“By-Passing” the Qualifications for RI Social Service Benefits?
First of all, kudos to Terry Gorman of RIILE for obtaining the information contained in this post under Rhode Island’s Access to Public Records law (“RI Gen Law 38-2-1 et seq” for other curious folks).
When someone goes to the State of Rhode Island and applies for social services, one of the first pieces of information for which they are asked is a social security number. However, there are instances when the applicant/recipient may not have one (more on that in a sec). When that happens, the staff at the Dept of Human Services is permitted to enter a “666” by-pass number – a nine digit number that starts with 666.
Know how many people are receiving benefits under a 666 by-pass number?
Now, per the attorney for the Department of Human Services, here’s who might need a by-pass number:
newborns, citizens or legal permanent residents in the process of obtaining a copy of their Social Security cards and foster care children
However, all four of these instances would be very temporary situations; the social security number/card is obtained and the correct number is then plugged in, replacing the 666 by-pass number.
Are we to believe that there is a steady new batch of 3,300 applicants continuously coming into the system who need to use the by-pass number while waiting for a social security number or a copy of their card to arrive? What is the follow-up procedure prescribed by the Dept of Human Services? More specifically, how long have the cases represented by each of those 3,388 numbers actively been receiving benefits? Weeks, while the SS card is obtained? Or years, because no one from the state asked them for their card after a reasonable amount of time had lapsed?
Or is it possible that the by-pass number, purportedly for babies and foster care children (and how could you argue with that purpose, you hard-hearted person???), is being used to distribute social service benefits to adults who do not qualify because they simply do not have a social security number and do not dare to apply for one because they migrated here illegally?
There is a pretty straightforward solution to this: everyone gets re-qualified and, in the process, goes through e-verify. We are told repeatedly by advocates of illegal immigration that “undocumented immigrants” do not qualify for social service benefits. So there could be no objection to re-certification. In fact, better oversight (of Medicaid, at least) was exactly the recommendation of the Acting Auditor General Dennis E. Hoyle Friday.
The auditors said the state needs to improve oversight for processing Medicaid claims, determining eligibility, and disbursement of other program benefits, among other recommendations.
Could the re-certification process cost more in increased staffing? Maybe. Here’s a suggestion: modernize (at least to the 20th century; ya don’t want to move too fast on these matters) the state’s completely assinine boiler laws and move the FTE’s from the boiler inspection division over to human services. The increased taxes needed to fund unqualified social service benefits are a far greater threat to the well-being of the state than the danger posed by modern,
forty four gallon hot water boilers.
Michael Morse checks in to say that the hot water heater which he and his wife harbor at their small business, and which was subjected to a state inspection, is all of four gallons. In fact, the pertinent Rhode Island General Law, 28-25, “Boiler Inspection and Pressure Vessels”, does not specify a minimum size or vintage that shall fall under the scope of the inspectors. Accordingly, in the eyes of the state, no boiler is too small or too new to escape inspection.