Gov vows review of welfare clients
ByJohn ZarembaGov. Deval Patrick vowed that the state will track down potentially thousands of missing welfare recipients in the wake of a Herald report showing the agency thatpays their benefits had wrong addresses for nearly 19,000 people on the mailinglist for a controversial voter-registration letter.But Patrick, speaking to reporters yesterday, downplayed concerns the faultyaddresses on file at
the Department of Transitional
Assistance mean the agencyhas lost track of its clients.
“For the 4 percent of mailings that were returned, you bet your life we’re going to
scrub through them and make sure that the information we have is up-to-
date,”Patrick said. “We should pay attention to the return of those mailings, but that may
indicative of a problem. But we’ll know that when we do the scrubbing.”
The welfare department sent nearly 500,000 voter-registration letters this summerto anyone who had business with the agency from June 2011 through May 2012
a list that included past, present and rejected recipients. The mailing was part of alawsuit settlement between the state and several Democratic-leaning advocacy
groups that charged the welfare offices weren’t doing enough to enroll voters.
DTA Commissioner Daniel Curley told the Herald yesterday that former andrejected clients account for at least 11,000 of the returned letters. The agency alsosaid half the returned mailings came back with forwarding addresses, and that
officials are attempting to verify the addresses of any current clients.Those who fail to respond within 10 days are stripped of benefits, but Curley didnot know how many have been scrapped from the system for that reason. He saidthe agency has received no reports that any of the missing clients live out of state.