Illinois Trying to Collect 30-Year-Old Overpayments

Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – The Department of Human Services is still attempting to collect money from overpayments made nearly 30 years ago from its Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, once more commonly known as food stamps.

The State Journal-Register reports that McLeansboro resident Sue Good received a letter from the department about a month ago asking her to repay $242 in an overpayment that occurred from August through November in 1985.

“Do you think anybody has some kind of paperwork (from 30 years ago)?” Good said. “I think if you had 30-year-old papers, you would be like `I think you need to call (the TV show) `Hoarders.””

Alex Jordan, the department’s director of fiscal services and chief of the Bureau of Collections, says federal regulations and state law require that an effort be made to recoup the money.

“There’s no statute of limitations on DHS debt,” Jordan said. “We have to follow the regulations. If we do give benefits out to individuals we shouldn’t, the feds expect us to recover those benefits so ultimately down the road they’re available to other individuals.”

Jordan said Illinois isn’t suddenly cracking down on overpayments in the state’s records since the 1980s.

“There’s no mass change in the Department of Human Services that we all of a sudden started billing people going back 20, 30, 40, 50 years,” he said. “Our department historically collects debt from 1985, 1986.”

Jordan said residents are able to call or write the department to express their concerns and receive copies of their record.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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