She gets over $1000 a month from the Government and then gets the EIC and $1,000 more from the Student Loan scam ever year. I reported her and NOTHING ever happens.. NEVER.

    And on top of all of this, they love to state that they are “single moms” so people will help them out and feel sorry for them.

    When free turkeys and food are handed out, they bring several changes of clothes and get 5+ packages of support–then sell them to the working people at their welfare complex.

    They also hit up all the local churches and food pantries for more free stuff, which they sell.

  60. These selfish, baby-factory, non-working; welfare-for-life mothers that continue to pop out these unsupervised punks, are the major problem.

    They pop out baby after baby; party like rock stars; fraudulently sell their food stamps for party money; live for free in HUD housing; fraudulently file for the Earned Income Tax Credit; ENROLL IN COLLEGE and then drop out, so that they can get a refund of their student loan money and Pell Grant money (THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS).

    Free-loading, wanting to live for free, baby-factory women are the problem. Seriously. AND THEY KNOW ALL THE SCAMS TO GET MONEY OUT OF THE SYSTEM.

    Right now, there isn’t any disincentive for them NOT to have children.

    They love it and have no shame about it. Their moms did it; their friends do it; MTV puts you on a show for doing it; etc.

    If they were made to work 10 hours of community service, per week, per kid (paint over graffiti; pick up trash; clean up abandoned yards etc.) then they would stop having kids.

    Yes they would, because they are so lazy and so use to doing nothing and living for free, that they would b*tch up a storm if they had to actually do something.

    And if they didn’t do it, they go to jail–same as if a guy doesn’t pay child support.

    And don’t fall for their excuses: I am too fat to do community service; My babies are NOT going to be in daycare! (they love to use this excuse, because it makes them appear to be a caring parent and it also gives them an excuse not to work); I can’t work because I’m pregnant (and they are 2 weeks pregnant–women in India work right up to giving birth, and then are back to work 2 weeks later).

    And, make the 10 hours per kids retroactive to the life-long welfare mommas.

    You’ve live completely for free for 20 years, and still have 3 kids in the house under 18? Well, honey…you owe the State a few THOUSAND hours of community service. You don’t do it–you go to jail and your kids go to foster care.

    IT’S THE ONLY WAY TO MAKE THEM STOP POPPING OUT BABIES.

    As it is right now, a girl can have a baby at 12 and never work until she’s about 60-65 years old!!!
    As long as she keeps children in her house.

    Believe me, this is what many are doing. It’s all about getting THE FREE RIDE OFF OF THE TAXPAYERS.

  61. JB said

    There are many reason that people commit welfare fraud. I was told by DCSS themselves that they go by the “honor system”. No one is screened. No investigations are done unless someone else provides them the evidence. That state of California hasn’t prosecuted a fraud case in years. I think the BIggest reason for welfare fraud is the whole lose-lose system of child custody. If you lose custody of a child you are then “punished” by having to support the victor. Perhaps there was a justifiable reason for supporting a man or woman 100 years ago, but not today. If the legal system changes so that the children were not the pawns that parents HAD to fight for in order to keep their earnings, then you would have a system that allowed for the parent who truly wanted the children to fight for them on the basis that they could better support them. The loser’s could then feel like at least they could go off and rebuild their lives again (and not at the expense of the other parent). This would also give the “loser” more leverage in getting to see their children if they wanted, because it would lead to more amicable forms of negotiations. My husband lives on a street where the houses are over 1 million dollars. There are several families receiving welfare after their adult children moved back in with them (which is not legal). My husband learned from these folks that as long as you have a business that shows no income you qualify. So my husband and these folks have several businesses that they shuffle money between. When you try to explain to a judge that $-300,000 means money spent vs. their idea that the money never existed you see the look of confused deer.

  62. john said

    It is extremely bad. Look what people will do for money in any case, of course folks will abuse this system. I married a girl from a poor working class family. Her folks are good people but her sister is a welfare queen!

    Where do I start? Pointless spending is all this woman does, ya know why? Because most people on welfare have extra money! But these folks aren’t the kind of people who would rather put their hard earnings making there house, yard, or community better. These folks aren’t the type to save money either and strangely never know what its like to ration food!

    “Man I”m so tired of eating roman noodles, I wish I was poor so I could eat lobster and steak.” That’s actually true to say in the United States.

    Welfare promotes bad eating habits, kids not finishing all the food or eating only little debbie snacks. Welfare causes people to settle for a low wage. (just the women of course, ie Walmart)

    My wife’s sister parties EVERY weekend, drinks like a fish, they just bought a new truck and oh yes is it a gas guzzler. She throws candy in her kids faces just so they shutup. And their house is like walking into a sunken ship.

    Welfare does encourage laziness, mostly because the folks on it are like this to begin with.

    Years ago they convinced us about getting it, and we did…oops, but its so freaken easy. I feel bad for doing it however we hit a really rough time with two babies and college unfinished. But now my wife’s out of school and we tore it up, only having it for a few of months. I was able to save a 1000 dollars! How much money did we get? Around 500 bucks a month for two kids and it rolls over what you don’t spend. And you can but anything lobster, t-bone steaks even energy drinks. It helped out, our bills were paid, and even money saved (not spent on like rims or horses, welfare folks usually do), but this was only while my wife was looking to start her career.

    Honestly its not a bad system if its ONLY used to get someone back on their feet. But for years and years to have it, com’on!….and these husbands married to these women that abuse it for that long popping out little gremlin after gremlin, you are not real men and you know it.

    So yes people do abuse it I would suspect 8 out of every 10 don’t truly need it or have been on it for WAY too long!

  63. Bill Davis said

    I found this article I thought some here might find interesting.

    http://anitra.net/homelessness/columns/anitra/eightmyths.html

  64. tommy said

    Its not the money that’s the issue, it is what it’s doing to families, teaching all the wrong values!

    You obviously haven’t seen up close some folks who are on the program, yes its good ONLY if you truly need it!

    I too know a woman she has 5 kids, 2 of them have part time jobs, the husband makes 70,000 a year (they act divorced) and she works at a daycare, your basic small Texas town.

    Their worries are a lot less than most families call it winning the free medical for kids and free food lottery.

    700 bucks a month for groceries that rolls over along with FREE medical and dental! I’m just glad they find the money to own 8 horses, food, care $$$ etc.

    The way she watches her kids is nothing to how parents should after all medical is free, as for teeth eat all the candy you want cause dental is free, groceries eat all the crap food you want forget about making family meals I get free money and I’m a selfish greedy person.

    Guys welfare fraud is real many of people abuse it, and (usually the woman) does not better herself otherwise she would loose those benefits. They also pop out kids like crazy as for my wife and I, I had to get a FREAKEN vasectomy! BECAUSE KIDS ARE SUPPOSE TO BE EXPENSIVE!

    In this world of overpopulation you guys have got to change ya’lls attitude about welfare. I would say 3 out of 4 abuse it easily.

    The only people it benefits are company owners and walmart but not the country…look its an okay program if its used to get a person back on their feet and thats all. These horse owners have been on it for 15 years!

    I know them through school they invite me to their welfare backyard barbeques…I go cause they always have a bunch of food most of the time they trow it away what’s left, why save a leftover when food is FREE! Anyway they told me all about it… if they weren’t so ignorant of people I would of turned them in.

    Go to a small Texas town pick out that slightly trashy family that owns horses and I will bet you my life they are on welfare and DO NOT NEED IT! wake up people its real!

    • Bill Davis said

      it appears from your post that you haven’t absorbed the other articles in this blog that showed that welfare fraud is not 75% as you suggest, but less than 2%.

      • ruggster said

        Bill D, at the very least you should clarify that the 2% fraud that you mention is reported by the very agencies that depend on the money to keep coming in. Statistics from an agency that polices itself is not exactly reliable data. If you give people the chance to cheat the system, they will. Look at the speed limit on the roads. In my state, the speed limit on the interstate is 65. I travel it daily and even drive about 5 miles an hour over yet am one of the slower vehicles on the road. I would dare say that at least 50% of the drivers break or stretch the law. The article says ‘Ninety-eight out of one hundred welfare recipients you meet are honest people’. At the very least they’re getting assistance on false pretenses. Assistance is meant to be a last resort. Many of these people continue to enjoy the extras in life on the dime of the tax payers. Smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, doing drugs, cable TV, internet, cell phones, lap tops, dinner out….. I could go on…. but I think my point is clear. If I couldn’t pay my bills, I would be cutting the fat until I could. I don’t think that a person should go completely native but trimming expenses is a definite must.
        So, preface your 2% with the fact that that number is gathered from information that is generated from a biased source. Keep in mind that the original discussion regarding this topic mentioned the number of fraud investigators looking into allegations being a number that was way too small considering the number of cases. They mentioned the UK having 5,800,000 people on unemployment alone and 3,000 fraud investigators could only find about 1% of fraud. That means that each work day each one of those investigators would be required to look at a minimum of one case an hour…. And that is just for the unemployment cases. It is interesting that the article mentions an LA Times report that estimated 24% of applications contained fraud. That article was blown off by you but every time someone suggests that the number is higher, you repeat the 2% number. I believe the actual number is somewhere between 2 and 24%.

