New Illinois law aimed at preventing public aid for the dead

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Capitol building in Springfield, Illinois.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed legislation that aims to stop the state from accidentally sending welfare benefits to dead people.

The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises newspapers reports that the Illinois Department of Human Services now must review death records monthly to determine if any deceased people are receiving aid.

Two recent state audits have found millions of dollars have been paid in Illinois to dead people. One found $3.7 million was paid last year to 1,111 people recorded as deceased and another found $12.3 million was paid for medical care to 2,850 dead people in 2013.

The law means the department must cross-reference its list of recipients with electronic death records from the Illinois Department of Public Health. Recipients who have died would have benefits immediately canceled.