Missouri lawmakers consider welfare verification bill

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – A Missouri House committee is considering a bill that calls for a private company to scrutinize whether welfare recipients are qualified to receive benefits.

Bill sponsor Rep. Marsha Haefner told a committee Monday that her proposal would reduce paperwork for Department of Social Services employees.

She says it could prevent money from being spent on those who no longer qualify.

Anybody enrolled in a welfare program, such food stamps, would have their eligibility checked at least four times a year by a private company. State employees would be alerted if there’s a possible eligibility issue.

The bill’s critics say it’s a way to take away people’s benefits under the pretense of efficiency and combating fraud.

The House passed a similar bill last year. It died in the Senate.