November 21, 2013
Kentucky taxpayers lose $4M to food stamp fraud & mismanagement. Beshear's response: "not an overwhelming problem."
Food stamp fraud and bureaucratic mismanagement cost Kentucky taxpayers $4 million – an issue that a spokesperson for Governor Steve Beshear’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services called “not an overwhelming problem.”
News stories reveal a startling, overwhelming pattern of assistance fraud, contrary to what Beshear’s bureaucrats say:
WKYT reported that the very agency that oversees the program was the source of 25% of cases of benefits overpayment. The agency estimated another 25% “were a mix of intentional program violations or suspected program violations” – or simply, benefits assistance fraud.
According to the agency, another 50% of overpayments are the result of “inadvertent” errors on the part of recipients and applicants.
Republican State Representative Robert Benvenuti of Lexington, who investigated food stamp fraud from 2004 to 2007 as Inspector General for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, expressed concern about assistance fraud and the cost to Kentucky taxpayers.
“Not properly policing these programs for fraud, waste, and abuse is disrespectful to the taxpayer and puts the truly vulnerable at greater risk,” said Benvenuti. “These programs must be very carefully administered and we must do the things necessary to expand our economy, create jobs, and better our educational system with the goal of reducing dependence on government.”
At least Representative Benvenuti is interested in looking out for Kentucky taxpayers and for effectively helping those who are less fortunate and who genuinely require assistance. It’s unfortunate, however, that Governor Beshear’s agency, which is responsible for helping administer the food stamp program, believes that costing Kentucky taxpayers $4 million is “not an overwhelming problem.”
Not properly policing these programs for fraud, waste, and abuse is disrespectful to the taxpayer and puts the truly vulnerable at greater risk. Robert Benvenuti, State Representative (Lexington)