Bill Lueders

State Crackdown on Food Stamp Fraud

12-fold increase in recipients suspended under Walker. Critics assail it as politically motivated.

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Alan White, inspector general of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, is proud of his office’s record fighting fraud: “Our responsibility is to the taxpayers. Those are our stakeholders.” Photo by Kate Golden of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.

Alan White, inspector general of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, is proud of his office’s record fighting fraud: “Our responsibility is to the taxpayers. Those are our stakeholders.” Photo by Kate Golden of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.

Under Republican Gov. Scott Walker, the state of Wisconsin has seen a nearly 12-fold increase in the number of persons suspended annually from the state’s food stamp program for fraud.

The suspensions for “intentionally violating program rules” are part of a larger get-tough approach to people receiving federally funded nutrition assistance, called FoodShare in Wisconsin. Walker has also introduced new work rules for some FoodShare recipients, and proposes to seek a federal waiver to begin requiring all adult participants of the program to undergo drug testing.

Walker’s administration has long devoted energy and resources to cracking down on recipients of the supplemental food program. The efforts include a new office to fight fraud within the state Department of Health Services, which runs FoodShare, additional systems for citizens to report allegations of abuse, and new strategies to nab would-be freeloaders through stricter screening and income-verification rules.

In 2011, Walker’s first year as governor, 102 people were suspended from the FoodShare program for violating program rules, according to DHS. That number has increased each year, to 1,184 in 2014.

“We’ve shown more intention and intentionality in preventing fraud and abuse,” said Alan White, appointed in 2011 to a newly created position of inspector general within DHS. He cites more workers, better training, and new strategies for finding fraud using social media. Also, “We’ve become more aware of the types of fraud that take place.”

White thinks Wisconsin’s efforts to step up enforcement serves as deterrent to potential cheaters: “They see that we are serious about preventing and detecting fraud.” He notes that federal law requires the state to take action in cases where it believes fraud has occurred.

But advocates for FoodShare recipients say the state is being overly aggressive, punishing needy people who make innocent mistakes.

“There’s a lot of judgment going on by white, middle-class people and a lot of assumptions and disqualifications based on these assumptions,” said Pat DeLessio, an attorney with the Milwaukee office of Legal Action of Wisconsin, a federally funded nonprofit agency. The agency has successfully helped clients fight state efforts to suspend their FoodShare benefits. But in most cases, she said, “people are coming to us too late.”

Sherrie Tussler, executive director of Milwaukee’s Hunger Task Force, a nonprofit community group, blasts the state’s crackdown. “It’s silly, it’s stupid, and it’s a way of manipulating public opinion,” she said. “Everybody needs a scapegoat and it seems like the poor are the scapegoat in Wisconsin.”

Wisconsin Foodshare Program: Recipients suspended for 'intentional program violations'

Wisconsin Foodshare Program: Recipients suspended for ‘intentional program violations’

A ‘misuse’ of resources

FoodShare is Wisconsin’s incarnation of the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The average monthly number of FoodShare recipients rose steadily in Wisconsin, from about 350,000 in 2005 to more than 850,000 in 2013, according to DHS. Last year it declined slightly, to 836,000, or 14.5 percent of the state’s population.

Under Walker, the number of FoodShare program fraud investigations has grown dramatically, from 2,098 in federal fiscal year 2010 to 6,403 in fiscal year 2014, which ended last September. These efforts have been aided by DHS’ new Office of the Inspector General and the establishment of a hotline and web portal for citizens to report suspected public assistance program fraud.

The office currently has 107 employees and an annual budget of $12.6 million. Thirty-one employees work on fraud investigation, including eight on recipient fraud. It said its fraud-fighting efforts in Medicaid, FoodShare and the Women, Infants and Children programs cost $1.3 million in the most recent state fiscal year, and generated $22.5 million in program savings, including “stopping future benefits from being fraudulently received.”

In federal fiscal year 2014, the DHS identified nearly $1.1 million in fraud-related FoodShare overpayments and collected $675,448 in overpaid benefits from current or former FoodShare recipients, said Michael McKenzie, chief of the Inspector General’s Fraud Investigation, Recovery and Enforcement Section. The overpayments accounted for 0.1 percent of the program’s total cost.

