LA DCFS responds to million dollar food stamp mistake

LA DCFS responds to million dollar food stamp mistake
Louisiana Politics

POSTED: Tuesday, July 8, 2014 - 11:24am

UPDATED: Tuesday, July 8, 2014 - 2:05pm

Louisiana distributed more than a million dollars in SNAP benefits to people who were no longer alive.

A state audit shows nearly 4,000 households received SNAP payments where the primary recipient was dead.

In the four years from July 2009 to June 2013, the people who had died received nearly one-point-three-million dollars in SNAP benefits.

Officials say it's hard to know exactly who was using the program's cards after the owners were dead.

"On the DCFS funds, the SNAP benefits, you're not going to recover those funds. So, that's just taxpayer money that's gone,” said Louisiana Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera. “Those are federal funds, taxpayer funds that we'll not be able to recover."

Officials say the Department of Child and Family Services was only checking eligibility every six to 12 months, doing so by looking at social security records.

DCFS Secretary Suzy Sonnier released a statement Tuesday morning, saying: “DCFS has addressed this issue by entering into a formal agreement with the Department of Health and Hospitals to receive more timely information about deaths in Louisiana. This new process will reduce the time it takes for a death record to become available and certified in order for the household to be determined no longer eligible for benefits. The Fraud and Recovery unit is already investigating the cases in this report and will seek recoupment and prosecution of guilty parties to the full extent of the law.”

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