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Skeptical Senate Eyes Welfare Fraud

The New Hampshire Senate is expected to take up legislation Wednesday to curb welfare fraud.

Some state Senators aren’t convinced there is a problem worth solving.

Under the House-passed plan, the state would expand screening of low-income families before they can receive cash benefits.

Supporters say cheating the system erodes public support for programs like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families – the state’s welfare program.

But given low rates of fraud, the Department of Health and Human Services says additional screening may cost more money than it would save.

Sarah Mattson, an attorney with New Hampshire Legal Assistance, says the Senate Finance Committee has crafted an amendment with that warning in mind.  

“It says to the Department, absolutely you have the flexibility to implement a system like this, but you need to only do it if it’s going to pay for itself.”

Currently about 7,500 families receive monthly benefits from the state’s welfare program.

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