Regarding the Schweich TANF Audit

Jeanette Mott Oxford, Executive Director for Missouri Association for Social Welfare, fires back some questions after Auditor Tom Schweich’s finding that some TANF benefits were spent “questionably.”

 

1.  The combined questioned payments — $722,000 out of approximately $117,180,000 in total benefits issued — represents just 8/10ths of 1% of all payments.  That’s probably a better track record than most state programs, including tax credits to “job creators.”

 

2.  “Exclusively out of state” use of cards needs more information before it should be taken as gospel.  For example, with much of our state population living close to a border (we are surrounded by eight states), a significant chunk could be attributable to people who live in

Missouri but bank and shop in Iowa (as Clark County residents often do), Illinois or Kansas, etc.  A few could also be living out of state to take care of a sick relative or for some other acceptable reason.

 

3.  The lack of state staff available to investigate clients means that a few people can beat the system.  The question becomes “how cost effective is it to spend a lot of money to save less than a part of penny out of every dollar?”

 

4.  The maximum lifetime Missouri benefit for a mom with two kids is $292 x60 months.  The average benefit is about $230 a month.  The unlucky few on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) are not capable of robbing the state blind.

 

 

And For Some Perspective

It’s interesting to note that maximum lifetime benefit Oxford notes on point 4 is $17,520.  But the new director of agriculture for the state, Richard Fordyce, has received about a million dollars of subsidies since 1995.  See it here.

 

Originally in December 19 MOScout.