Tennessee House passes bill requiring stricter income verification for welfare recipients

State Rep. Dan Howell is the House sponsor of a bill that will aims to crack down on welfare fraud.

NASHVILLE - Hundreds of thousands of Tennessee adults who are on TennCare, food stamps and/or welfare would undergo an enhanced income-verification process that regularly checks their incomes against other state and federal databases under a bill that cleared the state House Monday night.

The GOP-majority House approved the measure, sponsored by Rep. Dan Howell, R-Georgetown, on a largely partisan 73-21 vote.

Howell said the bill is intended to detect fraud and ensure benefits are going to those who truly need it while saving taxpayers money.

One feature of the legislation would require the Tennessee Education Lottery to send monthly data on all lottery players who win $5,000 or more jackpots to the state Human Services Department.

The department determines eligibility for TennCare (Medicaid), the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps) and the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (welfare) programs.