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NJ lottery winners still receiving welfare, food stamps, audit says

New Jersey LotteryNew Jersey Lottery: NJ lottery winners still receiving welfare, food stamps, audit says
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An audit sniffing out fraud in New Jersey's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program detected 66 lottery winners who were perhaps too lucky. They were all welfare and food stamps beneficiaries who had each won more than $10,000, including one person who had been collecting $1,000 a week from the "Win for Life" scratch-off game prior to 2009.

Ten other winners netted more than $100,000 in lottery proceeds from 2011 to 2013. All of them were still collecting food stamps this year, according to the audit.

State rules require lottery winners who receive public assistance to refund the programs.

The audit also found 37 people from December 2013 to May 2014 who had collected food stamp benefits even after their death was reported to the Social Security Administration.

And of the 37 dead, 26 were listed as having used $39,000 in benefits, even though they were listed as the only beneficiary on the account — evidence of wrongdoing that should have been caught by the state and county welfare agencies, according to report released Thursday by the non-partisan Office of the State Auditor.

For a social service system serving about 830,000 people, the report by State Auditor Stephen Eells' office said the Department of Human Services internal controls "were adequate but could be improved."

But the report was especially critical of the "electronic benefit transfer" debit card system, which is how the 74,577 people on welfare and 820,642 enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as SNAP, as of May 2014 receive benefits. "There is inadequate security over EBT cards and system access," according to the report.

The auditor sharply questioned the "persistent delays and defects" of a five-year-old project to create a new automated system that would link all public welfare programs run by the state and the counties. The contractor Hewlett Packard, was to be paid $118 million to develop the Consolidated Assistance Support System, better known as CASS.

The total cost of the project is about $227 million, according to the report, which attributed some of the delays to "the poor performance of HP and management oversight."

In a written response to the audit, Human Services Commissioner Jennifer Velez said the contract had been terminated, and "interim plans are being put in place."

Velez's spokeswoman Nicole Brossoie told NJ Advance Media last week there would be no comment on the next steps until HP and the state work out a separation agreement. An HP spokesman also declined to comment.

County welfare agencies conduct fraud investigations but are not successful in recouping funds, the report said. From July 2012 to June 2013, counties identified 5,381 instances of fraud that should have resulted in a net gain of $12.7 million. But they only collected $1.4 million.

The auditor advised the state and county agencies to routinely match the names of SNAP and welfare beneficiaries with the list of dead people reported to the Social Security Administration and lottery winner database.

The auditor also suggested the state set asset limits on people who apply for SNAP. In a written response to the audit, Velez said the department had intentionally stopped doing evaluation of a recipient's total assets to speed up the application process.

New Jersey is one of 36 states that does not use an asset test for SNAP benefits, according to the Corporation for Enterprise Development, a national anti-poverty research nonprofit.

The audit examined the financial management of SNAP, and the welfare program, formally known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, from July 2010 to April 2014, when the Department of Human Service's Division of Family Development managed the payout of $5.3 billion in benefits through the county welfare agencies. Of that amount, $436 million paid for administrative expenses.

The auditor also found 46,800 clients whose Social Security numbers were either "questionable" or "unverified," but who collectively received $201.6 million in SNAP benefits and $12.7 in welfare benefits.

Velez said an internal analysis determined these were mostly data entry mistakes, such as typing in the wrong number, date of birth and name. The department, however, will retrain county welfare employees "regarding steps that could minimize the error rate," according to Velez's response.

The report is likely to fuel frustration between the state and county welfare organizations, both of whom are under federal scrutiny — and could lose federal funds — for taking too long to process SNAP applications. County union officials and social service advocates have said the welfare offices are understaffed and can't afford to hire more people.

NJ

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17 comments. Last comment 2 years ago by pickone4me.
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Avatar

United States
Member #160355
October 25, 2014
101 Posts
Offline
Posted: December 6, 2014, 3:08 pm - IP Logged

OMG so shocking. (not)

    dr65's avatar - black panther.jpg
    Pennsylvania
    United States
    Member #74096
    May 2, 2009
    23342 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: December 6, 2014, 3:21 pm - IP Logged

    No wonder they can't afford to hire more people.

