By Sean Whaley, Nevada News Bureau
CARSON CITY — A legislative audit released today says that the state Welfare Division needs to do a better job of identifying when clients receiving benefits have passed away.
The audit, reviewed today by the Legislative Commission’s Audit Subcommittee, found 189 instances of people listed by a separate state agency as having passed away between July 1, 2007 and Dec. 31, 2009 that were listed by the division as still living.
Legislative auditors tested Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards used to provide benefits in 50 of the cases. They found that the division paid more than $11,500 in benefits to 27 of the 50 clients after their dates of death.
Benefits were paid by the agency up to 10 months after the clients died. The state’s vendor for the EBT program later removed $7,225 of unused benefits from the accounts.
Benefits provided to Nevadans include food stamps, now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and a cash grant program called Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).
Auditors also found that EBT cards in some cases were used after the dates of death of the clients.
Of the 50 cases tested, 13 were found where SNAP transactions using the cards had occurred after the clients’ dates of death. The transactions totaled $6,502 and took place from 13 to 247 days after the clients’ dates of death.
The audit made five recommendations to correct the issues found in the review, and all were accepted by the Division of Welfare and Supportive Services.