Tussler, of Hunger Task Force, calls this intense focus on ferreting out a relatively small amount of fraud “a misuse of state resources.” She said the state’s disqualifications of needy people is putting additional pressure on local food pantries.

Wisconsin Foodshare Program: Participation has grown in recent years

Wisconsin Foodshare Program: Participation has grown in recent years

How much fraud is there?

About two-thirds of last year’s FoodShare recipients were in families with children. The average monthly benefit was $112 per person and $224 per household. The total cost of the program was $1.1 billion in 2014. All of this money came from the federal government.

Nationally, the error rates for SNAP overpayments (including fraud) fell for the seventh straight year to a low of 2.6 percent in 2013, USDA numbers show. That’s the lowest error rate since the USDA began its current system of measuring in 1981.

Wisconsin’s error rate that year was 2.2 percent. In fact, Wisconsin’s error rate “has been consistently under the national average since 2008,” according to Alan Shannon, spokesman for the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service office in Chicago.

“Our error rate is low, which is great,” said White of DHS. “We want to keep it low.” His office’s mission is “to protect state and federal money,” he said. “Our responsibility is to the taxpayers. Those are our stakeholders.”

DHS statistics show that fraud accounts for a small share of FoodShare program overpayments. During the past three fiscal years, from 2012 through 2014, 10 percent of the total $13.2 million in overpayments collected by the state were attributed to client fraud. A larger share of this amount, 14 percent, was blamed on agency error. And the vast majority (76 percent) was chalked up to “inadvertent” errors by recipients.

While the state’s incidence of FoodShare fraud may be slight, it remains a major talking point among conservative politicians.

U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Wisconsin, recently urged an audience in Oshkosh to keep an eye on people they see using FoodShare at the grocery store, saying “some people are arranging their life to be on FoodShare,” according to the Oshkosh Northwestern.

Wisconsin Foodshare Program: Reasons for overpayments

Wisconsin Foodshare Program: Reasons for overpayments

And Gov. Walker, a likely presidential contender, drew what the Wisconsin State Journal called “some of his biggest applause” at an Iowa summit when he talked about requiring food stamp beneficiaries to be drug-free and seeking employment.

Beginning April 1, all able-bodied adult FoodShare recipients without dependents must work or participate in job training, or both, for at least 80 hours a month, or meet an exemption, to keep getting benefits. It has been estimated that half of the 62,000 recipients in this category could lose benefits.

Walker has also proposed, in his 2015-17 budget, to seek a federal waiver to allow the state to require that FoodShare recipients be tested for drug use, and receive treatment if they test positive. Republicans on the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee, on a 12-4 party line vote, added a provision to make recipients who report FoodShare cards lost or stolen, as happens about 130,000 times a year, absorb the roughly $3.50 replacement cost.

And lawmakers plan to introduce a bill to seek a federal waiver to require FoodShare recipients to use benefit cards that include their photos. The measure would cost an estimated $2 million a year.

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49 thoughts on “State Crackdown on Food Stamp Fraud”

  1. PMD says:

    As far as requiring 2/3 of all food items to be healthy, the evidence that this is a problem is flimsy. One Rep from Saukville said he’s heard that many people are buying lobster with food stamps. I call BS. I also wonder if these legislators are aware of the neighborhoods many food stamp recipients live in and the lack of of businesses selling fruit and vegetables and the healthy food items they have in mind. This sure seems like the type of government overreach the GOP typically decries and a solution in search of a a problem.

  2. AG says:

    Anyone who actually knows the system knows that the biggest areas of fraud are from people selling their cards for .50 cents on the dollar and people who report false income levels. If we just start putting pictures on the cards and do a better job of verifying income we’d hit the vast majority of the fraud and we can worry less about punishing someone who is innocent of wrong doing.

  3. AG says:

    PMD, if the system works for the WIC program why is it such a bad idea for the foodshare program? We only care about the children’s health and not adults?

  4. PMD says:

    Yes that’s exactly what I said AG. Verbatim. We don’t care about the health of adults. You got it.

