Senator Kathleen Ives on Welfare Reform Bill

Kathleen O'Connor Ives
Kathleen O’Connor Ives

By: Senator Kathleen O’Connor Ives

BOSTON – Following a press conference that Senate President Therese Murray held Monday morning, the Senate is due to take up a comprehensive welfare reform bill on Thursday aimed at making state assistance transitional. The bill addresses cyclical issues that prevent recipients from transitioning off of welfare as well as identifying real measures in preventing fraud. The bill includes measures such as:

1. Requires that photo identification be added to electronic benefit transfer, or EBT cards by August 2014.

2. Requires the welfare fraud hotline number be issued on all newly issued EBT cards.

3. An employment search program that includes incentives for businesses who participate, as well as a public private partnership.

4. Technology upgrades that will enable real time authenticity of applicants, as well as requiring applicants sign under the pains and penalties of perjury.

5. Valid social security numbers will be requires and reduces the time allowed for recipients to leave the state and continue to receive benefits.

6. Increases work requirement exemption age from 60 to 66.

7. Reduces the allowable benefit extension beyond the 24 month benefit period from 6 months to 3 months.

State Senator Kathleen O’Connor Ives had filed legislation in January and testified in support of Senate Bill 61, “Act Relative to Welfare Reform” which would require electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards bear recipients’ photographs on the cards in order to assist in confirming identity.

A key component of O’Connor Ives’ proposal is for the Department of Transitional Assistance to utilize the Registry of Motor Vehicle’s system as a repository for photos in order to save cost.

In early February, the Inspector General released a report finding that an estimated $25 million in welfare funds has gone to individuals ineligible to receive those monies and State Auditor Suzanne Bump released a report just last week that highlighted a total of $2.39 million in benefits were distributed to the deceased.

“When fraud results in the misuse of these resources there are two groups on the losing end-the people that genuinely need transitional assistance and the taxpayers who’ve lost confidence in the process.

This bill takes essential steps necessary to combat fraud in the system while still assisting those that truly need this assistance such as elderly, disabled and children,” O’Connor Ives said.


One Response to "Senator Kathleen Ives on Welfare Reform Bill"

  1. resid mass   August 13, 2013 at 5:50 PM

    I happen to have 150+ friends and acquaintances who are self declared illegal in the USA. They live in Framingham, Marlborough, Northborough, Westborough, Shrewsbury, Milford and Worcester for the most part. They are very nice people, church going, many with children etc. Most all do extremely well economically and given the fact they never pasted a High School education. They grew up in from areas where the school system was a bit backward so they feel that they are better off here. They miss mostly their families such as uncles, aunts, fathers and mothers.

    At the same time, I ask about the largest expenditure we all pay every year, state and federal taxes. So as I ask open ended questions of them about payment of taxes etc. I almost always get the same answer although not 100% of the time.

    For example, when I ask a self declared illegal person, do you pay your taxes? The answer is almost always …yes. Then I ask well how do you pay them without a SSN? They then say they pay taxes when they purchase something. So that begs the next question. Do you go to a tax preparer and they say absolutely not but I will when I become legal.

    I am also told that they do go to a tax preparer and then the next question is… do you have a TIN number? They then ask what that is and I have to explain that it is the number you use in place of a SSN for people who are undocumented or have businesses. They then concede and say they do not pay nor wish to pay taxes.

    Many people I know are married in their home country but here have separate last names. I’ve been told is that with different names that can more easily gain free child care, free lunches, health care and other state assistance. They do this without a SSN and with a SSN that does not match their name.

    In regards to healthcare they have a limited version of MassHealth but end u paying nothing for a bill. Their children get completely free all medical services and $2 prescriptions even if they came here illegally. Many drive new 2012 and 2013 cars/trucks, they have very nice apartments and get to take trips to places like Disney land. Yes, you can fly being illegal here, only need a passport and there is no VISA check.

    So they pay an extra $1,000 a year to insure a car but pay lower fines when caught than a legal person. Repeat driving to endanger and DUIs are not treated equally as a licensed person for the four cases I know of. They are still here, driving, working etc. Make around $500 a day under the table and pay no state or federal taxes.

    If this irritates you and you wish to try to find out the truth you can do the following. Next time you hire someone ask about the TIN number, if you’re in a park with your kids, start a conversation and ask some open ended questions like how is it paying taxes here compared to where you come from?

    After the years of asking questions and being sick to my stomach don’t you think I haven’t tried to call authorities? I have and guess what? No action taken. Local police, Senators, Congressmen, Deprt of Revenue, IRS, Transitional Assistance, Masshealth etc. I am hopeful that the RMV will take action.

    Illegal aliens are NOT checked for past crimes within their country when they walk over the border. Also not checked for vaccinations, diseases etc. A rapist/murderer/robber/child abuser can easily enter into many homes here as a carpenter, housekeeper or landscaper.

