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Is general relief fraud rampant in Los Angeles county?
New measures to crackdown on welfare fraud are being considered by L.A County officials. Applicants to the county's general relief program surged from 58,000 per month in 2007 to over 105,000 per month in 2011.
This increase has cost the county $275 million so far. Under proposed changes to the system, applicants would have to meet strict residency and work requirements. A new report from county Auditor-Controller Wendy Watanabe says that $850,000 a year could be saved by putting these measures in place.
But anti-poverty advocates warn the cuts would damage L.A. County's most vulnerable, especially the homeless. Critics also contend that the estimated level of applicant fraud in L.A. County is just one percent, invalidating the need for a crackdown.
Should L.A. County look to save money by cutting back on funds to the homeless? If you rely on general relief payments, what do you make of the planned changes? What other measures could be put in place to ensure only those who truly need it receive assistance? As a taxpayer, do you agree that more should be done to save money on welfare payments?
Don Knabe, Los Angeles County Supervisor, representing the Fourth District
Zev Yaroslavsky, Los Angeles County Supervisor representing the Third District