        • Bill D said

          It’s not up to me to clarity anything I don’t see the need to comment on. I saw Tommy say he thought 3/4 of people on welfare were cheaters. I suggested that the number was under 2%. That may be low, but is quoted elsewhere. If you want details, dig for them yourself. You are also mixing welfare with unemployment. People on unemployment, if they lie to qualify, are not committing welfare fraud. The programs are not related. One running out of unemployment benefits my take the next step to welfare. Hopefully, they will find work in spite of the Wall Street forces that have shipped so many jobs offshore.in their relentless quest for higher corporate profits.

        • ruggster said

          Of coarse Bill, you only see the need to clarify things when a comment is contrary to your beliefs. No, the 2 programs are not connected directly but they definately are related. They are both social programs that people use to get money to assist them financially. Try to explain to the rest of us how they are not related. It is funny that you point out that they are not related though because the unemployment numbers are what the original article used to suggest welfare fraud was so low. Go to the 3rd and 4th paragraph. I don’t need to dig for details because there have been enough comments on this board to suggest that welfare fraud is pretty high. Is that not clear to you? As for Wall Street shipping jobs overseas…. that is their deal. Why would they stay here and pay increasingly higher taxes when they can go elsewhere and pay a fraction? Rather than encourage these companies to go overseas, why not make it attractive for them to stay here. Staying here would mean jobs for people that would otherwise be on unemployment. It seems to me that the government would prefer to have people dependant upon them rather then to see them prosper.

  65. tommy said

    also my wife and I already have two kids, and those who aren’t familiar with horses basically the only people that own them these days usually have money. Things like feed, care, land it will cost most families far too much to own horses, and yet these people on welfare do and not just one but eight! wow wake up america and whats the point turning them in its gonna happen somewhere else, and ya’ll know what families do it the most here in Texas and easily easily get away with it.

    • Bill Davis said

      That’s an interesting story. Have you bothered to call a fraud hotline on them? Have you asked how it is they qualify for the benefits they draw? Don’t you think it’s a shame that some will risk committing fraud just to get healthcare benefits? Others will not take a better paying job to avoid losing their healthcare benefits. That’s how the system keeps people down. If everyone had access to care they need without paying out of pocket every time, they would be free to make all the money they could. They would pay taxes for medicare according to their income. See ww.pnhp.org and healthcare-now.com.

      • Kathleen Dugger said

        It is easy to say call the fraud hotline, but what do you say? How much information do you need to report the fraud? And would you have to testify against this person if it came down to it? I know if you report animal abuse they want you to testify should it go that far. With Social Security there are people who take pictures, what do they do with welfare fraud? What evidence do you need? Is word of mouth enough or hearsay for that matter enough to get an investigation started? Just curious what the steps are and how involved does an anonymous person have to go before they are taken seriously on a fraud case.

        • Bill d. said

          Those are all good questions, Kathy. I’m it varies by state if not county. I don’t know many people who have collected government benefits outside of unemployment. I would hope that if a citizen is concerned about fraud, they would at least be willing to search for the number and see what the process entails. Some communities have tv stations that have “Crime stoppers” hotlines that could be called anonymously.

  66. Kathleen Dugger said

    In a lot of states before your family can receive cash assistance you have to show that you do not qualify for unemployment benefits first or have exhausted your unemployment benefits. A family makes so much more money working than they do on public assistance. Cash assistance has a 5 year lifetime limit. It does not matter if you collect 5 dollars a month or 700 it all adds up to the 5 year mark, and all the states are connected so the 5 year limit follows you. I would check poverty levels before assuming a family is cheating the system. The poverty level changes every year or every couple years. The Affordable Health Care Act might help families who feel the need to fraud the system for health care. It is easy to look at the lady using food stamps while she has a phone, but what you might not know is that she needs that phone in order to find a shelter for her kids because if you do not check in every day you will lose your spot on the waiting list. They need to call you if a spot opens for you. There are programs for connecting people to services and you need a phone in order for them to find you. There is a network for homeless/poverty families and if they have no phone their lives a billion times harder. Bus passes and a cell phone is a necessity for families that are living in poverty. Being poor and poverty stricken is a full time job an if you were ever in that situation you know what I am saying. Now once you understand this than understanding why and how fraud happens is easier to understand. Fear of losing everything is a driving force behind fraud, I think.

  67. sylwia said

    If you want to investigate the most welfare fraud, check out these counties in chicagoland, CHICAGO, COOK, KANE, LAKE, DUPAGEand WILL. You will not get any help investigating here. I bet there is more welfare fraud and discrimination in these counties than anywhere in the country. I live in Chicagoland called chi town, in the state of Illinois, Also called Obamaland because the president was a state senator here, than he was a federal senator here, he and Jessie Jackson Jr who is the state’s federal senator now and is the son of Jessie Jackson – the civil rights leader. Jackson went onto to treatment for bi-polor disorder so he could use insanity as a defense because he is under investigation for fraud, buying his senator seat, that is what our governor Ryan went to jail for, crime is common in chicgoland the jails and prisons are over crowed with inmates sleeping on the kitchen and hallway floors, so a person has to steal a lot to get incarcerated here and our government people are lying and stealing to. Ever since Obama and Jackson got in office tens of thousands of MUSLIMS & AFRICANS came to Illinois and they were put on welfare benefits- FOOD FUNDS, HEALTH INSURANCE,TANF, MEDICAID, SOCIAL SECURITY, HUD SECTION 8 HOUSING, AND MANY OTHER WELFARE BENEFITS. Also many were given government jobs. Also many were given businesses like gas stations and hotels and while they receive all the welfare benefits. I went to high school with many kids parents who lived like this. Illinois has many ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS and they receive welfare benefits and work for cash. There is massive discrimination here, many caucasians were cut off benefits and taken off housing and made homeless. Most of the east side and west side of cook county are receiving welfare. Illinois medicaid system is 3 billion dollars in debt- one reason Illinois has all kids-medicaid health insurance which means all kids have medicaid even illegal immigrant children, so they keep coming. The defrauders and Illegals are bankrupting the system. Obama care is mostly in minority and muslim neighborhoods, it is very hard to find a doctor in other neighborhoods with Obamacare. Also in black, muslim and hispanic neighborhoods they have free transportation, door to door taxi service included with their Medicaid. CHICAGOLAND is in COOK COUNTY and it is in 142 billion dollars of debt more than the whole state of Illinois and more than many other states, cook county jail in Chicago is the largest in the country and many inmates are on government welfare, food funds, medicaid, unemployment etc The gang members have welfare benefits and they deal drugs and guns and kill people because you can get welfare benefits here no matter how many felonies you have. I think the report is so wrong there is a lot more defrauders. Inmates in jail and prison in this state receive unemployment they just have someone out of the jail call it in every week, Many mothers are married living with the father of the children on welfare and then he claims them on his taxes and receives a tax refund on the same children that are on welfare. I know a girl from another country with five kids that receives welfare-tanf,snap,all kids medical, energy assistance,federal student aid, student loans and she owns a Chrysler 300, a house, a boat, a business and lots of gold Jewelry. She regularly buys illegal drugs, alcohol, cigarettes and plays games at the casinos. The research is out of touch there is massive defraudment and if it is not stopped it will bankrupt Medicaid, Medicare, food funds and even the whole nation. A lady won millions from the lotto in Illinois and someone told that she was still on welfare and spending her food funds. Millions of illegals have illegal bushiness in Illinois and receive welfare illegally, they own business such as cleaning, lawn car, tree service,auto mechanic, sculptured nails, styling hair, selling sex. Millions of mothers and fathers are defrauding the system many are married and they lye and say that they are not, many have the father of children living with them and he is working and claiming the children on his taxes and the mother has the same children on welfare benefits. Father’s have health insurance for the kids at work and the mother has medicaid for them, There is massive defraudment in the Medicaid health care for children, millions have their children on Medicaid while the dad has them on his insurance at work but of course they do not reveal this to the welfare case worker, if the gvovernment ever investigates it will uncover massive defraudment in all benefit programs and if they cut these people off and sue them, they can pay off the deficient. I work and pay payroll taxes and medicare but I know many young women that do not and they defraud the system thousands of dollars a year and they get their nails manicured, they gamble at casinos, get tattoos and breast implants, get thier hair styled at salon,buy expensive perfumes, buy and consume illegal drugs, buy alcohol and cigarettes, smoke dope, go on vacations and they do not even work and eat the most expensive foods like steaks, seafood, and gourmet chocolates.They also buy designer clothes and spend a lot on entertainment. I bet everyone reading this and and commenting on here know someone that is defrauding. Come on tell the truth the government lets the people away with it, they do not investigate people go to welfare office in expensive autos, they are so bold now. If you want to defraud government welfare programs, sell drugs and guns and your an illegal immigrant or fugitive come to Chicagoland, you’ll love it and if you want the whole country to be this way vote for Obama.

