fare them well

tracking what’s changing for welfare, women and children

‘Tis the season to be scrooged: welfare office wants its money back

An editorial by a New Hampshire paper is bringing the scrooge spirit a little earlier than December this year.

The Concord Monitor Online wrote an Oct. 14 editorial blasting town officials in the community of Epsom for sending out letters reminding welfare recipients to pay back the state’s charitable giving — plus six percent interest.

Yes, ’tis the season for giving, and we mean give us back our money, contends the Monitor staff. Moreover, the paper specifically wagged a an editorial finger at Town Welfare Officer Lisa Cote.

Cote, who doesn’t seem to understand her obligations under the state’s Right to Know Law, declined to say how many welfare recipients were sent letters reminding them of the liens, how much is owed the town in aggregate, or how far back some of the debts go. Though the specifics of each welfare case are private, the rest of the information is not. Epsom residents, or anyone else who asks about them, should expect a timely answer.

The Monitor points out that the state law on repayment is optional, providing the recipient if financially able to repay. But once targeted, welfare recipients risk having a lien placed on their property if they don’t pay up, as the paper detailed in an Oct. 12 article, “Epsom wants welfare funds paid back.”

At least Cote won’t get coal in her stocking from one reader. She might call him the good guy in the story, pun intended. Guy Goodwin says he thinks the editorial was a personal attack on the welfare official.

Cote aside, why isn’t the welfare office more forthright with the list of people they mailed? If they are so adamant to recollect money, why not serve up the list of people they’ve assisted?

Working divorced mother Colleen Neely says applied for welfare 15 years ago to help out with her suddenly single-parent status. Are these mailings a scarlet letter to keep certain families out of Epsom?

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October 29, 2007 Posted by | Money Matters, News & Numbers | , , , , | Leave a comment