The welfare system in the United States, as well as many other developed nations around the world, is in place to help those who are unable to work, or experiencing financial hardships for reasons beyond their control. Welfare has always been an extremely controversial issue, and one of the biggest arguments that opponents of the welfare system make is that the system is too easy for people to take advantage of. No matter what your opinion on the welfare system in general is, it’s easy to see why these complaints are being made. The fact is that welfare fraud is an all too common occurrence. Anytime there is easy money to be had, you can expect scammers and con-artists to try and exploit the system. It’s a constant battle between criminals and the Governments of the world. The real victims of these crimes are the tax paying citizens, as well as the people who really do need the Government assistance. So how are these crimes occurring, and what can we do to prevent them?
Common Types Of Welfare Fraud
- Unreported Income: By and far the most common form of welfare fraud. The criminal collects a welfare check, and also receives income from other sources that they don’t report to the Government. The income may come from working “under the table”, from illegal activities such as drug sales, or any number of other sources.
- Absent Parent In The Home: Another very common form of welfare fraud. This is when an individual applies for welfare as a single parent, when the other parent does in fact live in the home.
- Ineligible Child Or Children: This type of welfare fraud occurs when a parent reports children who aren’t in their custody, don’t live in the home, or in some cases, don’t even exist.
- False Aliases: Some people take extreme measures, going as far as creating false identities in order to make one or even multiple welfare claims.
Preventing Welfare Fraud
While detailed statistics are tough to calculate, welfare fraud world wide could potentially cost tax payers billions of dollars every year. Preventing welfare fraud from taking place is a constant struggle for Governments around the world. Computers and new legislation in various jurisdictions are becoming more effective as time goes on at detecting welfare fraud. In some cases though, even with advanced security measures, the fraud can be almost impossible to detect. For example, if someone who is collecting welfare benefits and also has other income sources that they aren’t reporting, it’s virtually impossible to catch them unless they are reported or a Government agency somehow finds out about the unreported income. Citizens can help out as well. Reporting welfare fraud is a huge help to Governments in tracking down and stopping offenders.