  68. sylwia said

    Also, i resent the term you used lazy welfare mom, some are lazy welfare fathers to, do not just use the term mothers, you are saying it is only mothers, WRONG. There are fathers to, that receive welfare and do not work and their are fathers that work for cash and receive welfare, MILLIONS OF DEADBEAT FATHERS OWE TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN CHILD SUPPORT and they have to be ten thousand dollars behind in Illinois before a warrant is issued for their arrest, so most are nine thousand and nine hundred and ninety nine dollars behind, they just pay a dollar a month so they won’t have a warrant issued out on them and even if they do, there are thousandths of warrants out over 40,000 in cook county every month, and it will be years before they get to you. So then the child is an adult and still did not receive their child support. Men make the rules and control this country they discriminate against women and children. Another issue, most of the people receiving welfare that do not work, are the ones in government housing, monthly welfare payments called Tanf are not enough to pay rent a parent only receives about 100 dollars per person and that does not even buy monthly diapers.Cheapest one bedroom in Chicagoland is 750 a month. I never met a person who was really a single parent that did not work, single parents cannot even rent a place to live on just Tanf benefits, people are so out of touch and ignorant to what is really going on, Adults are stealing the future from their children by stealing their child support and welfare benefits this next generation is going to be very angry because their needs were not met. All people receiving welfare should be checked for drug and alcohol abuse before they get their benefits, people who receive benefits should not be allowed to smoke cigarettes either, so they need to check for nicotine to. Parents are using Tanf and snap benefits to buy drugs, alcohol and cigarette instead of things the children need like food. Welfare began as a program that punishes women for not being with a man but the women beat them at their own game and they are with the man that they want to be with and are still getting benefits, it back fired on the male chauvinist that created it. THE WHOLE PROGRAM NEEDS TO BE REFORMED AND I KNOW HOW TO DO IT. Raise the minimum wage to a living wage, rise the poverty level from about 7,000 a year to 16,000 for one person. Elimanate the marriage tax. Cut off all defrauders and sue them, take their tax returns every years until the government is paid back. There really is no such thing as a single parent it takes two the sperm and egg, so the government needs to make more laws to get support from parents, cut off their cable and internet, do not allow them to buy alcohol, cigarretts, put them in jail and force them to work to pay for child support, there are jobs people do not want to do, do not let the parent eat in jail if they do not work. In fact do not let any parent eat if they do not pay their child support, Not taking care of your children because you do not want to not that you cant should be a class x felony but no millions of parents get away with not paying child support and neglecting their children, why are their so many gangs most of them are teenagers where is their fathers, abandoning your child should be class x felony. There are too many selfish parents these days that want to get high,drunk and laid and do not want to take care of their children. Welfare is just the consequence of child neglect. There would be little welfare if parents paid their child support.

    • Kathleen Courtney said

      I agree with a lot you have written, but there are some problems with your solution. If minimum wage is increased to liviable wages then the cost of everything else will go up, for example rent, food and gas. Plus, more companies will not hire because the cost would be too high. Companies are in business for profit if they do not make money here than know for a fact they will go to another country that has cheap labor. Now imprisoning people and forcing them to work for child support is a great idea, but than the system would not stop there. They would than lock up people for any number of reasons and force cheap labor out of them. Prisons are becoming privaticized, so I am little concerned how that would work out in the end. Withholding food is inhumane and America is all ready known for being inhumane now with not offering healthcare to their citizens; I can’t imagine how the world would react if we started withholding food too. I do believe making parents who do not care for their kids a felon might change these deadbeat parents decisions on disappearing and not paying.

      ________________________________

      • ruggster said

        Kathleen, I’m not sure who you’re talking to to hear that America is inhumane to not provide healthcare to its citizens but I have never heard that before. I think we do a pretty good job of taking care of our citizens. The poor in this country are much better off than the well to do in many other countries. One of the issues here is that the truth is stretched a bit then repeated as the new truth until the story only partially represents the truth. Please don’t carry that on.

        • Kathleen said

          I read the news paper and watch the news maybe the news is lying maybe not. I also watch public television documentaries also. I know the article I am going to share is a year old, but it is still something to think about. How countries treat their citizens says a lot. Granted other countries do not offer as much, but we need to look at the overall picture. Education, jobs, access to healthcare are all very important things when discussing welfare. Anyway here is something to check out on where I get some of my information about our healthcare system.

          http://articles.latimes.com/2011/oct/18/news/la-heb-us-healthcare-20101018

        • Bill d. said

          Kathleen certainly is more on the ball than you, ruggster. Our healthcare non-system serves Wall Street, not patients. Have you seen Sicko or the Healthcare Movie? Give them a try.

        • ruggster said

          Bill, where do I start with you? You obviously do not see the big picture. You will fight for healthcare, higher wages and welfare for all, amnesty for illegal immigrants and tax the hell out of the rich to fund it all. You don’t understand how this all works together. The real problem with this is greed. We have taken the American Dream and turned it into a reality for all no matter who they are or what they do. It becomes a game of give and take until the numbers are so skewed that it makes no sense. To fix the problems that the US has is a lot more than free healthcare or welfare. It is a TOTAL change in attitude of everyone and holding every one accountable. People have no respect for others in this country. When one guy makes a mistake on his welfare paperwork and gets more than he should, rather than report it, and get what he really is entitled to, he tells his buddy who thinks I’ll make the same error and get a bit more as well. When one guy is getting unemployment and simply can’t find a job and learns that the checks will continue for years, many times they’ll wait until the last minute to even start looking for work. When people stop thinking What can my government do for me and start thinking what can I do for my country, then we’ll get back on the right track. But denying that there is a problem and suggesting that the answer to everything is taxing the rich is just plain stupid. So, if throwing more money in the pot is stupid, then the other solution is to get our spending under control. One way to do that is to make sure we’re not wasting money through fraud. ANY FRAUD! Even 1%.
          As for Kathleen being more on the ball…. I doubt that is the case(not that she isn’t an intelligent person). The only reason you think she is on the ball is because she agrees with you. I can tell you that I have done my research and do know what I am talking about. You can pretend all you want that I’m some sort of idiot redneck but you would be wrong. I may not be as eloquent a speaker as you but I doubt you understand the economics of this any more than I do.
          I care about the poor and the not so well off but as a realist, I know that we have a duty to make choices for ourselves and that if we make poor choices and suffer the consequences, so be it. Too many times I see people on welfare that smoke(at 7 bucks a pack) drink, eat out often and carry the best phones and drive the hottest cars when better choices would be to dump the smokes, dry out, eat in, suffer without being able to text your friends that you just went to the mall and drive a beater with good gas mileage. (And I am far from suggesting that all welfare recipients do this but enough do that it makes it worth telling)

  69. joe said

    This is bullshit. I know people that do it and i see signs of people doing this. Collecting welfare cause they have no legal source of income. Yet illegal drug sales, robbery and other criminal acts are done to make money. Thats fraud. Your telling government you have no money yet you sell crack! I know that stupid study doesnt factor that into the equaition. If it did trust me there would be a bunch of fraud cases found. Lazy asses get a job. You cant afford kids dont have them! I work 2 jobs to get by. I wanna save for my future. I have put having kids on back burner. A lot of you lazy asses need to do the same. Be a man or woman take pride in taking care of yourself. Dont be weak adepend on government to take care of you. I have more respect for people who do. People who need assistance are weak and are nothing more than peasants dependant on their king (government )

    • Bill d. said

      Brrrrr, it’s cold in here today. If you have to have two jobs to get by, did it occur to you that neither pays enough? Or you could offer one to someone looking for a job. If you’ve always been fortunate enough to find a job, then you’ve never learned what it is like to be unable to find a job. Wall street gas sucked the air out of the middle class. The solution is to throw out the crooks in Washington and wall street to provide jobs to more instead of huge sums to those running our economy like a crime syndicate only legally, but certainly not morally.

    • Kathleen said

      I agree people should take more pride in taking care of themselves, but to think so poorly upon people who are down on their luck is not very considerate. People need to humble themselves a little more in order to have some compassion for those who are less fortuante. I understand wanting to be thankful for what you have in your life, but to think so little of those who are experiencing a hardship is uncaring. More people should take charge of their lives, but not everyone knows how. A lot of people on welfare are experiencing depression, hopelessness and do not know where to begin changing their lives. Instead of offering bitter thoughts and disapproving glances try offering a word of hope or encouraging words. Plus a job lead in a polite way instead of thinking they are worthless.

  70. thomas said

    welfare to my wife and me and we’re tax paying citizens is the most abused program ever divised by our government.

    • Bill D said

      Whether or not you’re one of the conservatives in our midst, that is what the conservatives want you to believe. Whether or not it’s true is another issue.

      • ruggster said

        Whether or not you’re one of the liberals in our midst, the liberals would have you believe that only a mere 1% of welfare recipients receive benefits fraudulently. Whether or not that is true is another issue.

  71. Tommy said

    I did turn them in and nothing ever happens. I’ve heard once your on the program its hard to get the people off. If some of ya’ll only knew these people and all the others who do…you would be amazed on the numbers of ones that don’t need it.

    And the hobbies they can do while on WELFARE. oh boy it must be nice to be “poor”

    Put it this way when my wife, kids and I want to eat good we go over to their house. And I mean there is everything on the grill, they even buy steaks for their dog! lol oh man I can’t believe folks are this blind. I can’t believe I was until just recently.

