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The Boston Globe


Melissa Threadgill

Fixing welfare fraud requires technology reform

If you were surprised to learn that the Department of Transitional Assistance’s database isn’t automatically updated when a client dies, you’ve clearly never wrestled with a government computer system. While tech whizzes in Kendall Square develop the latest in mobile apps and cloud computing, civil servants across the state work with technology that is years out of date.

Following a state audit released last week that found the agency gave $18 million in suspicous welfare payments, there have been calls for “entitlement reform.” But making poor families jump through additional hoops or restricting eligibility won’t fix the problem. We don’t need entitlement reform — we need data reform.

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