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Welfare rolls in Missouri would be scrubbed for dead, ineligible under proposal

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Missouri Capitol rotunda

Legislators and lobbyists watch from the third floor as a Tea Party rally was held in the rotunda of the Missouri Capitol builiding prior to the opening of the 96th General Assembly in Jefferson City Wednesday January 4, 2012. Photo by Robert Cohen, rcohen@post-dispatch.com

JEFFERSON CITY • Following the lead of their colleagues in Illinois, senators in Missouri approved a plan Thursday to hire a private company to make sure welfare benefits aren’t being paid out to people who are either dead or don’t qualify for them.

The Senate approved the plan on a unanimous vote. In Illinois, a similar program raised red flags about more than 300,000 people who were receiving Medicaid and other benefits for low-income residents.

If approved in the House and signed into law, the Department of Social Services would be required to award a two-year contract with a company that would verify whether Missourians are eligible for Medicaid, child care subsidies and food stamps.

The state currently reviews eligibility for various aid programs once a year. The proposal, sponsored by state Sen. David Sater, R-Cassville, requires monthly reviews to see if recipients are eligible.

The savings could top $24 million, much of which would be returned to the department for use in other programs serving needy families.

The legislation is Senate Bill 607

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