DES MOINES, Iowa – On Wednesday, the Iowa Senate passed Senate File 2272 by a 32-17 party-line vote. This bill establishes a real-time verification system for public assistance programs under the management of the Department of Human Services.
The non-partisan Legislative Services Agency estimates the bill will cost $1.8 million to set up the systems to manage the verification process. Once implemented, SF 2272 will save the taxpayers $12.3 million per year in eliminated waste, fraud, and abuse. Last year, Iowa was fined $1.8 million by the federal government after overpaying SNAP benefits by $40 million. Iowa’s overpayment on SNAP benefits was almost double the national average.
“Welfare reforms are one of the top priorities of Senate Republicans this session,” said Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver, R-Ankeny. “This bill was debated early in the session because this caucus believes eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse in our welfare system is one of the critical functions of the Iowa Legislature. Furthermore, because of the success of our economic policies, the Iowa economy needs more people in the workforce. This bill will help address that need.”
SF 2272 requires checking cross-state databases for dual enrollment, asset verification, residency, citizenship, and identity verification for all public assistance programs in Iowa.
“This legislation is expected to save the taxpayers of Iowa millions of dollars, simply by utilizing current technology to confirm eligibility for public assistance,” said Senator Jason Schultz, R-Schleswig, floor manager of the bill. “Utilizing private sector data and expertise can make significant improvements to the management of our welfare programs. Welfare programs are intended to provide for citizens of this country, residents of this state, and genuinely poor individuals and families. This bill helps ensure the right people will have access to public assistance.”