Thursday, July 1, 2010

We are back to the Gee, Who Knew posts, this time on utilities for the poor.

From the Houston Chronicle
Feds wasted millions in utilities program for poor
MIAMI — A federal program designed to help impoverished families heat and cool their homes wasted more than $100 million paying the electric bills of thousands of applicants who were dead, in prison or living in million-dollar mansions, according to a government investigation.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services spent $5 billion through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program in 2009, doling out money to states with little oversight of the program. Some states don't verify applicants' identifies or income. For example, the program helped pay the electric bill of a woman who lives in a $2 million home in a wealthy Chicago suburb and drives a Mercedes, according to the yet-to-be released report obtained by The Associated Press.
The Government Accountability Office studied the program after a 2007 investigation by Pennsylvania's state auditor found 429 applicants received more than $162,000 using the Social Security numbers of dead people.
The GAO investigated Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and Virginia, which represented about one-third of the program's funding in 2009. The agency found improper payments in about 9 percent of households receiving benefits in those states, totaling $116 million.
The report comes after a dramatic increase in the size of the assistance checks as fuel oil costs soared in 2008 and 2009.
Read more here.  Are you disgusted by this, I am.  I know there are many non-government programs that help people in need.  I would bet they do not have this rate of fraud.

1 comment:

  1. One of the first things you learn when you start to personally help is - don't give money. Pay the bill, buy the food or clothing, fix the vehicle, get the item that is needed. It will save a lot of anguish and frustration.
    On the flip side, as the person needing the help - be very specific. I can't pay this bill. I can't fix this vehicle. My kids don't have. You realize real fast what you can and can't do without.