Louisiana issued $1.3 million in food stamps to nearly 4,000 dead people, according to a report issued Monday by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor.
Between July 1, 2009 and June 30, 2013, benefits were issued to 3,938 people who are deceased. During that time, the state issued a total of $1.08 billion in SNAP benefits.
Because of a lag in reporting deaths, the Department of Children and Family Services told the Times-Picayune that benefits may not be promptly cut off.
Recovering the fraudulently spent money will be difficult. The majority was sent to single beneficiaries and with no one else living in the home, it is unclear who received the benefits.
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"[The agency] stated the likelihood of recovering these funds is very low because DCFS does not know who spent the funds and retailers usually only maintain surveillance videos for a very short period," the audit says.
DCFS says it plans to revamp efforts to monitor death records.
"[The agency] is currently working with the state's Office of Information Technology staff to automate the process of matching [food stamp] records daily against the vital records death file. This will further reduce the time it currently takes for a death record to become available," agency secretary Suzy Sonnier wrote in a letter dated June 25.