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Gov. Walker announces policy changes to curb welfare fraud

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Governor Scott Walker has announced a half-dozen policy changes aimed at curbing fraud in Wisconsin's public assistance programs. 

The Republican Walker ordered yesterday that the Health Services department provide stronger oversight. That was after it was learned that regulators don't ask self-employed applicants about all their income in determining eligibility for things like food stamps. 

The new policies include a reinstating of asset limits for those seeking food aid -- forcing self-employed people to provide tax returns with their aid applications -- and sharing more data among state agencies. 

Walker said he also wants to create a fraud prevention task force.

Eventually, he wants to discuss with federal officials the idea of giving states incentives to sign up as many people on public aid as possible. Wisconsin has been among the national leaders in cashing in on those incentives. 

Walker says the bonus money should also be based on the amount of individual gain those benefits provide. 

Deputy Health Services Secretary Kevin Moore tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the state cannot beef up anti-fraud efforts on its own, since federal funds pay for most public assistance benefits. He also said progress is being made in identifying fraud -- and the state has already brought back a work requirement for food stamps, similar to what the U.S. House narrowly approved Thursday.