OHIO GOV. John Kasich believes recipients of overpayments due to mistakes made by state workers should not be forced to make repayments.
We agree with Kasich's stance.
The state recently halted the practice of attempting to retrieve welfare money erroneously paid out more than a decade ago. We are of the belief that is a reasonable and prudent approach to a disturbing bookkeeping problem.
Moreover, Gov. Kasich is also pondering calling a halt to the practice of collecting recent overpayments due to state gaffes. We would support Kasich if he opts to go that route.
Why punish individuals for the state's mistakes?
If people receive such overpayments, they will likely put them to immediate use. They may be hard-pressed finding a repayment method through no fault of their own.
Kasich's predecessor, Ted Strickland, initiated the effort of going back many years to retrieve repayments. Seeking money from someone who received an improper payment as far back as 1985 -- as Strickland was seeking -- is misguided. Such a time frame is impractical.
Kasich will continue the practice of trying to retrieve any money individuals secured through fraud. Not only should the funds in questions be recovered, but criminal charges should follow suit.
The big challenge facing Kasich is not so much the issue of repayment, but rather cleaning up the welfare system. More efficient work practices would greatly reduce the amount of money bogusly being paid out.
The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services estimates welfare overpayments totaled some $13 million over the last decade. That is outrageous mismanagement.
We agree with Kasich's stance on easing off overpayment collections while challenging him to clean up a system in dire need of such.