    Maybe they should make some good choices and hire a few good people to track down the cheats and liars,
    throw them off the roll and in jail....oh and find out who is DEAD too...prevent those benefits from being released
    then recalculate the fruits of their efforts. Millions paid to dead people? That's despicable. There's a breakdown
    and lack of efficiency in communications between departments. They need to get their heads together but first must
    make sure they're employing the people with the smarts to get it done.

    They take the easy route by going after people long after they've been collecting illegally and make the major push
    too late. By the time they catch up, they've lost millions and will not get it back from a lot of those people.

    Total failure to allow people who don't deserve benefits to continue receiving them because the task is too draining
    to pull off or the people employed in the agency are too tired, lazy and too 8 and skate to care about much more than
    putting their time in and going home.

    3669* Big Smile 3369 3699 0256 4081 4308 63339

      Drenick1's avatar - villiarna
      USA
      United States
      Member #152799
      February 25, 2014
      1095 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: December 6, 2014, 4:01 pm - IP Logged

      Willing to bet that this abuse is nation wide. They need to impose a food stamp Czar to control this abuse.

        Lucky Loser's avatar - bucks
        Texas
        United States
        Member #86154
        January 30, 2010
        1661 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: December 6, 2014, 4:28 pm - IP Logged

        Well, I suppose that some response is better than none. But, I see them as still extremely lenient, thus far, compared to what I've seen regarding the poor yet very lazy folks receiving benefits. In my opinion, this is much, much worse and should be frowned upon to the highest extent. These lottery winners have thousands and hundreds of thousands of dollars at their disposal and they're still taking the system for a ride...and people basically give them a pass??? Unwilling to call them lazy, free loading, 'morons', and 'parasites' as I've seen and continue to see regarding a certain type of people? Unbelievable. For your information, THESE TYPES OF PEOPLE ARE THE REAL ENEMIES of the system. We're ALL paying for these types of people to receive benefits and THEY'VE ALL GOT MORE$$$ THAN 90% OF US. This...while there's so much anger and hatred over the poor and lazy that receive them. Granted, we should be angry with them as well but, the idea of your neighbor with $100K receiving benefits THAT YOU PAY FOR should light such a fire underneath your a$$ that it's impossible to put out.

        L.L.

        Small games, frequent wins, and regular payouts 'cause.....

        There are seven days in the week...'Someday' isn't one of them.

        #lotto-4-a-living

          Avatar
          New Member
          Seattle
          United States
          Member #150140
          December 16, 2013
          2 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: December 6, 2014, 5:03 pm - IP Logged

          You know this is BULL<snip>. How <snip>ing hard is it to have someone call the lottery office to insure people that get public assistance haven't won more then 1K. It would take a day or less to find that out for a whole month. It does not take over $100 million to build a program. Well I am glad I don't live in NJ under Gov Chris Crisco. Not that my state is any better.

          This post has been automatically changed by the Lottery Post computer system to remove inappropriate content and/or spam.

            Avatar
            Greensboro, North Carolina
            United States
            Member #1616
            June 5, 2003
            1294 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: December 6, 2014, 7:42 pm - IP Logged

            Well, I suppose that some response is better than none. But, I see them as still extremely lenient, thus far, compared to what I've seen regarding the poor yet very lazy folks receiving benefits. In my opinion, this is much, much worse and should be frowned upon to the highest extent. These lottery winners have thousands and hundreds of thousands of dollars at their disposal and they're still taking the system for a ride...and people basically give them a pass??? Unwilling to call them lazy, free loading, 'morons', and 'parasites' as I've seen and continue to see regarding a certain type of people? Unbelievable. For your information, THESE TYPES OF PEOPLE ARE THE REAL ENEMIES of the system. We're ALL paying for these types of people to receive benefits and THEY'VE ALL GOT MORE$$$ THAN 90% OF US. This...while there's so much anger and hatred over the poor and lazy that receive them. Granted, we should be angry with them as well but, the idea of your neighbor with $100K receiving benefits THAT YOU PAY FOR should light such a fire underneath your a$$ that it's impossible to put out.

            L.L.

            Finally someone gets it, supposedly. We will see. This is exactly what we have been talking about. A Demo finally sees the light, hopefully. Time will tell.

