Welfare verification requirement gains momentum in Missouri

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Missouri lawmakers who want a private firm to scrutinize the state’s welfare rolls say it could save money by ending benefits for people who aren’t actually eligible.

Rep. Marsha Haefner says case managers have too much paperwork to effectively manage their caseload. The St. Louis Republican said contracting a third party to verify people’s eligibility for government aid would save time and money.

Both chambers have voted for similar measures in the past. But Senate gridlock killed the proposal last year.

A House panel approved that proposal Wednesday without any dissenting votes. A corresponding bill by Sen. David Sater also has moved out of a committee.

Critics warn a similar program in Illinois led to thousands mistakenly losing benefits.