O’CONNELL RECEIVES NATIONAL AWARD FOR EFFORTS TO STOP WELFARE ABUSE
Award Honors Leadership on Reforms Protecting State Programs for the Truly Needy
Taunton, MA…State Representative Shaunna O’Connell (R-Taunton) was honored by the Foundation for Government Accountability with the 2016 Friend of Government Accountability Award. O’Connell was recognized for her efforts to prevent fraud and ensure that the truly needy are served by the state’s welfare programs.
“As someone who grew up in low-income housing, I understand the needs of families who are facing difficult times. Unfortunately, there are other people who try to scam the system for financial gain. I am honored to receive this recognition for my work. I will continue to pursue reforms to ensure that benefits are protected for the truly needy,” said O’Connell.
Specifically recognized was O’Connell’s work on the Identity Verification System Act to require the Department of Transitional Assistance and MassHealth to institute a computer verification process that will authenticate the identity of the applicant and use multiple national databases to verify eligibility.
“The repeated news stories detailing people caught committing fraud and stealing taxpayer dollars for many years show the need to stop fraud on the front end before one even enters the system. Preventing people from fraudulently getting into the system will save hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars. I believe that we need to protect taxpayer dollars and benefits for the truly needy,” said O’Connell.
Over the past five years O’Connell has exposed enormous amounts of fraud including EBT card balances as high as $12,000 and inappropriate usage of EBT cards. She first passed restrictions stopping cards from being used for tobacco products, liquor and lottery cards.
O’Connell is one of a handful of state leaders from around the country being recognized by FGA for her efforts to reduce poverty.