SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - The state is checking their records after thousands of voter registration forms sent to welfare recipients were 'returned to sender' due to incorrect mailing addresses.
The Department of Transitional Assistance is trying to verify the mailing addresses of all welfare recipients after a mass mailing turned up thousands of wrong addresses.
They want to ensure all recipients still live where they say they do, and if they don't, find out if they still qualify for benefits.
"I have less fear that it's fraud and more that it's people that are having a harder time having affordable housing," said Chris Furtek, Holyoke.
This all came about when the state mailed voter registration pitches to a number of welfare recipients and about 19,000 of them came back marked, 'return to sender, address unknown.'
"I'm surprised that the number is only 19,000 at this point with the amount of fraud that goes on with state government and state agencies," said Robert Walendy, Easthampton.
DTA Commissioner Daniel Curley told 22News not all 19,000 are welfare recipients.
He said the mailings were a part of a legal settlement and were sent to anyone who's had contact with DTA in the last year, including those who don't receive benefits and he stands by the integrity of the program.
"DTA is committed to ensuring those who need services, get services and those who don't or who no longer qualify are no longer receiving benefits," said DTA Commissioner Daniel Curley.
Critics of the agency say it's more proof that it needs reform.