  5. AG says:

    Yeah, I took that trick right out of the PMD play book. 🙂

  6. PMD says:

    Do I always put words in your mouth AG? If so I’ll have to work on that.

  7. AG says:

    Yeah, it happens quite a bit with your leading questions. I got rather excited to turn the tables today.

  8. PMD says:

    Wow you must lead one boring life if that’s all it takes to excite you.

  9. Tweed says:

    I love this subject since this is my bread and butter.
    While the representative’s statement “keep an eye on people they see using FoodShare at the grocery store, saying “some people are arranging their life to be on FoodShare,” is sickening fraud is very real thing in the program.
    What the article fails to mention is that rather than the allegation of fraud (showing intent) there is also another outcome listed as “abuse”. If these were just mistakes dealing with the paperwork or properly reporting eligibility the case would designated as abuse rather than fraud. The criteria to label an allegation as fraud is quite high so one really has to be bold and get caught almost red handed. Social media plays an important role because some people are bold enough to advertise their cards for sale on there or other avenues of unreported income.

  10. PMD says:

    I’ve heard of people selling their cards on the web. I don’t doubt that is an issue. I don’t believe, and please correct me if I’m wrong, that a plethora of food stamp recipients are purchasing lobsters. I also think the food desert issue is real.

  11. Tweed says:

    The food desert theory has been debunked especially in MKE…maybe food swamp but not desert.
    Personally…who cares if they buy lobster??? It’s food and if they choose to purchase expensive items that deplete their funds sooner that’s their choice. That complaint is coming from the same party that bemoans big goverment in private citizens lives.

    What I think really gets at the goad (and rightfully so) of right leaning people are the people who tend to lean left defend fraudsters and saying that DHS is just be a big old meaning by picking on them. You would think that these folks would be out in front wanting to stop the fraud waste and abuse of this precious benefit.

  12. PMD says:

    It seems that many in the state legislature care about lobster purchases. What’s the difference between a food swamp and a food desert exactly? And who is defending people committing fraud? Do you have specific examples?

  13. Tweed says:

    From the article “But advocates for FoodShare recipients say the state is being overly aggressive, punishing needy people who make innocent mistakes.”

    Desert vs Swamp: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/all-we-can-eat/food-politics/food-deserts-vs-swamps-the-usd.html

  14. PMD says:

    I don’t think that quote should be read as defending people who knowingly commit fraud. That’s a reach.

    If there is no silver bullet, is the Legislature’s proposal to require recipients to spend two-thirds of their benefits on healthy food the best way to go?

  15. Tweed says:

    Well that’s your opinion and that’s my opinion but rather than talk about differences lets discuss solutions.

    AG’s idea about including a photo ID on the card isn’t bad but how about treat the use of the food share card like other financial transactions. Train and require that every purchase made with the card a photo ID has to be presented. I can see opponents lumping that in with the voter ID laws but it’s a start since you needed a photo ID to initially enroll in the program.
    I used to really get behind the idea of requiring people to purchase “healthy” foods but there is a very high systems cost. Every single provider accepting Food Share cards would have to upgrade their inventory systems to determine what is marked as healthy and what is not in order to submit that to the department.
    One thing I do like that I’ve seen is purchasing tokens at some of the Farmer’s markets around town. I don’t remember if they do this but I think it would be great if using your Food Share card it could give you double the purchasing power via the tokens. $10 charge to the card gives you $20 in tokens.

  16. PMD says:

    That sounds like a similar idea to the one mentioned in the article you linked to, which gave people in New York $2 for every $5 they spend at a farmer’s market. Something like that seems more practical than mandating the purchase of healthy foods.

  17. Tweed says:

    Something similar is done in Oakland too.
    If we did this in Wisconsin could it be construed as favoring one type of vendor over another though? Or favoring those in urban areas over participants in rural areas? What would keep vendors from places like 7 mile fair from accepting tokens for merchandise?
    Just trying to be devil’s advocate and bring things to their logical conclusion.

