Sen. Markley calls for an investigation into possible fraud surrounding DSS food aid program

September 30, 2011

Hartford, CT – Senator Joe Markley (R-Southington) issued the following statement in response to the Department of Social Service’s handling of the special Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP).

“News reports indicate that this program was poorly handled, with confusion, frustration, and even violence at different distribution centers. It’s an embarrassment to the state and a terrible sign for our human services system, at just the worst moment, with resources strained and needs severe. In tough times, it’s especially important that we deliver help efficiently.

“Many people are legitimately in need, but it appears from reports that many others took advantage of the situation. Some claimed, for instance, that they lost hundreds of pounds of meat, and received hundreds of dollars in compensation without providing proof. This is taxpayer money and must not be wasted.

“My question is: How can we handle this better? There’s no unified system, no single set of criteria for the many aid programs. Mismanagement and the cynicism it breeds most harm those who really need help. I am asking the State Auditors of Public Accounting to investigate this process and how taxpayer funds were handled.

“It’s clear from the size of the crowds at the more chaotic events that more distribution centers were needed. Why didn’t DSS reach out to local social service providers, who know their clients and the needs of their communities? We must begin to restore local control of social programs, so that help comes under the guidance of neighbors who understand our circumstances.”

(Sen. Markley is Ranking Republican Senator on the Human Services Committee)

(Attached is the letter Sen. Markley sent to the Auditors)