From Illinois Business Journal news services
SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed legislation sponsored by state Rep. Dwight Kay, R-Glen Carbon, and state Sen. Kyle McCarter, R-Lebanon, to ensure public aid benefits are not paid to the deceased.
It takes immediate effect.
According to a state audit released in February, approximately 5,916 deceased individuals were identified as being eligible for public aid during former Gov.Pat Quinn’s administration for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014. In fact, $3.7 million in medical costs was paid for 1,111 deceased individuals and 180 public aid recipients enrolled in managed care more than 90 days after the date of the individuals’ death.
“When I found out the State of Illinois was paying public benefits to the deceased, it was a no brainer to file legislation to put a stop to the fraudulent spending,” said Rep. Dwight Kay. “When I started looking into the problem I found out that DHS did not have access to the death record database which caused the problem to spiral out of control.”
The “outrageous mistake” occurred during the Quinn administration,” Kay said, and the law should “clean up the mess” the governor inherited.
Public Act 99-0087 requires the Illinois Department of Human Services and the Illinois Department of Public Health to enter into an agreement granting DHS access to the IDPH electronic reporting system for death registrations. The legislation also requires that public aid recipients who are found to have a death record in the IDPH system, are subject to an immediate suspension of their public aid benefits, including the deactivation of their LINK card upon certification that the death certificate matches the identity of the public aid recipient.
“Some people may think this is a joke, but it’s not. Only in Illinois do we have to pass a law to prohibit dead people from receiving public aid benefits,” said McCarter. “In the middle of our on-going budget crisis, don’t let anyone tell you that waste, fraud and abuse involving state programs doesn’t exist.”