    This use to be me “So who cares its not that much money anyway, just look at their house and yard its messy, it just screams poor.”

    This is me now “You mean they get that much, Wait what everything medical is free! It doesn’t cost them a dime to have another child AND they get more money from that too! You mean their house looks like that cause they are lazy. You mean they are out partying instead of working on their house or jobs! You MEAN THOSE KIDS WASTE FOOD AND THE PARENTS DON’T CARE CAUSE ITS FREE! You mean the wife all she does is spend money like crazy cause she doesn’t know the value of a dollar and never has truly gone hungry like some folks who aren’t on the program do!

    YOU MEAN YOU DON’T HAVE TO SHOW PROOF THE WOMAN IS DIVORCED OR SEPARATED! YOU MEAN THEY DON’T CHECK UP ON YOU AND THE CHILDREN! YOU MEAN MY WIFE AND I HAVE TO GAUGE TAKING OUR KIDS TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM CAUSE ITS SO FREAKEN EXPENSIVE WHILE SOME DEAD BEAT PARENT CAN TAKE THEM ON A COUGH OR COLD AND NOT HAVE ANY WORRIES OF MISSING A BILL THAT MONTH!

    YOU MEAN…you get the idea”

    I have changed only because I saw with my own eyes everything I mentioned and there is more.

  72. Tommy said

    Wait what!? 5 year expiration on welfare or cash benefits. HA HA HA what boloney! These people have been on it since their first child! She is 16 now they just recently cut the food stamps down from 900 a month (5 kids) to 700 to 600 where it is now……………….so maybe that’s what you meant to say I dunno.

    And oh since the dad pretends to be separated he ALSO will count 2 or 3 kids under him for taxes (that extra 1,000 bucks per child) and the wife will pick up the rest. Remember they are separated and this is in Texas. Maybe the laws here towards welfare fraud aren’t as harsh? Well they should be, we may have a nice economy but wages here stink and I think welfare is the reason why.

  73. S. CARTER FULCHER said

    Selling your food stamps for cash is fraud.Selling your ten care drugs to fund your other habits is fraud.Having five different kids by five different daddy’s just to get bigger checks and more foodstamps is fraud and abuse.I work in a school and we send backpack of food home with kids each weekend so they will get have something to eat.We have even had tto tell kids to hide it because their parents took it.I get mouthing for free and I am tired of them having better clothes,shoes,food,medical care

    • Kathleen said

      If they have better clothes and food than they are not drug users nor are they selling their food stamps. If you have to hide the kid’s food, how do they have better food than you? A poverty stricken family has more than a family that works? I hardly doubt that considering the entire picture of what a poverty stricken family faces every month. Selling food stamps is fraud for sure. The person buying food stamps needs to be prosecuted also,

      • ruggster said

        I think that she is suggesting that there are more than one set of families that are doing this. I imagine that there are peole that are accepting food stamps that sell them to buy drugs, cigarettes or alcohol or maybe even go out to eat without the kids but not buying food for the kids to eat. Many drug users think of no one but themselves. they figure that if the kid eats at school at least once a day, they’ll be fine not realizing that a lack of nutrition can affect a child later in life. They’re just not real bright people. A couple of years ago there was a local news story about food stamp recipients buying bottled water by the case with food stamps then dumping the water in the parking lot to return it for a 5 cent deposit. More recently, there have been reports of people buying milk at the grocery store from local dairy farms with food stamps. The milk comes in glass bottles and have a 1 dollar deposit. They then dump the milk and get their buck back. We’re not exactly talking about smart people, just devious and willing to waste a dollar to make a dime.
        One of the frustrating things people find with defenders of these welfare programs is that anytime it is brought to your attention in a story like hers, you automatically look for a way to dismiss it or to call into question her honesty. There are several defenders posting here and dozens of people that are presenting their examples of fraud that they have seen yet the same response is given suggesting that the whole story is not known or that the story sounds fishy. You’re right. The whole story isn’t known. It is likely worse. If after hearing all these examples and you still don’t believe there is a problem, you’re not paying attention.

  74. [...] can someone do? Well if say you know somene “selling” FoodStamps or Welfare Fraud turn them in.Use google to find how to do this online. Just like what happened to a Floridia [...]

  75. GET REAL said

    You guys are not understanding. Its so easy to say they are poor and have nothing. However you would be surprised who is on welfare! Too many who do not NEED it. Turning someone online is too easy and doesn’t work….

    http://www.ucowf.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=107&Itemid=65 or here

    https://oig.hhsc.state.tx.us/WafRep/

    Look guys I’m not against poor people and I can’t stand the way poor folks have been treated lately like my wife since we live in a double wide (but its nice and so is our yard!) can’t say the same to those abusing welfare. I hate conservatives and that whole redneck agenda.

    Look I didn’t know it was real either till I married my wife and saw her family and extended family members all abuse it and make either the same as my wife or more. My wife makes 30 bucks too much a month to be on welfare lol otherwise we would act divorce and do the same thing! might as well right…everyone else is

    These people are family and my name isn’t Tommy, get real folks please our country needs it! We need a website that will post the name of the recipient after 5 years of use..with this fraud will decrease! Simply because most folks that are abusing it are social with those who do not. It will work.

    Go to any small town in Texas walk into a HEB and see for yourself and oh it may help if you go on the first of the month. Sometimes they will have TWO carts full. wow unfreakenbelievable

    Now there house will look poor and thats just because they don’t care to take care of it instead people like that are always visiting others instead of staying home. 90% of kids on welfare do not do good in school. Yes I know hate me but its true.

    • ruggster said

      Its funny to see you type that you hate conservatives yet you’re belief sets are of a conservative nature. Did you grow up in a liberal household and you took on what your parents suggested you were? Many people think they’re liberal until they talk with a conservative and find out they are conservative as well. The problem is that the media has portrayed being a conservative as a bad thing and many people don’t want to be associated with that bad thing. If you think people should work for what they get and that once you get something, you should be able to keep your fair share…. you’re a conservative.

  76. L P Boston said

    Have spent an inordinate amount of time looking for an authoritative dollar amount of welfare fraud in US. Some comfort in reading that you did not find such a figure but disappointment with not having a figure for blog post I am working on for http://www.yourvoteyourreason.com. Went in circles at Office of Management and Budget and on sites produced by Google. Modified search terms several times. Found interesting false claim at factcheck.org: http://www.factcheck.org/2010/05/a-mythical-florida-mom-and-other-false-claims-about-immigrants/. Illustration of point made in your pages about unreliability of anecdotal reports.

  77. [...] *-*One researcher who did extensive digging didn’t find definite results but estimated that about 2% of claims are fraudulent. Similar range appeared elsewhere. (Could be 200 million +?) http://spritzophrenia.wordpress.com/2011/01/04/how-bad-is-welfare-fraud-in-the-usa/ [...]

  78. Penelope said

    Hi there, I read your blogs regularly. Your writing style is awesome, keep up the good work!

  79. SD said

    Call me crazy, but here are a few ideas:

    – penalize the women on Welfare (or any kind of assistance) – for each additional child they have – after the first they qualify for less money each month – they’ll figure out how not to get pregnant again
    – require anyone receiving assistance to do a minimum of ___ hours per week of community service or some type of volunteer work
    – require anyone receiving assistance to be randomly drug tested – 1st positive result = no more assistance
    – incentivize neighbors, family, or friends to report abuse (photos, tapes, etc) by providing a cash reward
    – incentivize the people working for these agencies to track these abusers by paying a bonus for each person they legitimately find abusing the system
    – provide government (and/or government subsidized privately owned) day care facilities at no cost with at least 2 free meals/day for children – no more excuses for the mom’s not to work
    – have churches/communities open/build orphanages for the children of those abusing the system (like there are in a lot of African countries and like there were here before welfare was available) – unfortunately, in far too many cases foster care is just another entitlement people have found a way to make money from and can be bad/abusive environments for the children
    – make all those cards, food stamps, or whatever they are selling require a digitally read fingerprint – a lot of membership-type places (tanning salons, day spas, gyms) use this system, it can’t be that expensive
    – have designated areas in grocery stores for items that are allowed to be purchased with these cards/fingerprints – anything else (cigarettes, booze, junk food, etc) must be paid for without the card
    – for everyone (other than those with legitimate and confirmed physical or mental disabilities) limit the length of the assistance to ____ months with a maximum of ____ times on government assistance per adult per lifetime (excluding Social Security and Medicare for retirees who have contributed to those programs)
    – zero tolerance for fraud – none of the 3 strikes you’re out baloney
    – spend the money to hire enough people to enforce all of this (actually, it would make sense to hire these very people who know all the tricks – gets them off the dole, lowers unemployment rates, etc.)

    Now, how do we pay for this? Deficit financing – LOL – just here me out… once the abusers know they can no longer get away with the fraud (and they know even if they are scamming it will only last _____ months and cannot become a way of life) it will weed out the abusers and more than pay for itself by deterring some of the people who are employable from even going through the hassle of applying for assistance. Ultimately, it will greatly reduce the amount the government spends on these entitlement programs.