            US Flag

              savagegoose's avatar - ProfilePho
              adelaide sa
              Australia
              Member #37136
              April 11, 2006
              3324 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: December 6, 2014, 8:16 pm - IP Logged

              so far i spotted HP as the biggest fraud they should be dealing with

              " Still swinging, still missing "
              2014 = -1016; 2015= -1409; 2016  = -1171; 2017 = ?  TOT =  -3596: JAN= -

              keno historic = -2291 ; 2015= -603; 2016= -424; 2017 = ? TOT = - 3318: JAN= -39

                Avatar
                Kentucky
                United States
                Member #32652
                February 14, 2006
                7458 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: December 7, 2014, 12:59 am - IP Logged

                An audit sniffing out fraud in New Jersey's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program detected 66 lottery winners who were perhaps too lucky. They were all welfare and food stamps beneficiaries who had each won more than $10,000, including one person who had been collecting $1,000 a week from the "Win for Life" scratch-off game prior to 2009.

                Ten other winners netted more than $100,000 in lottery proceeds from 2011 to 2013. All of them were still collecting food stamps this year, according to the audit.

                State rules require lottery winners who receive public assistance to refund the programs.

                The audit also found 37 people from December 2013 to May 2014 who had collected food stamp benefits even after their death was reported to the Social Security Administration.

                And of the 37 dead, 26 were listed as having used $39,000 in benefits, even though they were listed as the only beneficiary on the account — evidence of wrongdoing that should have been caught by the state and county welfare agencies, according to report released Thursday by the non-partisan Office of the State Auditor.

                For a social service system serving about 830,000 people, the report by State Auditor Stephen Eells' office said the Department of Human Services internal controls "were adequate but could be improved."

                But the report was especially critical of the "electronic benefit transfer" debit card system, which is how the 74,577 people on welfare and 820,642 enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as SNAP, as of May 2014 receive benefits. "There is inadequate security over EBT cards and system access," according to the report.

                The auditor sharply questioned the "persistent delays and defects" of a five-year-old project to create a new automated system that would link all public welfare programs run by the state and the counties. The contractor Hewlett Packard, was to be paid $118 million to develop the Consolidated Assistance Support System, better known as CASS.

                The total cost of the project is about $227 million, according to the report, which attributed some of the delays to "the poor performance of HP and management oversight."

                In a written response to the audit, Human Services Commissioner Jennifer Velez said the contract had been terminated, and "interim plans are being put in place."

                Velez's spokeswoman Nicole Brossoie told NJ Advance Media last week there would be no comment on the next steps until HP and the state work out a separation agreement. An HP spokesman also declined to comment.

                County welfare agencies conduct fraud investigations but are not successful in recouping funds, the report said. From July 2012 to June 2013, counties identified 5,381 instances of fraud that should have resulted in a net gain of $12.7 million. But they only collected $1.4 million.

                The auditor advised the state and county agencies to routinely match the names of SNAP and welfare beneficiaries with the list of dead people reported to the Social Security Administration and lottery winner database.

                The auditor also suggested the state set asset limits on people who apply for SNAP. In a written response to the audit, Velez said the department had intentionally stopped doing evaluation of a recipient's total assets to speed up the application process.

                New Jersey is one of 36 states that does not use an asset test for SNAP benefits, according to the Corporation for Enterprise Development, a national anti-poverty research nonprofit.

                The audit examined the financial management of SNAP, and the welfare program, formally known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, from July 2010 to April 2014, when the Department of Human Service's Division of Family Development managed the payout of $5.3 billion in benefits through the county welfare agencies. Of that amount, $436 million paid for administrative expenses.

                The auditor also found 46,800 clients whose Social Security numbers were either "questionable" or "unverified," but who collectively received $201.6 million in SNAP benefits and $12.7 in welfare benefits.

                Velez said an internal analysis determined these were mostly data entry mistakes, such as typing in the wrong number, date of birth and name. The department, however, will retrain county welfare employees "regarding steps that could minimize the error rate," according to Velez's response.

                The report is likely to fuel frustration between the state and county welfare organizations, both of whom are under federal scrutiny — and could lose federal funds — for taking too long to process SNAP applications. County union officials and social service advocates have said the welfare offices are understaffed and can't afford to hire more people.

                The audit also found 37 people from December 2013 to May 2014 who had collected food stamp benefits even after their death was reported to the Social Security Administration.

