Indeed, the need for federal and state financial aid programs are a necessity. However, an urgency exists to further improve these programs to eradicate fraudulent cases in the system. Undeniably, there are people who take advantage of the system and receive aid fraudulently. They unlawfully provide false information in order to qualify for funds. For example, people receiving Lifeline Assistance may report less income than they receive in order to qualify for this assistance. Food Stamps are designed to purchase foodstuff. Some recipients may receive Food Stamps and sell or trade them for money to buy unauthorized items such as, tobacco, alcohol, or drugs.
Stricter procedures should be prescribed to develop an effective means of eliminating deceptive individuals. Perjury is one of the major causes of fraud pertaining to distribution of government financial assistance. Case Managers working closely with the families receiving aid should require more astringent proof of household income and expenses. Recipients should be required to provide paycheck stubs, bank statements, or generally any physical evidence to prove they qualify for assistance. If major purchases such as vehicles are made, receipts should be furnished. Penalties should be dispensed and rigorous fines, including jail sentences, should be issued to those who choose to furnish unlawful and false information. These strict guidelines will improve the approval process as the intake of families’ information is reviewed.
Another strategy to ensure that only authorized individuals continue to receive aid is to hold the recipient accountable. For example, if a family is receiving Food Stamps because they qualified due to their low income, the head of household should be required to apply for employment. This person should have a minimum number of jobs they apply for and provide the reason for not gaining employment. Failure to prove an employment search would result in immediate loss of benefits. This will encourage the family to seek amelioration and not be continuously dependent on financial assistance.
Bare necessities such as food and medical care are vital to every person’s daily living needs. These programs are designed to provide assistance to those who demonstrate the licit requirements. Reinforcing guidelines and distributing harsh retribution will ensure only justifiable individuals receive government aid. By improving the effectiveness of these programs, the government will eliminate the excessive fraud caused by those individuals who falsify information to qualify for aid.
More importantly, however, is the realization that some families in the United States are poor, disabled, and/or elderly. These individuals unequivocally qualify and should receive financial assistance longterm. Improved regulations will safeguard these families who are authorized to receive these benefits.