    There are plenty of jobs (I see help wanted signs all the time and just look at all the people who actually want to improve their lives working 2 and 3 jobs), If the pay isn’t high enough then get a 2nd job, get a roommate, move to cheaper housing, live with family or friends, etc. (the childcare is taken care of for those earning under $____ and for those who can’t afford to support their children there is the orphanage option until they can). People do it all the time – those who WANT to succeed in this country can

    I realize there are many things here that would cause a field day at the ACLU, but these are just my initial thoughts after reading through this blog.

    • we are so on the same page- need more thinkers like this

      • TJ said

        You are right on target! You and I should run for government office together. I have a step son whos’ mother has several different children all by different men. Her and her current husband both draw disability from the state. They can’t work because they have “depression” and are “diabetic” Give me a break! I have been treated medically for depression for most of my life but have managed to hold down the same job for almost twelve years. I’m also pretty sure other people who are diabetic work everyday also. They received a medical card for themselves and all the kids, as well as food stamps and other government issued assistance. Then she has the nerve to complain that she doesn’t get enough childsupport! Really, get a freaking job, either you or your lazy husband, or both of you! Our government is sadly mistaken if they think that the welfare system isn’t tanking our country. What happened to hard work and providing for your family the right way. But then again look at the salary the government officials make to come up with these genius ideas that DONT balance our budget. Yet another group of people getting paid to do NOTHING!

  80. SD said

    .

  81. get your head out of the sand- what a govt employee can find (probably not his own ass), and who and where the abuse is taking place are totally different. Welfare “abuse” is the contortion of the benifits to be used for purposes other than intended is rampant- trading WIC cards for booze and cigerettes, local “stores” wringing up “milk” intead of the malt liquor- trading the cards for cash so they can buy drugs..these are the “TIP”- how about the imbedded fact that most make no effort to establish a self sufficient life, or the children who expect this is part of the way of life- at 18 you dont have to work- can have a few babies, and stay in someone elses house for several decades. With all the govt jobs, there should be a” work for welfare” program that seperates the children from the ghetto for a while “to learn the “other reality”- where kids play as kids and parents got to work every day”- and the parents should not only have a job to do every day- even if its making phone calls on the govt’s behalf-, to doing all the public service work that needs to be hired out anyway, there are hundreds of these jobs. How about mandatory penalties for abuse- and the outright elimination of future “baby momma’s” – if you already have a child on welfare and you have another- you loose both kids and your benifits- the state can set up eduction centers with dorms instead- at least it gives the children structure- they dont need that kind of parental guidence anyway- Oh- if thats too harsh- how about GOvt food that simply prohibits reproduction through drugs, like in prisons or the military. Remember this program is VOLUNTARY- we can set the harshest restrictions and penalties, along with the work requirements- if they “choose” the program- they are making the decision to adhere to the rules- its NOT being cruel becasue welfare is not forced on anyone- but it should force people to want to become independant. Now oyu want ot get nasty- how about the $ that goes to illeagles that shouldnt be here in the first damn place- i think the money woul dbe better spent gurading the borders and sending them back- another abuse that went rampant with no end in sight. Too many bleeding hearts and politically correct BS- somebody has to take a harsh stand or its going to get so bad- there will be another “civil” war in this country..when there is this much seperation of ideals and nobody has the balls to get out an do something its going to build up to boiling.

    • SD said

      I agree – something has to be done and someone has to be bold enough to do it. The way things stand, no politician wants to even discuss it for fear of alienating potential voters. Maybe a partial solution to that would be to take away their voting rights while they’re receiving assistance. I like your “work for welfare” idea – makes total sense.

      • Kathleen said

        How about American citizens become bold enough to allow families to starve to death when their jobs are sent overseas to a country that pays less than minimum wage. We allow the families to lose their homes, and as they walk the streets praying to God for help we can turn a blind eye and pretend their is no safety net for them so they can get back on their feet. We shall strip these people of everything so they can suffer further because the helplessness they felt as they packed their employer up was not enough. We will take their children they once could afford from them, and then their voting rights because they are no longer proper humans now they are worthless. And as these once citizens attempt to get a minimum wage job where they still qualify for assistance and they work 50 hours plus a week we shall further shame these people and tell them they are not working hard enough. Is this the America you want because that is what I see after reading some remarks. A harsh cold world where there is no such thing as helping the poverty or giving a helping hand so people can better themselves. America should turn a cold eye to immigrants because this country was FOUNDED on immigration. When you watch your city leave the state because of no jobs and watch families struggle to make ends meat you will understand humanity. Life should not be what can I do for myself only but what can citizens do together to make a great country one where suffering is not mandated and required, but where opportunity to bring yourself up from the ashes. How dare some of you to forget what it is like to be humbled and fall down!!!!!!!!!! Yes, let us bully the poor and have them feel the shame even more despite their living those feelings everyday.

        • ruggster said

          Kathleen, that’s the problem with most liberals. They think that it is an all or nothing issue. They also try to make conservatives into the bad guy by saying that we would cut people off completely. It makes me think of many issues that have been in the news lately. I won’t get into those here.
          No one is suggesting that people shouldn’t get assistance but why should they get assistance so they can sit around on their bottoms? Why should they get assistance with no end time? When it comes down to it, and studies have shown this is true, those on unemployment tend to find jobs as their unemployment is running out. It almost seems to me that they are waiting for the benefit to come to its end prior to looking for work.
          Another point you made was that we should work together to provide a better place. That is a great idea. Go back and look at the initial reasoning for this article. It was about people taking advantage of the system. With that in mind, your idea should include those that are getting benefits when they either don’t qualify or when they’re really not working toward bettering themselves.
          Assistance isn’t there for those that just want to sit the bench. It is there for the guy that wants to play the game but there is no spot for him to play.
          Too often people try to get as much out as they can (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTYiKjFnMos) and they’re walking around with all the comforts they CAN’T afford(http://www.eagletribune.com/newhampshire/x1501703635/Clerks-firing-prompts-call-for-NH-welfare-changes/print).
          I am all for helping others out that need it but enough is enough. You’ve seen the little jar near the cashier at the convenience stores. There is a little note that says “Need a penny, take one. Have a penny, leave one”. If we all had that mentality of taking what you needed and that was it, we’d be in good shape. But, lets face it, if you can afford cigarettes, booze, an i-phone, an extravagant car payment and to go out to eat regularly, you really don’t need public assistance.

        • Bill D said

          Kathleen. I think we’re probably wasting our time here. Let’s meet elsewhere. Any suggestions?

        • SD said

          Kathleen – I’m not saying people who need and deserve help shouldn’t be able to get it – that’s why we have the programs as safety nets. As I understand it, the topic of this blog is “how bad is welfare fraud”, thus my comments are directed at those who abuse the system – not to those who use it as it’s meant to be used (temporarily). I’m confident the fraud level is much worse than any of us can possibly imagine.

          I have family members who are completely qualified and able to work but don’t want to – so they milk the system (only after the rest of the family quit enabling their laziness by refusing give them any more money – my husband and I have personally given well over $100,000 throughout the years to “help” these various family members, but we finally realized our good intentions were not HELPING, but ENABLING them to not provide for themselves – which ultimately hurts them). Unfortunately, it took us way too long to realize this because it is extremely difficult to watch your loved ones “suffer” – in my family these people are always the VICTIMS and always have a story about how they’ve been wronged. I have one relative who has a pattern – she gets and keeps a job just long enough to qualify for unemployment and then gets fired on purpose… it’s dispicable and unfair to the rest of us who work our tails off. Now we give a substantial amount of money to charities (mostly for orphaned or underprivileged children) and I feel it’s a much use of our resources.

          Our current government is making welfare and other entitlements a way of life for too many people… for these people it’s much easier (and of course, much more desirable) to continue taking hand-outs than it is to get a job. No one gets to start at the top – everyone must work their way up to a position of making a decent salary. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication, but it’s completely attainable… for proof just look the majority of people who have done it. So yes, someone may have to accept a job for minimum wage, but they have the option of changing that by working hard, showing up on time, going the exta mile, etc.

          I’m curious what your background is? Have you been in any of the situations you describe above? Do you know anyone who could work but chooses not to?

          I’ve been fortunate enough to have had steady employment, but if that changed and I lost my job tomorrow I’m 99% sure I could find another. Maybe the pay would be a lot less, but I’d make the necessary adjustments in my lifestyle and do what I had to in order to get to a level where I was comfortable again.

          I’m all for helping those who have a desire to help themselves (and those who can’t such as children, the disabled, etc.), but I’m 100% against helping those who are just looking for hand-outs. If this sounds inhumane to you, then I’d venture to say you haven’t seen the abuses I’ve witnessed.

        • Kathleen said

          Yes, I have witnessed what I described. I was in Michigan when the car companies were suffering. I watched my neighbor’s homes foreclose. I spoke to my coworkers who had to send their husband to another state in hopes of finding a job before their families wound up on the streets. I have watched people desperately looking for work at fast food restaurants and places, but to no avail. I watched Detroit fall to its knees and I still carry that pain with me to this very day.I watched as countless families received pink slips. On my way home from work, you can see the workers loading up trucks to go to the containers to be shipped to China. The businesses figured out it was cheaper to have the workers tear down what they could load it in containers ship it to China pay the cost to come back to America than when the company was in America. Sure everyone thought they could get a job immediately after, but it wasn’t so. There were at least 1200 people competing for a single McDonald’s job. The line to turn in a job application was longer than most free food lines. People burnt their homes for the insurance, cars and other businesses went up in flames. It was incredibly sad to witness. The bail out did not come soon enough for many families. When you watch your city crumble it is not easy to get over. I am still surprised to this day how much it hurts. It took my family every bit of 2 years to get stable again. I have been stable for 4 years now.

