San Diego County Finds More Welfare Fraud
Thursday, May 13, 2010
A state auditor’s report shows San Diego County uncovers more public assistance fraud then other large California counties, but the county also investigates a disproportionately high number of welfare and food stamp applicants.
Special Feature Who's Supervising San Diego?
The San Diego County Board of Supervisors controls a $5 billion budget and makes decisions affecting your health and safety. They oversee services that range from prosecuting criminals to feeding the poor. Learn about your supervisor’s priorities and how the group spends your money.
SAN DIEGO A state auditor’s report shows San Diego County uncovers more public assistance fraud than other large California counties. But the county also investigates a disproportionately high number of welfare and food stamp applicants.
CalWORKS used to be known as welfare. On average, the program provides about $500 per month in financial aid to families in need. Under state law, counties must investigate fraud in social services programs such as CalWORKS and food stamps. A state auditor’s report shows San Diego County investigates and uncovers fraud in disproportionate numbers relative to other counties in the state. In 2008, the county denied, discontinued or reduced the largest number of CalWORKS applications: more than 4200.
John Baier from the state auditor’s office says that San Diego County made up about 5 percent of the state's CalWORKS caseload in 2008, but accounted for 17 per cent of all the early fraud referrals.
The county has long been criticized for making it difficult for people in need to access public assistance. The district attorney’s office says it’s the county’s policy to investigate all new CALWORKS applicants for possible fraud. And they say they find it in nearly 25 percent of all applications.
“Every applicant goes through an eligibility interview with HHSA and then is referred to us," says John Haley, the lead investigator with the DA’s fraud division.
The state auditor's report also found San Diego County outranks all of the other counties in cost effectiveness. For every dollar it spends on investigating CalWorks, it saves $2.60 over a three-month period.
Please stay on topic and be as concise as possible. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Community Discussion Rules. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.