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Lyons Demands Welfare System Changes

The 18th Essex representative has filed legislation to restrict welfare benefits.

On the heels of a scathing report by Inspector General Glenn Cunha citing ongoing abuse in the Massachusetts welfare system, lawmakers are demanding transparency.

State Rep. Jim Lyons of Andover joined State Rep. Marc Lombardo this week in proposing legislation to do just that.

The two Republicans have filed bills mandating stricter monitoring of welfare benefitsa as well as transparency within the system.

  • HD 3174 requires the governor's administration to file a report detailing the  amount of the budget funding benefits and expenditures and the residency and eligibility status of recipients.
  • HD3176 requires the administration to file a report detailing the amount of money being spent through the healthcare safety net and the residency and eligibility status of recipients.
  • HD2911 prohibits self-declaration of residency from being accepted as a valid form of proof of residency for people seeking benefits.
  • HD3293 restricts benefits to only citizens and legal residents.

“Before the Governor asks the hardworking and struggling families and businesses of the Commonwealth for more tax dollars, we should know where every penny is being spent in our state budget,”  Lyons said. “We need to ensure that individuals and families that play by the rules and need help are the receiving benefits and those who do not play by the rules do not receive tax dollars from hardworking taxpayers of Massachusetts.”

State Sen. Bruce Tarr issued a statement about the inspector general's report as well.

“[The report] proves that there is still substantial work to be done to eliminate and prevent fraud, waste and abuse in our state’s welfare system," Tarr said. "It’s unacceptable that taxpayers would be asked to pay more while millions are being wasted. Equally unacceptable is the diversion of precious dollars intended to support those in need from people who deserve them to those who do not."

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