Missourians respond to possible changes to welfare programs
MISSOURI (KFVS) - A Missouri lawmaker has a plan to take on welfare fraud.
A proposed bill would check on recipients of programs like SNAP more often, but it wouldn't be the state handling the extra workload.
Right now the state checks welfare eligibility twice a year.
Missouri Representative Marsha Haefner wants to increase those checkups to four times a year and hire a private company to take on the task.
Claiming the move will save the state millions in welfare fraud.
When Willie Harris was down on his luck, he leaned on the Amen Center in Delta for a place to stay.
"Unfortunately my house caught on fire, and I got caught in the fire, and I was out of work for two years," said Harris.
More than 50 people call the Amen Center their temporary home and majority of them live off food stamps or receive welfare assistance, including Harris.
"I don't know how I could have survived," he said.
He said the possible changes are a good idea and would weed out those who abused the system.
The USDA claims that as much as $753 million of the $75.3 billion distributed nationally in federal food stamp programs last year may have been spent fraudulently.
Michael Gream thinks the move would keep many Missourians from getting help during their most desperate times.
He knows from experience.
A car wreck and the seven surgeries that followed have kept him out of work for months, yet he has yet to be approved for disability.
"Even applying for some of the programs I applied for, there was suspicion on me even though for 44 years of my life I never asked for anything," said Gream.
The bill would increase surveillance of people who use programs like SNAP of WIC.
Gream argued it would make matters worse.
"You can't just wipe those things out without careful consideration of what it is going to do from people who actually need it," he said.
Representative Marsha Haefner has yet to respond for comment.
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