(KMOV) -- Could careless record keeping cost Missouri taxpayers millions of dollars?
It's a possibility as the feds try to recoup millions in questionable welfare payouts.
Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich latest Single State Audit
reveals some startling numbers.
“Right now we’re questioning $56 million” said Schweich.
His office examined TANF, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, federal dollars that are distributed to low income Missourians.
Schweich told News 4 “What we found is the state government was not able to demonstrate eligibility in 22%t of the cases ….people getting benefits couldn't prove they were eligible.”
Schweich says the payouts require recipients to prove they are looking for work or enrolled in job training and that leads to another problem.
“In 42% of the cases there was no demonstration they were meeting the work-seeking requirements of the law” said Schweich.
Those numbers concern him.
They don't prove fraud but at the very least reveal a problem with the way case files are kept.
“In the old days the federal government very rarely sought to recoup money when there was improper documentation but there's strain now on the federal budget just like state budget, so there’s pressure on the feds to come back and get money back … they are already doing that for 2009 they are asking for $40 million back because of the lack of effective work participation documentation’ said Schweich.
The Missouri Department of Social Services partially agrees with the Auditor’s findings.
But the Department says they do maintain eligibility requirements in electronic format but will reiterate the need to keep hard copies of important documents.
Schweich says this has been an ongoing problem for at least three years and unless the situation is fixed it’s possible the Federal government could ask Missouri for the money back.