U.S. Senator John Kennedy and Representative Ralph Abraham have filed legislation that would require states to verify eligibility for government assistance programs, before the benefits go out. The Income Verification Act would apply to Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and food stamps.

Abraham says the legislation is in response to a legislative auditor’s report that found Louisiana spent as much as 85-million dollars on ineligible Medicaid recipients.

“It simply robs the resources from those that need it the most.  The taxpayers want their money spent wisely and I don’t know any taxpayer that doesn’t want to help those that really need the help,” said Abraham.

In November, the state auditor’s report revealed that 82 out of 100 Medicaid recipients in a random sample did not financially qualify for the program.  Abraham says the act would require Medicaid programs, welfare and food stamps to verify eligibility with federal data, instead of state data.

Abraham said he doesn’t foresee the bill getting much resistance in its path.

“We’ve already got some good co-sponsors on the House side, and I assume Kennedy does on the Senate side, so I don’t think it’s going to be that hard to get it passed.  Everybody wants fairness in government.  Everybody wants accountability in government,” said Abraham.