Posts tagged "Benefits"

State House News Service Weekly Roundup: Death With Benefits

The specter of deceased citizens collecting welfare benefits haunted the marbled halls of the State House this week as Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray tied up the loose ends dangling on his six-and-a-half years with the Patrick administration and Attorney General Martha Coakley sued the Obama administration for allegedly putting fishermen on death row. Other than that, the arrival of steamy days in Boston ushered in a post-Memorial Day and budget week lull at the State House with the governor out of town, politicos watching two special elections and committees plodding forward with bill hearings while lawmakers wait for word from on high about their next big votes. Congressman Ed Markey and Republican Gabriel Gomez also continued sniping from a distance in the lead-up to next week’s first debate, with First Lady Michelle Obama and song lady Carole King both in Massachusetts to campaign for Markey. Click here to subscribe to MASSterlist, a free morning newsletter by State House News Service that highlights political news from a wide array of newspapers and journals in Massachusetts and New England Auditor Suzanne Bump released a blockbuster audit of the Department of Transitional Assistance alleging $ 15 million in questionable spending on welfare benefits, including 1,164 cases totaling $ 2.4 million in benefits flowing to enrollees after they were reported deceased or to recipients using a dead person’s Social Security number.  If Auditor Suzanne Bump was seeking to make a name for herself as a nonpartisan watchdog of the public purse, she hit the jackpot with this one. The report played perfectly into the hands of Republicans and conservative Democrats eager to jump on any morsel of evidence that welfare benefits are being abused. What Bump might not have been expecting, however, was the tone of the pushback from Gov. Deval Patrick and his administration who had little positive to say about his former labor secretary’s work. And it’s not the first time the accuracy of Bump’s auditing has been questioned. Patrick told the Herald he found it “infuriating” that Bump’s office had only released the details on 178 cases reviewed in the audit, of which his team found that only 17 were problematic. The spin required walking a fine line: Yes, one case of fraud is too many, but a 99.9 percent success rate ain’t bad either. Asked whether the Democrat was doing a good job in her role as auditor, Patrick said, “I think it’s too soon to say.” Bump has been auditor for two and a half years. Unlike other audits, this one isn’t likely to fade soon and will feed into the debate when Senate President Therese Murray files her comprehensive welfare […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - June 1, 2013 at 5:26 am

Categories: Arrests   Tags: , , , , , , ,

Local Veterans Face Long Waits for VA Benefits

Returning veterans are now facing a new enemy at home—long wait times for their disability claims. The waiting times started increasing in 2010 when U.S. troops were withdrawn from Iraq causing a dramatic uptick in first-time filers, according to the Center for Investigative Reporting.  The data found that in most regional VA offices, not only did waiting times increase, but they vary dramatically with location: about 508 days in Baltimore, Maryland and 134 days in Fargo, North Dakota. The national average now stands at about 11 months, which is dramatically higher than in 2009 when it was 116 days. Claims sent to the VA’s Boston office take on average 411.6 days to process a disability claim. That’s more than 13 months before the average claimant gets a decision.  The backlog has also partly been blamed on the VA still using paper to process their claims. In 2011, the Department started implementing a computerized system in several of its regional offices. However, despite spending $ 537 million on the new program and employing 3,300 claims processors, 97 percent of veterans’ claims are still on paper. Still, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki pledged back in March that the VA will end the enormous backlog by 2015. While Memorial Day, which is celebrated this Monday, is officially a day for remembering and honoring military personnel who died in the service of their country, in practice it’s often a day to recognize living veterans locally.  The data above was obtained by The Center for Investigative Reporting from the Department of Veteran’s Affairs and is updated weekly.  South End Patch


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - May 26, 2013 at 9:11 am

Categories: Arrests   Tags: , , , , ,