  18. Urban Dweller says:

    State government was created, and office-holders are elected, to serve the citizens of Wisconsin – and that means ALL of the citizens, not just the tea-party bigots and skinflints who voted for our corrupt Governor. These people are derelict in their duty.

  19. PMD says:

    Tweed I think you’ve already put more thought into it than our state legislators have. They seem fixated on people buying shellfish with food stamps (true or not) as opposed to generating workable ideas that would save money and improve health.

  20. Tim says:

    Tweed, there are farmers’ markets in rural areas too! Also, I’m guessing the answer to unscrupulous vendors accepting tokens for merchandise instead of food, would be the same thing that keeps stores only accepting specially designated WIC products & not whatever is available.

    Enforcement. No enforcement, we’ll get more stores abetting fraud.

  21. Ron says:

    How much does it cost tax payers for salary and all department costs to go after food stamp fraud? What is our return on investment to clean up the misrepresentation of nonqualified recipients? Is the saving monetarily justifiable?

  22. Big Al says:

    People buying shellfish with foodstamps – here’s the story that’s got the GOP’s undies in a bundle: http://www.foodstamps.org/articles/article/2014/02/25/surfer-dude-resurfaces-to-give-update-on-his-food-stamps-use

    I don’t think anyone is going to defend this guy, but to spend as much time as the Legislature is on this issue must mean that the budget is balanced, everyone has a job, and soon all of us will be living in a utopian society.

    Every program has fraud (check out WEDC!). Enforcement needs to balance stopping fraud with making sure honest people aren’t overly burdened. The problem with the current Administration is that poor people are pilloried as dishonest, while other groups are portrayed as making honest mistakes.

  23. PMD says:

    Yeah didn’t Fox News devote hours and hours of programming to one idiot who bought lobster with food stamps? He doesn’t live in Wisconsin though, and I’ve yet to hear about people here using food stamps to buy shellfish. Speaking of WEDC, we should drug test every employee of every company to receive any money from them.

  24. Tweed says:

    My wife(hard working single mother) was on food share before we were married and regularly bought shrimp with her food share. There….let some idiot wanna be neo con run us up the flag pole now because she bought shell fish…..

    It’s hard to measure the ROI on the admin cost of a “fraud department” (really Program Integrity) because you can only reliably track what has already been obtained by fraudulent means but not what could also continued to be gained or also the mitigation effect that such a program offers.

  25. AG says:

    OK, the shellfish thing is kind of a sideshow… if anything, it is pointing to the fact that this program is supposed to be a lifeline for those who really need help to literally survive. From my own experiences, which is of course a non scientific sampling, a good number of people who receive foodshare benefits don’t view it as spending other people’s money. This is money given by those who have to those who have not, in order for those without substantial means to get the nutrition they need so they don’t starve. If someone is purchasing candy, deserts, or any luxury food item, are they getting more benefits than they need?

    The far bigger problem stems from people selling their benefits. When I worked a second job in a retail setting, I had quite a few coworkers who readily admitted to selling their benefits and offered to do so to me regularly. This wasn’t the majority, but there were a good number of people.

    As with any program, maintaining the programs integrity is important to keeping it functioning properly and helping those who truly need it.

  26. PMD says:

    Is it even possible to afford luxury food items on a food stamp budget? And how do we define what the appropriate amount of candy and dessert is? I agree with your broader points AG, but do you have any hesitation about the government dictating how much or how little candy and dessert people can buy? I also wonder about the two-thirds requirement. That seems high. It’s not as if my family buys nothing but red meat and ice cream but there’s no way tho-thirds of our food purchases are healthy.

  27. AG says:

    PMD I think we’re pretty much on the same page, if only off in a few nuances of the situation. The presumption I was using was that if you’re using the foodshare to buy expensive steaks and lobster (metaphorically speaking) then you probably don’t need all the benefits you’re receiving.

    I don’t think the government should dictate what food people buy with their own money. But the responsible thing to do is make sure that when people spend money given to them by others that it’s done in a responsible way. There are families who do not qualify for foodshare yet struggle within their own budgets and thus can not afford “luxury” food. (Weird term, I know… )

    I still haven’t seen a good argument against running the foodshare program more like the WIC program.

