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Letters

Don’t jump to conclusion that state welfare system is rife with fraud

Re “Confidence in welfare system depends on preventing abuse” (Editorial, March 3): The Globe got it right when it said that what’s most unfortunate about the welfare controversy is how it undermines critical programs that help prevent hunger and homelessness for thousands of children and elders in Massachusetts.

But it’s also unfortunate that the Globe gave the impression that programs are rampant with eligibility fraud. The inspector general’s report did not find fraud. It did not find that $25 million in welfare benefits are wasted. It did not say that the families were ineligible or were overpaid. The report found gaps in the agency’s record-keeping. As the inspector general pointed out, once the Department of Transitional Assistance fills these gaps, the state might find that all the families were eligible for benefits.

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The fraud found by the state auditor amounts to less than one-fifth of 1 percent of welfare and food stamp benefits.

It’s time to stop repeating the myth of widespread abuse, as it will only pressure the agency to delay or deny benefits to desperately needy residents.

Georgia Katsoulomitis

Executive director

Masssachusetts Law Reform

Institute

Boston

Carol J. Trust

Executive director

National Association

of Social Workers,

Massachusetts chapter

Boston

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