Ask Joe: Risk of identity theft for some welfare recipients?

Reported by: Joe Hart
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Updated: 7/07 6:44 pm
Question:

From the Ask Joe file, we have received emails about some letters the Welfare Department sent out.

A couple of viewers say they received letters about their welfare benefits, and their Social Security numbers were printed at the top of letterhead. They want to know why more steps are not taken to keep this information confidential, especially with the identity theft problems we see these days.

Answer:

Joe checked on this back in March. He asked Mary Woods at the Department of Health and Human Services about it. She said the problem was being addressed, and a new format for the letters would be in place by July.

So Joe asked more questions on Monday, and unfortunately, there is nothing definitive yet.
 
Woods said her contact person was out of the office, but hopefully, Joe will have some answers later this week.

The questions we have are: why were the Social Security numbers on those letters at all, has the problem been fixed, and how many of those letters have been sent out?
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