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May 31, 2013

Officials dispute findings of Massachusetts welfare audit

BOSTON (AP) — The Patrick administration is disputing claims by the state auditor that questionable welfare payments were made to more than 1,100 people who were dead.

Secretary of Health and Human Services John Polanowicz said in a letter Thursday to state Auditor Suzanne Bump that her office has only provided the agency with the names of 178 cases where individuals were allegedly deceased even though their guardians continues to claim benefits.

Polanowicz said that of those 178 cases, 13 were duplicate entries, 54 had already been closed and 79 individuals were in fact not dead.

Polanowicz also labeled “false” a portion of Bump’s audit which said the welfare department provided $662,000 in benefits to individuals receiving benefits under two separate social security numbers.

Bump’s office did not immediately return a request for comment.

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