  28. PMD says:

    How did the legislature come up with two-thirds? Is two-thirds the benchmark for the WIC program? Again that sounds high to me. Do vegetarians and vegans even spend two-thirds of their food budget on healthy items? And since healthier foods tend to be expensive, will the two-thirds requirement significantly reduce how much food they are able to buy with their benefits?

  29. PMD says:

    Wow the average American spends less than 5% of their food budget on fruits and green vegetables.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/bethhoffman/2013/03/18/one-way-to-be-healthier-dont-eat-like-the-average-american/

  30. Milwaukeean says:

    I will always understand the need for social services for certain populations of our community. But, why should those social services (like Food Share) fall on the backs of tax payers? To some level, shouldn’t the non-tax paying non-profits, churches, etc…carry most of these costs?

    Where is the “help thy neighbor” preaching, church-going, feed the poor folks at in Milwaukee? It seems a bit ironic that the same folks who love their church and God, are the same folks who do not want their own tax dollars to help “thy neighbor”.

  31. PMD says:

    Do churches and nonprofits have the finances or resources to carry most of the costs?

  32. Big Al says:

    The churches that have the most resources to assist would be the megachurches like Elmbrook. However, the majority of churches don’t look anything like Elmbrook; most of the older, smaller churches don’t have the resources to provide the kind of assistance that would be needed if the government ended its involvement. Based on my experience at 3 different churches in 3 different cities, after we paid for the pastor, secretary, janitor, utilities and mortgage, there was very little left to do much else.

    I think there are lots of “help thy neighbor” folks in town; I think there’s more need out there than those people can help on their own.

  33. AG says:

    PMD, WIC doesn’t dictate how you spend your total food budget, it instead gives you specific amounts to which you can spend on various food categories as found here: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/publications/p4/p44578.pdf

    I don’t even know that foodshare needs to be that specific… but they can certainly reign things in more than they do now.

  34. R says:

    Do all if you really think this is an issue?

    How does it effect you?

    Are all of you employed?

    Own a home?

    Have credit card debit?

    Do you have a “profile” of people that are in need?

    What do you think these people look like?

  35. T2 says:

    So…none of you are have ever been on food share?

    So…do you know anyone that is?

    What do you think someone should not buy lobster on food share?

    What food should they buy on food share?

    Do you really care?

    Do you donate to feed starving people in other countries?

    Do you have a “profile” of what a person looks like that has food share?

    Do you think they are clean? Have a car? Live in the in suburbs of the city?

  36. Ben says:

    This program is supposed to be about getting food to hungry kids, not a vehicle to compete in our present national “lets shame the unfortunate” contest. I remember my schoolmates taking food from the school’s garbage to bring home to their families in the late 80’s im sure its worse today.

    Race seems to be a motivating factor in the drive to “supervise” poor people. Here is an example of someone who could have used supervision. Careful readers will note a shift in language.

    http://fox6now.com/2015/03/26/whitefish-bay-couple-accused-of-stealing-115000-from-state-in-fraud-scheme/
    http://fox6now.com/2015/02/15/state-seeks-no-criminal-charges-in-99-8-of-fraudulent-unemployment-claims/

  37. PMD says:

    I’m sure that’s true AG, but two-thirds seems random and unrealistic. It makes me question the true motives of the legislators. It does seem more about shaming than helping people (a la Kansas).

  38. Milwaukeean says:

    My point about the Churches and non-profits was that they mostly do “outreach” in other countries (See Elmbrook ministries) instead of in their own communities. Besides, shouldn’t the tax-exempt Churches put most of their resources back into the community to which they are tax-exempt (and subsequently preach politics behind the pullpit)?

  39. AG says:

    Why does this have to be about shaming instead of actually wanting the program that’s designed to help people in need to help people in need?

    Let me take a turn at T2’s questions because they address many of the concerns here:

    So…none of you are have ever been on food share? Thankfully, no.

    So…do you know anyone that is? Many. Family, friends, and current and former coworkers.

    [Why] do you think someone should not buy lobster on food share? Because it’s expensive and you can get a lot more food for the cost of one lobster. but this hold true for many other foods that are high priced when you can get an alternative in greater qty for less.

