The state comptroller’s office conducted an audit sample of the Work First New Jersey general assistance program — a state welfare initiative for employable adults without children at home.
Sampling two months in 2012 and 2013 in Burlington, Camden, and Passaic counties, the comptroller’s office found that these county welfare agencies were providing financial assistance without properly determining eligibility and without referring recipients to mandatory work activities, as the law requires. In just those two months, the comptroller’s office found that $1 million in assistance was improperly provided.
The report found a number of infractions, ranging from lack of income verification, to neglecting to check records of drug convictions and completion of substance abuse programs, to failure to refer employable adults to work or training programs. In Passaic County, 86 percent of the participants reviewed were not referred to work activities, which could have cost the state as much as $650,000 for just those two months.