          I understand the frustration of welfare fraud, I really do, but I also understand that some situations take longer to recover from too. I have to admit that during the 2 years of trying to get back on my feet, I watched many families get “stuck” in the welfare system for whatever reasons. They managed to use every resource only to find themselves back in the very situation they were “trying” to get out of. I can only describe this as “institutionalization” very similar to what happens to prisoners. They rely so heavily on “welfare” they fear not having it anymore. It is sad really. It is especially sad when you try to explain if both mom/dad work minimum wage jobs they will make more than welfare every month.

          I do not have family members that are lazy, but I have seen some families that are with multiple excuses for why they can’t. I have to say it would have been easy to trap myself into a crazy welfare system believe me they make it easy, but your family does not get far and your pride is something that would be nonexistent.

          My emotions tend to get the best of me at times because I suppose it would be the fear of having to watch families become devastated, and I know it is this fear that would drive me to help a lazy person and or family. Yes, welfare is supposed to be temporary not permanent. Government should not be the provider for your family.

    • kathy said

      Hey Kathleen.. so agree with all you say. We really need to form a strong coalition who will fight against these injustices. Thank the so-called “legal system” that protects the perpetrators! County Housing Departments support them..their clients!
      planned parenthood need to educate these for tubal ligations & vasectomys so that they can live thier lives as they choose & not bring in more welfare dwellers that they are only using to be compensated more. WIC is a terrible program. My dear friend has a grand-daughter who made peanut butter cookies for Church because her infant couldn’t eat it! This sucks, too!
      I’m angry, too. How can we form an effective group to be loud enough to be heard? We, the hard working, honest, decent tax payers who have no choice but to support this. It does take away from all those who truly need a little help….

      My idea is initiating a “sliding scale”.. People can get help and as they improve thier own status with work, they receive less until they are on their own. Won’t this give them pride, also? I think so.
      Have a blessed Thanksgiving & Christmas

  82. lesa said

    Only in America can a able body young person and her/his children receive medical, housing, food, light, & heating assistance, but seniors that have worked their whole life must pay for Medicare, get $ 20.00 a month in food stamps must have less than
    $ 2000.00 in assets before they can receive any assistance. The US government created this system of generational dependency by giving these young able body people all the assistance they need but not requiring them to earn anything. In order to receive any assistance each recipient should be required to work a minimum of 20 hours per week or be in school and passing their class. We cannot forget about corporate welfare. Big business get billions of dollars in welfare benefits.

  83. SD said

    Kathleen – I didn’t realize you’re from Michigan and I can’t even imagine how devastating it was to go through (as well as witnessing the tragedies of those around you). I live in Texas and though we’ve definitely been hit by the recession, it is nothing compared to what you’ve seen. I admire you for not getting “stuck” in the system – I’ve seen how easy it is for some of my family members. I really don’t know the solution, but with our deficit like it is, eliminating fraud in welfare (and all other government programs) seems like a no-brainer.

    The China problem is a huge one that I was encouraged to hear Romney confront.. hate bringing up politics since I’m pretty much split right down the middle, but as far as the economy goes I think/hope/pray if Romney is elected he will keep his word and do something about so many jobs being sent to China (and India). I don’t think we can thrive as an economy without production here at home.

    Back to the welfare issue, it’s really so sad and unfortunate that the people who abuse it do so because they lack any sense of right and wrong and somehow feel entitled. It’s really a depressing commentary on how much our society is circling the drain in the ethics department.

    Thanks for you candor in responding to my questions. It always helps to know a bit about someone’s experiences when talking about these issues.

  84. colette jentgens said

    Well I know as a single mom My kids grew up WELL BELOW THE POVERTY Because I made way to much money according the welfare office , I about fell over I made $5,000 dollars for the year .When they told me this I said screw you I will support my kids and you can have your “help” that isnt there for the 1’s that really needed it thank god my job was nice enough to feed my kids meaning at the end of the night I took home scraps Just so they would have something to eat . But yet You go into sheets or a store and see these people dressed to the top and pull out a access card there kids are over weight But there sat my kids so underweight and there teeth just HORRIBLE condtion .Forthis I will never believe the welfare system becz only people who can afford to be on welare get it !

    • SD said

      Colette – what type of job did you have to only make $416 per month? If it were a full-time job that would mean you only made around $2.60 per hour – way below the minimum wage.

  85. Kathleen said

    Families on welfare are required to do so many hours of job search a week at a Step to Success type place a lot like an unemployment building where they receive services on how to make a resume, find out about internships and much more. Child care is paid so there is no excuse not to go. If you do not go than you do not get paid. Meals for the children are paid for through USDA. The children get breakfast, snack, lunch snack and dinner than another snack all paid by USDA. In fact, the childcare provided for by government is another program used by welfare mom’s to pull welfare fraud for those checks and USDA checks because for 6 mos of not watching the children the childcare provider can still get money.

    What is the point of the finger print for the welfare cards? All that means is the person who has the card just needs to be present when paying which does not stop fraud of selling food for money at all. That would just be an extra cost for businesses that serves no purpose.

    Ok so I go to an atm pull the cash off the card and I still purchase cigarettes and booze causes more of a pain, but still serves zero purpose of stopping any fraud from happening.

    There would have to be a clear definition of what “junk food” is which I completely agree with because it would require the food industry to make wholesome food available to the public

    Welfare is on a time limit all ready-5 years life time amount no matter where you go the system is connected now nation wide.

    I do not see anything that is not all ready happening. I see frivolous waste of money with the finger printing because how are you going to stop selling of food benefits? All a person has to do is get the order from the buyer what they want agree on a price the deal is complete. You would have to monitor restaurants on where their food comes from. Think about it, a person has 100 dollars in food benefits, a restaurant can get 100 dollars in food for 50 dollars cash, which gives them a bigger profit in the long run because they are making profit on free items. If you get enough people to sell than it is cash in the pocket of restaurants.

    Than you have people who work under the table family collects benefits once again it is a company who hires people under the table construction, roofing, plumbing, ditch diggers does this, people doing home improvements do this, churches do this,landscaping does this all the time, and much more how would you stop this? They get paid 12 dollars and hour and more… yet they did not make the list. These people are not lazy one bit they just figured out how to get around the system. They go to work make cash under the table, get medical, food benefits, and cash assistance. If mom stays home and does child care than they collect earned income benefits tax time.

    I love the idea of hiring a person who knows the ends and outs of welfare fraud because they would get shit done.

    Since grocery stores use a computer system registers than for people on food benefits they should systems connected to see what is being purchased this way when restaurant type purchases are being made a flag can go up alerting fraud detection that something is going on. Why is 50 pound bags of flour, rice and potatoes being purchased when there is only 4 people in your family or whatever. If there was a fraud person in every grocery store like FDA in food processing industry than there could potentially be an end to food benefit selling.

    Agencies should go around to home owners doing improvements, construction sites, landscapers, roofers, and do random checks on employees. It should happen anyway. Home improvement on homes should be stricter on who is doing it and people should come out and check because home owners pay under the table and the only way to stop this type of welfare fraud is to check and to stop homeowners from paying under the table for services they could get from actual companies.

    If a company is caught hiring people under the table or undocumented person they should lose their business license and be shut down permanently. There should be none of this we did not know baloney and keep on letting it happen. If a home owner hires under the table they should be fined to keep them from doing it again and from others from trying it.

    This may not stop welfare fraud indefinitely, but it would make committing the fraud a little more difficult, and make people decide to keep welfare as a last resort a pain in the ass only used when absolutely necessary which is how it is intended to be used.

  86. SD said

    Hi Kathleen, thought I’d check back here to see any further comments. I guess you’re right about the fingerprint idea… a criminal mind will always figure out a way about the rules.

    I didn’t realize there was a five year lifetime limit of welfare. Apparently, a relative of mine has figured out a way around it. It’s disgusting.

    My husband has a construction business and being in Texas we definitely have our share of illegal immigrants looking for work. By law, anyone my husband hires has to provide a W-9 with a Social Security number – not onlymismthe required by the IRS, but also by his provider of General Liability insurance. We found out the hard way that fake Social Security cards are easy to come by.

    I honestly don’t have any solid answers to these problems because it seems like the crooks will figure out a work-around no matter what steps are taken to eliminate such fraud.

    Maybe we should focus more on moral fiber and pride of independence to combats these issues. Without morals and without pride / self-respect, I doubt anything will change the “victim” mentality of so many who feel that the govt owes them something.