    What food should they buy on food share? Food to help them sustain a healthy life.

    Do you really care? Yes, very much.

    Do you donate to feed starving people in other countries? No, but I regularly donate to and volunteer at 2 local food banks.

    Do you have a “profile” of what a person looks like that has food share? No, they can be in the city, burbs, or country. You’d be surprised.

    Do you think they are clean? Have a car? Live in the in suburbs of the city? See above.

    My position comes from the point of view that you should only seek assistance if you truly need it, use it on things you truly need, and spend it as responsibly as possible. This is what the most people on assistance do… but there’s still plenty who abuse it or take it for granted.

  40. PMD says:

    It doesn’t have to be about shaming people AG, but I’m not convinced that our current legislature is truly dedicated to helping people in the most sensible ways possible as opposed to shaming them. When they talk about hearing stories about people buying lobster as their evidence as to why the two-thirds requirement is a good idea, it makes me question their motives.

    Who decides exactly what food helps recipients sustain a healthy lifestyle, and how much of that food they should be required to buy? Is the legislature trying to work with experts on this, or are they just deciding for themselves based on their anecdotes? And is it reasonable to be concerned about the expense of healthier food items and whether or not recipients will not be able to afford as much food every month if two-thirds of their purchases have to be healthy items?

  41. AG says:

    Nutritionists? Michelle Obama? My mother?

    It’s probably easier to say what does NOT qualify… candy, chips, soda, etc.

    Frankly though, I’m more concerned with the fraud than the types of food their getting. Although I’d still rather see them buying frozen pizza’s and peanut butter than I would cheetos and mountain dew. But thats nothing I can quantify. I would like, and what this article focuses on, is making sure it’s going to and used by the people who really need the assistance.

  42. PMD says:

    Ha I’m sure your mom knows all about healthy eating. I agree that fraud is a bigger concern. Fraud is no good.

  43. AG says:

    She actually does. 🙂

  44. PMD says:

    I believe you. Most moms do. Mine has long lamented my eating habits.

  45. This crackdown has little to do with any fairness or saving $ for state, rather it’s designed to punish certain folks for not working. Although the guv, continues to drive good jobs from our once very proud state. Beating up on the most underprivileged and poor is pure hate. Included in this unfortunate group are disabled, mentally challenged and ex convicts. This program was designed to give these folks a hand up. Many are undereducated and can’t or don’t make home made meals. I would like to know the whole cost of this enforcement compared to the $ saved. The enforcement staff appears to be high paid “placeholders”. Is there any restriction on purchasing the highest costing red meat steaks. Not that I know of. Why selectively pick out shell fish?? Is this crackdown funded by the red meat industry?? Put some of food stamp budget into outreach and education programs that actually work. With this continual beating up of the poor, this effort is bound to backfire. Stomp these unfortunates further into the ground and crime rate is likely to go up. Not big time crime but much more petty stuff so people can eat and feed their families. Remove funding here and move it to law enforcement and incarceration initiatives. This is the new Wisconsin sponsored and led by the guv. Signed Respectfully, GDM.

  46. T2 says:

    FoodShare Wisconsin-Anyone can apply for food share. You maybe able to enroll if: your family income is a or below the monthly program income….
    1 person net $958. Max benefit $189.
    2 people net $1293 Max benefit $347
    3 people net $1628 Max benefit $497
    4 people net $1963 Max benefit $632
    5 people net $2298 Max benefit $750
    6 people net $2522 Max benefit $900
    7 people net $2968 Max benefit $995
    8 people net $3303 Max benefit $1137

    You are a Wisconsin resident and you are a US citizen or qualifying immigrant.

    ANYONE CAN APPLY FOR FOODSHARE.

    Why did you think it is just for children? Underprivileged means what? Disabled, mentally challenged,. What is mentally challenged? Isn’t that under the umbrella of disabled? Undereducated? Really? Interesting….

    Someone has a profile of people that receive Foodshare….ANYONE CAN APPLY.
    __
    Unfortunate situations happen to people. Hardship happens. And the compassion seems to be criticism and exploiting them and judging.
    Lobster….it was on sale…2 small lobster tails were $17.99 at Aldis.

