Some North Carolina legislators want social service workers to perform criminal checks on welfare and food stamp requests to ensure law-abiding people get federal benefits first.
The House Health and Human Services Committee voted Tuesday to require county Department of Social Services offices to conduct criminal history checks on people applying for benefits or for their renewal. The DSS office also would have to tell law enforcement if an applicant has outstanding warrants.
Republican Rep. Dean Arp of Monroe says the idea came to him after his local DSS agency was told it could not provide such criminal information to sheriff's deputies because of confidentiality concerns.
Federal law prohibits people on the lam for a felony or for probation or parole violations from receiving public assistance.
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