It is important to have compassion for those down on their luck and facing hard times. However, that doesn’t mean we should turn a blind eye to fraud and abuse within the Department of Transitional Assistance and other public assistance programs. Scamming the system doesn’t help anyone.
As our State Representative, Shaunna O’Connell has been a leader in stopping the abuse of our tax dollars within the state’s system of welfare.
During her tenure in office, Shaunna exposed the problem with people accumulating high balances on EBT cards. Her effort resulted in regular monitoring of card balances by the department.
Due to her tireless work, penalties for trafficking EBT cards were increased and photos are required on the cards to stop the selling of them. Businesses are now required to maintain a list of items that cannot be purchased with an EBT card. And because of Shaunna’s leadership, EBT cards cannot be used to purchase tobacco products, alcohol, lottery tickets, tattoos, firearms, jewelry and gambling.
Shaunna is the only legislator who had the courage to demand that Governor Patrick disclose whether or not the Marathon bombers were receiving welfare benefits.
During the 2013-2014 legislative session, Shaunna kept the public pressure on the legislature to reform welfare.
Shaunna is still working to close loopholes within the systems and to make sure only the truly needy are getting the assistance.