Thursday, August 18, 2022

Senate Bill 100 will hurt a lot of Montanans for little gain

| March 26, 2021 7:00 AM

To the editor,

Senate Bill 100, the Welfare Fraud Prevention Act, would impose significant challenges to Montanans who rely on assistance to survive.

This bill is shameful and forces the implementation of an intense and invasive system for recipients of public assistance programs, requiring them to verify their identity and eligibility status every six months. The state Department of Public Health and Human Services would likely hire an external contractor to do this. It says in the fiscal note of the bill that the contractor will be given “performance bonuses” based on achieving preset benchmarks.

In other words, a private entity will profit off of people losing food and medical assistance that helps them survive. DPHHS only estimates 50 cases of fraud will be found, while thousands of eligible recipients will lose their benefits due to not being able to meet reporting requirements (based on lack of access to physical offices, necessary technology, a change in address, etc.)

Call the Montana State Legislature information desk at 406-444-4800 and leave a message for the House Human Services Committee. Call state Rep. Steve Gunderson at 406-334-4370 and implore him to vote no on SB 100.

Hannah Hernandez