Thousands of Dead People Receive Food Stamps in Louisiana

Tuesday, 08 Jul 2014 12:17 PM

By Andrea Billups

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More than 3,900 dead residents of Louisiana received food stamps from the state during a four-year window, costing taxpayers $1.3 million.

The food stamps were sent out between July 1, 2009, and June 30, 2013, in a screw-up discovered by the Louisiana legislative auditor, who released a report on the losses on Monday, the Times-Picayune reported.

That figure of waste only applies to single recipients of food stamps who had passed away —  money that will be difficult if not impossible to track down and recover, the state's Department of Children and Family Services said, noting that as single recipients, no other relatives likely lived with them.

The audit noted that "the likelihood of recovering these funds is very low because DCFS does not know who spent the funds and retailers usually only maintain surveillance videos for a very short period."

The agency says it hopes to do a better job tracking its payments and monitoring death reports from the state. DCFS cannot cut off food stamps to beneficiaries unless they haven't been used for a year.

Word of the costly lack of oversight is likely not to sit well with citizens or lawmakers. The state has struggled with a budget deficit for fiscal year 2014 of about $134 million, The Associated Press reported.

Louisiana, however, is not alone with such a benefits problem. In 2012, New York and Massachusetts were cited for giving out food stamps to about 2,000 dead residents, CNS News reported.


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