    • Kathleen said

      I remember my grandmother talking to me about the welfare program when I was a child. She explained the depression for the reason welfare existed. She also explained the public shame that followed a person on welfare. I agree we need work on pride because that is what should bring people around to self efficiency, and that should be started with the parents teaching their children to have pride in what they do for a living this way the child will understand why having an education is so important at the same time of teaching them that welfare is not the answer. Criminals will find a way around the system which sucks, but if the system is tougher more people would decide it is not worth it.

      • ruggster said

        Its funny that you mention that pride. Nowadays, I have prospective tenants that brag about their welfare or section 8 housing. They act like I will rent to them because they are on some sort of government subsidy. They tell me things like, “Its a guaranteed check”, “Its paid directly to you” and things like that. The problem is that because they don’t work for that money, they have no understanding of the value of it and don’t appreciate what they do with it. I find that those tenants generally take poor care of their homes. They are the first ones to break stuff and then call me expecting that it is my responsibility to fix it. When they find out that if they do the damage, they have to fix it, they’re also the first to pull out the duct tape and make some haphazard fix. They generally don’t last more than one lease term because the apartment won’t pass section 8 inspections due to their duct tape or non repairs and I refuse to fix something that they are responsible for at my own expense and allow them to continue to live there. These are the guys that go to the next landlord and tell them that they moved because their previous landlord(me) wouldn’t fix anything and the place was in serious disrepair. What a bunch of bums. No pride or respect for themselves. The people out there that are embarrassed to have to take public assistance are the ones that deserve it. They’re the ones that will do what they can to get off it.

        • Kathleen said

          I remember the first time I heard of section 8 housing. A single mom told me the same thing-it is guaranteed rent and such..I was shocked because I thought to myself isn’t my pay check just as much of a guarantee? To me that was relying upon someone else to pay my rent it would take all my pride out of paying my own bills-if that makes sense. Pride in your days work, pride in doing for yourself, taking the minimum wage job because at least that is better than nothing. Pride should be instilled in people, isn’t that what our forefathers had when they set sail for this country? America needs to find that pride again to stand up and not accept public assistance as the way of life. If those people on section 8 like you mentioned had any pride they would not take for granted the section 8 assistance, but you see if a person has no pride than they are the ones taking their lives for granted and have no appreciation for anything. That is the problem with those abusing the system they have no pride because if they did they would use the assistance to get further in life not hold them back and keep them down. I believe reforming the welfare system needs to happen regardless. If they are on assistance than there should be a demand for self sufficiency and progress made each month towards this. It should really be a requirement, but sadly it is not. Welfare offices should have applicants define pride and what that means to them and what steps to take to get there with time limits.

        • kathy said

          It’s such a shame that we are in the same boat! I will NEVER again go for the “guaranteed rent” from Section 8 and am an advocate for advising other not to go down that road. I had 3 renters who did not have a contract with me.. all have been proactive in keeping my places nice and appreciating what they have.
          I was fortunate to have the renter sign an early termination for 6 months but has cost me thousands & mental stress. She cussed me & called herself a Christain, threatened discrimination charges, tried to find a reason to sue me, brought in bed bugs I was responsible to irridicate & THE HOUSING OFFICE SUPPORTS HER..their client! I received a call from someone in housing verbally supporting me “off the record” but she is still able to get another unit..and her Verizon FIOS for her fancy cell phone & computer. She’s not gaining weight on air & love..that’s for sure! Yep, she claims to be in “school” at 41 and is also waiting on her “disability”… wow!
          Actually, I would go for my pride and spiritual walk thru this life. Unfortuantely, Kathleen, I am finding “pride” is not taught to learn this.. Reality of life bites! We need to join together to make positive changes!

  87. [...] [...]

  88. SD said

    Some good news: our Governor here in Texas just announced mandatory drug testing for those on govt assistance. While that’s not fair for the people who legitimately need the help, at least it’s a start and will hopefully weed out some of the abusers.

    This morning I had to have a blood test and while at the lab I mentioned this to the nurse and she just rolled her eyes and said “it won’t matter, they’ll just use those cleansers and it won’t show up”. I said surely there’s some test that could get around that and she said “the only way is through testing the hair which is extremely expensive”.

    Again, the solution seems to be teaching people to have self respect and a desire to contribute to society.

    Not sure where to even start with that (especially with so many politicians/leaders (from both parties) setting such bad examples. Maybe if we started a movement to have each “decent” person mentor a young person (who is caught in the welfare trap) it would be a beginning.

  89. kathy salera said

    Well, I gave a welfare receipient the chance to improve her & her daughters lives to live in my beautiful villa. In a 6-month period, she was a miserable experience. It amazes me that she started paying $87. of a $825. a month rent, housing ended up paying for that. Claimed she had “financial difficulties”.. I found Verizon Fios in my unit. She had the service on her fancy cell phone & internet. She left the place a mess, was late on utility bills. Also brought in bed bugs & because housing didn’t advise me to have the pest control clause on the contract, I was unaware of such a problem. Housing continues to support her after all this; she is their client. She has a police record and has infractions that have been overlooked in her favor.
    She used so much profanity, yelled at me most of the time, claimed she was going to bring discrimination charges when I stood my ground.
    She continues to take advantage of our tax money. After more than $1,200 in pest control and all the repairs I had to inucr, she is out! This is my blessing… HOW VERY WRONG!..WHAT CAN WE DO? Please advise.
    I WARN EVERYONE NOT TO RENT SECTION 8 EVER! We need to form a coalition to change the program. Thank you…

  90. crystal said

    I think we need welfare reform. Don’t just tell me people live on welfare for six years never has been able to get a job. That’s BS. I know a girl who is 21 with three kids and has work maybe two months in her whole life. We make it too easily to get welfare. She gets medacaid, food stamps her rent electric and gas are all included in her rent which she pays a hundred and something bc her mom works and livies with her. But she also has to men living in her apartment that their income isn’t included. They each mak350-450 a week that isn’t included if it was she wouldn’t qualify

    • Kathleen said

      If you call the local welfare office you can report the fraud that is clearly happening. Please don’t think the office won’t do anything about it if you call an report this because they will look into it. I know of people who have commited fraud and have been busted for it. I am not sure what the process is but you can do it without leaving your name if you are concerned about that. Anyway if you see a crime happening and welfare fraud is a crime you are obligated to report it because you can be just as guilty if you know about it and keep silent.

  91. Lrdfvfde said

    I guess people who collect unemployment benefits are no better. In some states you have to prove you are looking for jobs. The people who have no intention of getting another job just put in applications even if they have no intention of actually getting the job. They flood their applications and resumes everywhere. So you have people who need the job, and people who don’t want to get a job clogging up the application pools of employers. So the employer doesn’t know who really wants the job and who is just trying to keep getting their unemployment benefits. That’s *one* of the reasons why people like myself are having such a tough time. The whole handout system is fundamentally messed up but their are genuine people who need and are grateful for the assistance.

    You can’t condem an entire group of people for the actions of a certain percentage.

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  93. excuses, excuses said

    You specify about fraudulent people who are already in the program, but forget that the the program keeps enabling them to get what they want for nothing… In a sense disabling them, becoming reliant on it. Where is the “temperary” help that many people do deserve…. How did it get to the point where they can work the system for years? More and more baby litters will get you anything you want. I HATE the hoochie mamas! Do a study about that

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  95. Sam Senkot said

    Good info…thanks! Have you ever asked the question as to how many of the folks that receive welfare per the guidelines i.e. totally legally, could actually be working and supporting themselves? One of the horror stories that I’ve heard several times, is that a person on UI will go into a place of employment to get certification that he/she is actually “looking” for work, however in one instance when that person was offered a job, reported that “No, I don’t want a job, I just need the boss to certify that I was looking for one!” As I said, this type of “fraud” was relayed to me in a handful of instances. I’m wondering if one could get a handle on how widespread this is?

    • Kathleen said

      Here is a sad fact about welfare and food stamps for a family of 6 (2 adults and 4 children) with minimum wage. Each state pays a different amount of welfare money to families, so I will use Oregon. If you combine cash assistance and food stamps a working man/woman would have to make 9.50 an hr just to come up with the same amount. Minimum wage is not 9.50 an hr. When you work your food stamps goes down in amount. So if you get a job at 8.00 an hour you lose all cash assistance and half of your food stamps if you are on public housing assistance your rent goes up even though your pay just dropped. So now you have to pay more rent and pay out what you lost in food cuz when on food stamps last week is tough now it will be last 2 weeks. I hope I helped put some understanding as to why a family may not want to turn down a part time/full time job that pays less than welfare. It is not always about greed sometimes it is just about trying to provide for your family. Most welfare workers know this all ready. They ask for your rental lease for a reason, look at your electricity bill for a reason.

      • don said

        you are very correct Kathleen, and as Mitchell below states, that is the way it is supposed to work…I believe spritzophrenia is wrong in this area…. that rampant “abuse” takes place… It is widely known and accepted in the communities where welfare use is the highest… florida being one… from the Fla Dept of Children and Family website: Age 0 through 5 – $242 per child
        Age 6 through 12 – $249 per child
        Age 13 through 17 – $298 per child You do the math, 4 kids from 3 to 13..about.$996…not counting WIC, SNAP not counting, health supplements, OSS ( state supplement) , selling of food stamps for more than they are worth, moving 2 recipient families into one home and “sharing” the benefits… It can come to thousands… waste , abuse and misuse…. for every dollar that is paid out, that is a dollar TAKEN from someone else… the idea is to get people Off welfare, not make it profitable to not work… and that will always be the issue.

