In response to an audit revealing the New Jersey Department of Human Services lost millions over a three year period due to the mismanagement of NJ FamilyCare accounts, Senator Vin Gopal and Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey issued the following statements:
“It is utterly unacceptable that the state’s NJ FamilyCare accounts were grossly mismanaged throughout the Christie Administration,” said Senator Vin Gopal. “Due to poor oversight, the State paid out $177.5 million in false claims, in addition to $720,000 in payments and fee-for-service claims for individuals who were deceased. New Jersey cannot afford these costly mistakes.”
“I sincerely hope the Department of Human Services takes swift action to correct these egregious errors and fulfill the responsibilities of the NJ FamilyCare program,” said Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling. “We are confident the Murphy Administration will see the severity of this issue and work quickly to get the DHS and NJ FamilyCare program back on course.”
“There are far too many hardworking New Jerseyans who rightfully deserve these funds to carelessly fulfill fraudulent claims,” said Assemblywoman Joann Downey, Chair of the Human Services Committee. “The extreme lack of care in the management of this program during the Christie Administration is appalling and has led to the waste of valuable resources. Our residents deserve better and we look forward to working with Governor Murphy to right the ship.”
In addition to the millions paid in fraudulent claims, the audit, which examined activity between the mid-2014 and mid-2017, also discovered hundreds of cases in which NJ FamilyCare recipients filed tax returns indicating that they should have been ineligible, including 125 individuals whose annual earnings exceeded $100,000.
The audit attributed many of the findings to the State’s failure to properly process applicants’ eligibility or regularly reassess whether an individual still qualified for benefits.
As a result, the audit recommended the State institute regular check on eligibility, including cross-referencing applications against tax returns, New Jersey’s wage reporting system and Social Security databases.