    Food to help them sustain a healthy life? What does that mean? Do you sustain a healthy life with food?

    Do you really care? Yes, very much. What is it that you care very much about?

    Do you donate to feed starving people in other countries? No, but I regularly donate to and volunteer at 2 local food banks. What do you donate to and volunteer at 2 local food banks. Are food banks or food pantries?
    Does it make you feel good volunteer….
    Do think America should send food and money etc to other countries in need to help them out? We do. And if we have money and food etc for other countries….we should have money and food etc for US.

    Do you have a “profile” of what a person looks like that has food share? No, they can be in the city, burbs, or country. You’d be surprised.
    Um….”profile”….what a person looks like. You didn’t answer that.

    Do you think they are clean? Have a car? Live in the in suburbs of the city? See above.
    I think you may have a “profile” of a food share recipient…

    My position comes from the point of view that you should only seek assistance if you truly need it, use it on things you truly need, and spend it as responsibly as possible. This is what the most people on assistance do… but there’s still plenty who abuse it or take it for granted.

    Truly need….honestly need…you can’t need. Spend what? Assistance….yeah…we all need help now and then…but are judged…and put down…

    You don’t know till it happens to you…

    Fraud is everywhere…someone will always try to get over on someone or something….Sad….

    Thank you all for your comments….don’t beat us up….because tax dollars help people in need. Don’t worry, the Gov won’t take all your money to help people…Alan White, appointed in 2011 to a newly created position of inspector general within DHS…your money is paying for his position.

  47. AG says:

    T2, from your responses… it looks like the person in this conversation with a “profile” in their mind is you. You’re making an awful lot of assumptions.

  48. Tweed says:

    Actively mitagating and stopping fraud is not about punishing or shaming anyone….trust me. This is really best practice and is good overall for the program.
    Food Share and other DHS entitlement programs are great but there needs to be quality controls and this is one of them.

  49. MH says:

    We were on benefits Feb 2012 because I lost my job to a person who wouldn’t doing her work call the race card. Got a job in April 2012. The county says they requested verification 5/2012 and received notification from my employer but mysteriously no income was reported. This is a lie, because I was copied on the form that was sent out to the county. Lets say for giggles they didn’t get the verification, the county tells you if you don’t verify within x time benefits cease. Received overpayment notice 2/29/12 saying I have a client error overpayment of 12K between FS and BadgerCare. 1. Why wait so long to mention someting. 2. Collected documents from my employer and have proof that the county was made aware of my income in 11/2012, remember they said they received verification 5/2012 but my employer did put my income on it, even with verification they say benefits continued for FS and BC. The FS i knew, but they were reduced so I thought it was because of my income. BC they say continued, but we had no knowledge of this. According to Dane County they allowed benefits to just roll from 2/1/2012 through 12/2013. They system magically did not terminate any services. I wasn’t given any income verification in 2013..why because in May 2012 when they said I did not report income I received letters stating that my income was over and that I had to pay 660 premium and that benefits had ended for me and my spouse. I never paid the premium it was too much. So according to the letter failure to pay the premium means no BC. Yet they say they paid insurance for my kids for 24 months without us paying them a dime. Something isn’t right, and now I have to fight. I did what I was supposed to do, my employer did what they were supposed to do providing the verification. Dane County these systems programmatically stop programs if the required proof is not received. Unless someone on the inside purposely kept the benefits going. Not likely. Scott Walker is scamming bad. If they find a small loop hole they are slapping people with fraud. I did nothing wrong. I have proof they were aware of my income since 2012 and 2013. My employer has letter requests for verification of income. So if an agency has proof that “income is too high” why continue to charge medicaid for 2 years and then go after a mother of 5 who had a short period of unemployment and bounced back taking care of her own when there is a lot of proof that the county knew my income . BECAUSE THE FRAUD IS WITHIN DHS AND SCOTT WALKER IS BEHIND IT. We are in financial ruins if I can’t fight the county. All because people didn’t do their jobs when they had all the proof in their face.

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