    • Thanks. I don’t have any info on this. Like much alleged fraud, it would be hard to measure accurately.

      As you’ve gathered from my posts, I prefer to attempt good research rather than listen to allegations. I’m saddened by the number of commenters who don’t understand simple math. No matter how many people here “know someone who shouldn’t be getting that money”, it’s statistically insignificant.

      I stand by the research (so far):
      1. Relatively few people commit welfare fraud.
      2. When they do it’s not for large amounts.
      3. Much of it is not legal FRAUD, even if we don’t like what they do.

      Thanks for your comment, I am rather tired of the bigotry and ignorance displayed in some other comments here.

      • Oh, and a minor point. I don’t think turning down a job in favor of welfare is FRAUD. It is certainly annoying, and probably unethical.

        But the answer to this imho is not to accuse everyone else on welfare of fraud. (As I have tried to point out several times here and elsewhere, FRAUD is a legal definition. It is not illegal to apply for a job you have no intention of taking, however much we may dislike this. People should only talk about welfare FRAUD when the actions are actually illegal.)

        I think there will always be a certain number of people who will take welfare they don’t need (remember, if they can get it legally it is not fraud). The temptation is to make applying for welfare harder and add more bureaucracy. However, in my experience this just wastes everyone’s time and costs the taxpayer more money. There aren’t simple solutions. (And removing welfare completely is inhumane and un-Christian.)

        Let’s put it into context. Let’s not forget all those people with jobs who commit fraud (cheating on their taxes, stealing from the boss, using work cars for personal travel, etc). White collar crime is huge. Assuming only welfare recipients are cheating, and people with jobs are not is ignorant. Being lazy and immoral is not the prerogative of those on welfare. It is the prerogative of most of humanity.

        [/rant] ;)

  96. Llawyer said

    Just to clarify – unemployment isn’t “welfare” and it’s upsetting to those of us who work for a living to have it categorized with true welfare. When you actually have a job a portion of every paycheck is automatically taken out for unemployment and placed into a state run fund so that if you later become unemployed you must establish you’re “entitled” to that money back and you are paid from that pre-filled fund. Just like social security – it’s a true “entitlement” Welfare is quite different – that is just free money, food stamps, cell phones, etc. given to people who never worked and ordinarily have contributed nothing to society but numerous illegitimate children.

    • Kathleen said

      Some people on welfare work but just do not make enough and qualify for welfare such as food stamps. Not all our children are illegitimate either. I was married when all four of my children were conceived and birthed thank you very much. I worked my butt off and still work my butt off for the better of my community. To say welfare recipients do not contribute to society is just as bad as claiming unemployment as welfare. Sometimes people do not work enough hours to qualify for unemployment benefits or made enough money to collect. Yes, I am a little offended by the use of illegitimate children and not contributing to society.

  97. mitchell72 said

    Kathleen, yes it is highly unethical not to work because minimum wage in Oregon is not 9.50, if the cut the benefits its because you are making some money. The idea of government assistance is for when someone falls on hard times not because it pays more to receive benefits from the government. Yes when you make money they drop down assistance because it was not designed to make you rich it was designed to get you by until you pull until yourself up by your bootstraps and get back to work. The problem is it has become ok as a society to just accept these handouts without any kind “guilt” for lack of better term. It used to be people would be embarrassed to be on these programs and people would work two or three jobs if they had too in order to provide now its accepted to say “why do that when i can stay home, sit on my butt and make the same amount.” Also Llawyer was a little harsh the thing is, really they are not contributing to society. The government really does not have money, for every dollar they give, they have to take from somewhere. the people receiving this are not paying in because like you said, it just doesn’t make sense when it pays not too.

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  101. don said

    .. The word “fraud” is being misued here… the topic should be misuse, or better, abuse, of a system that condones it… Not one conservative person I know wants children or their parents to be hungry, go with out shelter or clothing…. years ago, that was the job of communities, churches, and charities… but the numbers of poor grew staggeringly. I have personally witnessed a woman, at the local publix grocery store, wearing fine clothes, and pretty jewelry, buy birthday cakes, nice big steaks, candies, and flowers and whip out the WIC or SNAP card… Now, if you want a cake… bake one….eggs flour, oil …heck, even a ready made cake mix… not some 35$ professionally decorated thing.. have burgers, make the fries from the potatoes you buy… It all changed when McDonald’s started accepting welfare cards..Mom doesn’t have to cook when she can whip through MickyD’s and feed garbage to 10 people for 15$.. and we wonder why there is an obesity problem among poor children.. … The misuse of the system by someone who is getting the max from the Gov’t, then working under the table, making 3 to 4 hundred a week, and not paying taxes, which pays for the money they receive… Children in the “all summer” food program..being fed during summer months while parents continue to receive funding for them to eat.. do their parents not receive enough to even feed them?… Yes, most do… but through the “everything must be fair” concept… they get to spend on unneeded items, while the taxpayers feed, clothe, and house their kids. Fairness should be about opportunity, and personal drive, not outcome….I have known poor.. I have lived poor, and my Dad, nor me for my wife and children, have ever taken a dime of welfare money… Poverty is not always about money, it is about lifestyle, dedication to a belief that you can succeed… and doing what it takes to do that… not just going to the mailbox, or atm once a month…

    • Ruggster said

      Great response! The fraud rate is much higher than the 1 to 2% they’re claiming. The problem is that it is difficult to independently study fraud because of privacy laws. Therefore we leave the government alone to police itself. We can see how that has worked in the news lately. No one wants to admit they’re running a broken program. The guy running the blog has suggested I run a study, knowing full well it can’t be done. Regardless, you are correct, fraud is ill defined. In fact, need is ill defined. When I see someone receiving assistance that is walking around with an iPhone and here I am with my trac fone, it makes me realize where their priorities lie. It’s too bad the social services couldn’t give a list of items and habits that need to be exposed of prior to receivingublic assistance. The latest technology toys, beer and cigarettes are all expensive items that most can do without.

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  105. Anonymous said

    That less than 2% of all people on welfare in the USA commit fraud? WOW where did this number came from? and why is so difficult for the government to track down these people? Some of them do not only receive assistance – welfare, but also get child support for EACH child, have a job making money out of the table and live together with their boyfriends who also depend from a job. Needless to say, they travel a lot and enjoy their beautiful lives to the expense of the government….go figuere what a system.

  106. Jonelle said

    You are also not including the people who go off to sell their food stamps to gain cash or drugs or the people who work at a job for 3 months only to stop showing up to get fired and collect unemployment for the next 15 months before they have to work another 3 to not work and get paid. This figure does not include the mother who doesn’t work sells her food stamps to get cash for the club, baby-sitter and her drinks. 2 percent my ass. Only about maybe one in thirty-six Americans need to be on welfare not one in six. We are supporting people who are refusing to help themselves people who feel entitled to these benefits and it is bullshit.

    • Kathy said

      Unemployment is not welfare also social security disability is not welfare. Those two a person pays into by working. Welfare is TANF in most states, SNAP, SSI, Section 8 benefits. On SSI you have to send in monthly paycheck stubs. SNAP and TANF every 6 mos you have to send in all recent pay check stubs for the past 30 days. The welfare office will catch fraud and when you file taxes welfare office finds out. It’s not easy to fraud the system. Welfare office looks at your lease also. If you see people selling food stamps report it or frauding system. There are phone numbers to call.

      Sent from my Cricket smart phone

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  110. Lynn O'Neal said

    I have a question. If a person is receiving welfare, can the person give his or her EBT card to someone else for the other person’s use? The other person has a very good job and so does his wife.

    • A Welfare Fraud Investigator said

      You can authorize someone to use it on your behalf. I don’t think their are rules that say the card is being misused if someone other than an intended beneficiary eats the food bought with the card, because I don’t see how that could be tracked or enforced. A fraud case could be made if we were able to prove that they were using the benefits for themseves, I just can’t think of a way to go about establishing off the top of my head. (I have had cases where elderly people were being taken advantage of by someone else who was using their benefits, but that falls into its own catagory of criminal behaviour).

      It is common for someone who is leaves the U.S. to leave their card with a family member to use. That is fraud, because you are not entitled to foodstamps if you are not in the U.S, and you aren’t entitled to other benefits from a particular locality if you don’t live in that city or county. There is a certain period of time that has to elapse before we can say you don’t live here anymore, but no one else should be using your card while you are gone.

  111. Laura said

    Why do we pay people money to travel to a dr office the travel payment forms the welfare people are a joke. I make less than 20,000 a year- pay my own insurance- co-pays- deductibles- and what ever else I may be sent to pay..get no assistant for anything…and no one pays me to go to the doctor and I sometimes have 40 dollars to eat on for two weeks. I personally know a girl that her live in boyfriend that is the father of her child works 6 days a week making 80,000 a year- however she does not show that they live together- has a medical card…and using the money from her travel payments for their vacation each year….I have grown to hate our government

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