New video has emerged of a woman who is expecting to hold the state accountable for fifteen children she has had with three different partners. Her current boyfriend, father of ten of the children, was recently arrested on charges of cocaine possession, leaving her to apply for state assistance. You are not going to believe this story until you watch the video and here the words from the horse’s mouth.
The myth of the “Welfare Queen” arose during the Reagan years, and while it has been proven to be little more than a myth, there are occasional anecdotes that pop up and shock the rest of us.
Gary Brown Sr. is father to ten children with his fiance, who already has five other children from two other partners. He was recently arrested on charges of possession of cocaine. His fiance, Angel Adams says she has been left with nothing. She has received aid from several organizations and state agencies, but claims that it is not enough and that “someone needs to be accountable for all my children, and mine and Gary’s suffering. Someone needs to pay.”
She found herself in court recently on unrelated charges, at which point the judge asked her if she was pregnant again. When she refused to answer, he held her in contempt and she was taken into custody. Her fifteen children have been placed with a shelter called A Kid’s Place.
Welfare and other state assistance fraud does happen in the United States, but is it as common as many believe? We looked into the question of how many people were “ripping off the system,” and discovered some very interesting information.
According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, in 2011 the overpayment error rate for SNAP programs was 2.99 percent and the underpayment rate was 0.81 percent. The combined error rate was thus 3.80 percent. But the net loss to the federal government from errors was only 2.18 percent.
Relatively few SNAP errors represent dishonesty or fraud by recipients. The overwhelming majority result from honest mistakes by recipients, eligibility workers, data entry clerks, or computer programmers. In recent years, states have reported that almost 60 percent of the dollar value of overpayments and more than 90 percent of the dollar value of underpayments were their fault, rather than recipients’ fault. Much of the rest of overpayments resulted from innocent errors by households facing a program with complex rules.
Further, in testimony before the house Ways and Means subcommittee on Human Resources, former undersecretary of Labor, Cameron Findley, reported that “…$580 million of the $2.45 billion in total UI overpayments for 2001, or 1.9% of total UI payments for that year, was attributable to fraud or abuse within the UI program…”
In the state of Pennsylvania, welfare fraud among Philadelphia’s 95,456 recipients is “minute,” according to Peter Berson, assistant chief of the government fraud unit in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office. The 200 to 400 cases of welfare fraud in the city each year, down 50 percent since 2002 because of better enforcement and fewer recipients, are not nonworking women having babies to game the government, but working women receiving welfare and working at other jobs without reporting the income, Berson said.
Have you ever been witness to such a gross abuse of welfare programs and aid? How do you feel about the idea of state-provided social safety nets? Please share your thoughts with us here.