DCFS: Changes in place to stop payments to deceased
BATON ROUGE - The Department of Children and Family Services is feeling the heat today after an audit uncovered a lot of money being spent by people it wasn't intended for.
Over a four-year period the department paid out food stamp benefits to dead people, and the price tag reached over a million dollars according to auditors.
"This is a significant number and really any number (is significant) because this is taxpayer dollars," said Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera.
DCFS said between 2009 and 2013, around $1 billion in total food benefits were paid out in Louisiana. The legislative auditor said $1.3 million was paid out to dead people on their food stamp cards and those funds were spent by someone else illegally.
"Those benefits were used by individuals who weren't eligible to receive them," said Purpera. "We found $500,000 was paid to deceased (recipients) for four or more months."
DCFS said in a written statement that they take all cases of fraud very seriously. They said they already set up a new system to check vital statistics quicker and the new process will reduce the time it takes for a death record to become available and certified in order for the household to be determined no longer eligible for benefits.
DCFS said it is investigating and will seek payback and arrests of anyone who fraudulently spent the money.