House approves Kelly legislation to help keep dead people off welfare rolls

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The Michigan House this afternoon overwhelmingly approved legislation by state Rep. Tim Kelly to reduce welfare fraud by making it easier for the state to stop dead people and convicted felons from getting Bridge Cards.

House Bill 4042 requires the state Department of Human Services to use the U.S. Social Security Death Index database to determine if a Bridge Card recipient is deceased.  The legislation also ensures that the state would perform a monthly match of incarceration records, and deactivate the card of recipients who are in prison.

“Obviously if a dead person has been issued a Bridge Card, some type of fraud is likely taking place,” said Kelly, R-Saginaw Township.  “We must work to eliminate abuse of our state’s welfare system because taxpayers deserve an accountable and efficient government.”

If a Bridge Card has been issued to a deceased recipient, the department would be required to terminate Bridge Card access under the legislation.

“People are finding various ways to abuse our Bridge Card program, and we need to root out this type of fraud at every level,” Kelly said.  “Michigan prisoners, who already get three squares a day courtesy of state taxpayers, don’t need a Bridge Card as well.  It’s essentially a form of double dipping on the hard-working taxpayers of Michigan.  This common-sense legislation will preserve welfare dollars for people who are truly in need.”

HB 4042 now goes to the Senate for consideration.