10/05/2010 01:21 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

$69 Million In California Welfare Money Spent Out Of State

UPDATE: In response to a Los Angeles Times report revealing nearly $69 million in California welfare funds spent out of state, the LA Weekly raises doubts as to the significance of this number:

When you consider that at least some of the money spent out of state is legitimate (should a welfare recipient be able to visit a sick relative?) and that in some cases no doubt the welfare cards were stolen, we're talking about a tiny group of recipients spending taxpayer money in glamorous locales. Even among these reprobates, the 1996 federal welfare reform law imposed time limits, meaning their little joyrides won't last.

The fact remains, the vast majority of people on welfare are extremely destitute, and their measly checks barely improve upon that. But you won't hear from them in today's Times story.

Original Story
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Nearly $69 million in welfare money meant to help California's neediest families was spent or withdrawn at locations such as Hawaii, Las Vegas casinos and cruise ships from Miami.

The finding reported Monday in the Los Angeles Times is based on data compiled since 2007 by the California Department of Social Services.

Data showed that the biggest chunk of out-of-state money – $11.8 million – was spent at casinos or withdrawn from ATMs in Las Vegas. The paper said there were also questionable transactions in Hawaii, Miami and Guam.

The investigation showed out-of-state spending on state-issued aid cards was less than 1 percent of the $10.8 billion spent by welfare recipients from January 2007 to May 2010.


Information from: Los Angeles Times,

Filed by Billy Silverman