    Free College: Remember that if you file for a scholarship, assistance, full medical prescription and health plan you do not need a SSN nor do any state or federal taxes. Just a passport from your parent country and a credit card or electric bill for proof of residency. I know of a few doing this plus green card holders.

    They are not afraid of the government or police. Thousands drive out of the area every day, speeding, texting clients and friends while driving etc. They pay $1,000 if caught driving without a license and that is it. You pay $1,200 in insurance premiums due to loss of points and the original $50 fine plus some lost time.

    Many illegals own businesses in Northborough, Marlborough, Westborough, Milford, Worcester. Contractors do not need to be legal to run a business because a SSN is not necessary in certain towns. Insurance as well or you simply pay a legal person to use their SSN and the pay is very good for just taking a small risk. There is no prosecution if caught in fact only recently will anyone get prosecuted for fraudulently receiving state aid.

    Illegals drive by paying a legal friend the typical $1,000 a year to register/insure their car. Some people have many cars just in their name.

    The law is Chapter 90 Section 12 – Employing unlicensed motor vehicle operator, permitting person with suspended or revoked license to operate motor vehicle.

    The fine is $500, indeed the risk is well worth the payment. I recently called Enforcement of the RMV and it seems to be new information to them.

    A false passport can be purchase locally for $100. A false social security number of a deceased person I am told can be purchased locally for less than $500. Making false SSN cards is not highly punishable unless you make many of them. You can easily find articles about this by Googling it.

    What you can do:

    The ONLY way you can be reasonably certain if a person who is working on your property is legal is to calmly and apologetically ask for a Massachusetts Driver’s License or ID and check it carefully.

    Most illegals have a Florida, Michigan, Washington licenses because they could fraudulently get them 2 years ago.

    Check your; housekeeper, carpenter, roofing company, painter, painting company, granite counter installer, paver, mason, house contractor, etc

    Look at your cashed checks to see where they were deposited. They will be signed once or twice and not by the person you gave the check to.

    Report any illegal to the department of revenue, police, IRS, Masshealth and post the names, addresses here. Homeland Security is your last option, they may treat you like a criminal if you call them. From you endorsed checks, copy them and send the info to the DOR and let the sponsoring bank know what you are doing.

    A word about Homeland security: If immigration (homeland security) takes someone into custody then other immigration laws are engaged and the person becomes legal here if they did not commit crimes such as rape, murder etc. Tax evasion is not an ICE concern and neither is Masshealth, food stamp fraud etc. Do not call immigration unless you wish that person to receive all US citizen benefits and go in front of real immigrants who want to follow the law. Don’t believe it? Call the number below and prepare yourself to be highly insulted.

    Report illegals or persons conducting business, driving a car/truck/van without a Massachusetts driver’s license, with the suspicion of;

    “Fraudulently not reporting income or out of country land / real estate holdings to gain Massachusetts state benefits or evade state/federal taxes”

    Send the information to the following (Please send me your e-mail because I probably can give you more information on what to do)

    Don’t waste your time with the police because they are as frustrated as you. Ask a passing officer for his/her opinion.

    MasshealthOperations Dept. Fraud Division

    100 Hancock St.

    6th Floor

    Quincy, Mass



    fax – 617 847 3148

    Mass Rent Assistance


    Transitional Assistance (Food Stamps)

    Fraud Hotline at 1-800-372-8399.

    DOR –Dept of Revenue Massachusetts

    1-800 792-5254 or at 617-887-6780 no address is given

    Department Transitional Assistance

    600 Washington Street

    Boston, Massachusetts 02111

    Attn: Fraud Investigation Unit

    Fax: (617) 210-5259 Fraud Hotline 1-800-FRAUD99

    RMV-DOT 10 Park Plaza Boston, Ma 02116

    Attn – Enforcement – c/o Dixie


    Scholarship Fraud Line 1-800-MIS-USED

    In closing, I have related some negative things about a group of people. Not everyone is defrauding the tax payers and system of Massachusetts and the USA. You can form an opinion easily by asking serious questions rather than perhaps just relying on the media.

    This is only my experience based upon 7 years of meeting many immigrants, many of whom choose to come here for a better life but nobody I know was starving there. They most all had opportunities to study, get scholarships, work and go to college. Health care is free but socialized so there is a wait much like the one in the local ER.

    Yes, I’ve been to multiple large public hospitals in South America and there is less technology and more emphasis on physician education and time spent with the patient. All in all the cost of living and quality of living seems to be as good as central Massachusetts with crime as an issue in large cities as it is here. You can read the statistics but walking the streets of some major cities along with some real rural areas may give you a better vantage point.

    What recently happened?