House Bill Requires State Agencies to Verify Eligibility and Ide - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

House Bill Requires State Agencies to Verify Eligibility and Identity of Every Welfare Applicant

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (KSWO)– House Bill 1270 would require state agencies to verify the eligibility of all applicants for welfare benefits, and require every applicant to complete an identity authentication process. The HB has passed a Rule Committee vote.        

Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) and the Department of Human Services (DHS) would have to verify the eligibility of every applicant for Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) on a quarterly basis under HB 1270.

DHS reports that it requires SNAP households to be recertified every six months. And the Oklahoma Lottery Commission says it routinely checks the names of lottery winners against DHS child support enforcement records; against Oklahoma Tax Commission rolls, to determine whether a winner has any tax payments in arrears; and with the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission, to determine whether a lottery winner is collecting unemployment benefits.

Opponents believe the legislation would mandate redundant administrative burdens for the Oklahoma Health Care Authority and the Department of Human Services as there is no evidence of widespread abuse or fraud in SNAP or SoonerCare, SNAP error rates have fallen steadily for more than a decade, and Oklahoma’s rate of improper payments for Medicaid is low.

DHS estimates that implementing HB 1270 would require the agency to hire 400 to 500 additional workers at an estimated cost of $9 million to $11 million.

Information provided by Oklahoma House of Representatives. 

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