Man Bites Dog

I got the following email from WA State Auditor Troy Kelley today. It’s part of the performance audits his office does to improve the functioning of state agencies. The audits have skewered lots of agencies over the years since initiative 901 passed. We don’t see too many emails like this because the auditor tends to (quite appropriately) go after programs that look like are struggling. There are a few suggestions for improvement which sound rational to me, but the report praises Washington for having the sixth highest payment accuracy rate in the nation.

This skewers a long running meme about welfare fraud…

I wanted to let you know that today our Office published a performance audit of the state’s efforts to prevent misuse of electronic benefit transfer cards. These cards provide residents with safety-net benefits such as money to buy food.

Our review found the Department of Social and Health Services is effectively managing several areas vulnerable to fraud, including use of invalid Social Security Numbers, replacement cards and use of benefits at prohibited businesses like casinos. We also made recommendations to improve prevention of card use by ineligible persons, such as increased use of data-matching for identifying high-income clients, discontinuing payments sooner after the death of the client, and scrutinizing out-of-state card use, and emphasizing cost-effective investigations.

The Department is to be commended for its high payment accuracy rate, which is among the best in the nation. Strong controls give people in our state assurance their tax dollars are being properly safeguarded and the people who need help are getting it.

You will find this report on our website here. I hope you find the information useful. We welcome comments and suggestions for future reports. 


Troy Kelley
Washington State Auditor

Author: Ross

I am the Director of the Department of Early Learning for Washington State. I formerly represented the 48th Legislative District in the State House of Representatives, chairing the Appropriations committee and spent many a year at Microsoft.