                I Hope they don't mean dead people are collecting food stamps, but wouldn't surprise me because dead people vote in every election. If they have the means to catch them, what's the problem?

                  sully16's avatar - sharan
                  Ringleader
                  Michigan
                  United States
                  Member #81740
                  October 28, 2009
                  45009 Posts
                  Online
                  Posted: December 7, 2014, 7:32 am - IP Logged

                  They will eventually get what's really coming to them.

                  America First ! US Flag

                    Avatar

                    United States
                    Member #122468
                    February 1, 2012
                    530 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: December 7, 2014, 7:46 am - IP Logged

                    This is just nuts. In my state of Mass I'm sure this happens. Why are there not systems in place for every state in the US that has a lottery in place?  There needs to be a way to have a computer system automatically see if you are getting Welfare, Food Stamps and Medicaid and if you win a decent amount your benefits should automatically be cut off. There has always been fraud in those programs and it is unfair for tax payers to get stuck with the bill for the people who take advatage of the system. I've worked since the age of 13 with my first babysitting job (most of my jobs unfortunately have been low paying ones) and am tired of having these broke systems. I truly believe we need a safety net for people but the fraud that contunes to occur just gets me so upset. I am not surprised by this article just sand and mad.

                      savagegoose's avatar - ProfilePho
                      adelaide sa
                      Australia
                      Member #37136
                      April 11, 2006
                      3324 Posts
                      Offline
                      Posted: December 7, 2014, 9:03 am - IP Logged

                      Im sure the dead are all completely innocent.  The living; claiming in their names, are another matter altogether.

                      " Still swinging, still missing "
                      2014 = -1016; 2015= -1409; 2016  = -1171; 2017 = ?  TOT =  -3596: JAN= -

                      keno historic = -2291 ; 2015= -603; 2016= -424; 2017 = ? TOT = - 3318: JAN= -39

                        Gleno's avatar - Lottery-001.jpg
                        New Jersey
                        United States
                        Member #80354
                        September 25, 2009
                        717 Posts
                        Offline
                        Posted: December 7, 2014, 11:06 am - IP Logged

                        The Asbury Park Press of NJ has published an article today about Ticket discounting, cashing  other player's winning tickets ,so that the real winners can avoid paying taxes,judgements, child support or other debts owed to the state.The Press has found that  840 prizes totaling $1.8 million collected by 20 most frequent prize winners,are either lottery retailers or members of their family. The NJ lottery commission is going to investigate.   

                        Smash

                          noise-gate's avatar - images q=tbn:ANd9GcR91HDs4UJhjxO7cmeMQWZ5lB_FOcMLOGicau4V74R45tDgPWrr
                          Chasing the Dream.
                          Utopia- California
                          United States
                          Member #136477
                          December 12, 2012
                          4262 Posts
                          Offline
                          Posted: December 7, 2014, 6:11 pm - IP Logged

                          Im sure the dead are all completely innocent.  The living; claiming in their names, are another matter altogether.

                          I Agree!...totally. 

                          Kinda reminds me of a scene near the end of the movie " World War Z" when one of  the Doctor's says " You can't make Dead people sick" - apparently these folks are saying they can do one better by claiming that the dead are hungry..

                          People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it- George Bernard Shaw.

                            Avatar
                            Kentucky
                            United States
                            Member #32652
                            February 14, 2006
                            7458 Posts
                            Offline
                            Posted: December 8, 2014, 3:15 am - IP Logged

                            This is just nuts. In my state of Mass I'm sure this happens. Why are there not systems in place for every state in the US that has a lottery in place?  There needs to be a way to have a computer system automatically see if you are getting Welfare, Food Stamps and Medicaid and if you win a decent amount your benefits should automatically be cut off. There has always been fraud in those programs and it is unfair for tax payers to get stuck with the bill for the people who take advatage of the system. I've worked since the age of 13 with my first babysitting job (most of my jobs unfortunately have been low paying ones) and am tired of having these broke systems. I truly believe we need a safety net for people but the fraud that contunes to occur just gets me so upset. I am not surprised by this article just sand and mad.

                            "Why are there not systems in place for every state in the US that has a lottery in place?"

                            Because the state welfare agencies would expect the lottery to do the policing, they would pass it on to their retailers, and then down to the same clerks who found a way to use EBT cards to purchase tickets. The state probably figured out it costs more to police it than they lose. 

                            Are that many people on public assistance winning large lottery prizes?