AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - The Department of Health and Human Services has overpaid $4 million in benefits to people who receive food supplement assistance.
Those are federal dollars and the federal government wants that money back. DHHS now finds itself in the position of reaching out to those recipients and asking for that money back.
Kristen Rorer is one of the 58,000 recipients of food supplement benefits that got more money than they should have. Those recipients are now being informed by DHHS that they have to pay that money back. Rorer is not happy about it.
"This is an absolute travesty because people like me and others should not have to go through this. None of this was our fault that we were overpaid," she said.
Two Winters ago when heating oil spiked recipients were given more benefits. When oil prices came back down recipients went back to their original levels. But DHHS continued to pay out the higher figures for four months.
"It was a dropped ball. Somebody took retirement, she had started this process, it was handed off to somebody else and there was a miss in terms of our filing", said Dale Denno of DHHS' Family Independence Office.
The recipients were overpaid from 20 up to 80-dollars. DHHS now plans to deduct small amounts from the recipient's benefits each week for the next several months until the money is paid back.