With the County welfare rolls swelling under the continued pressure of a down economy, Los Angeles County is considering a program that would “shore up” the integrity of the program. Critics say it’s just a way to purge the needy from the program.

In Los Angeles County, those who are unable to qualify for state or federal aid have one more hope: the county’s general relief program. However, the number of people receiving benefits in the program nearly doubled to 106,000 in just 12 months, resulting in an 85% increase in the program’s cost. That cost has imperiled the fund, some say, leaving the county looking to confirm that only the eligible receive benefits, with the potential savings of $850,000. Those they are looking to purge from the program include individuals living outside the county, with relatives, or in jail.

However, those who oppose the proposed reform say that the problem isn’t sufficient to justify the solution. There were 12,652 welfare applicants who were investigated for potential fraud. Only 1% of applicants were found to have filed false claims.

From the Los Angeles Times:

Concerned about growing welfare costs, Los Angeles County officials are considering additional measures to root out fraud and impose tougher sanctions on aid recipients who fail to comply with program rules.

The proposed changes are supposed to ensure that scarce taxpayer dollars go only to those who meet residency and work requirements of the county’s general relief program, which serves as a final safety net for indigent adults who don’t qualify for state and federal aid.

Read the full article here.