Welfare benefits

Associated Press

A Seattle couple who lived in a $1.2 million waterfront home while collecting tens of thousands of dollars in welfare has pleaded guilty to theft of government funds.

The U.S. Attorney General's office in Seattle says 60-year-old David Silverstein and 53-year-old Lyudmila Shimonova pleaded guilty Thursday and will pay more than $330,000 in restitution plus $216,441 in a separate civil penalty.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The 85-cent ATM fee that JPMorgan Chase charges Washington welfare clients could soon be a thing of the past. The state hopes to have a deal by the end of the month with JPMorgan on a new, lower cost contract for electronic benefits.

We first reported on the 85-cent fee because JPMorgan Chase wasn’t disclosing it at ATM machines. Now the fee is disclosed. But critics say it amounts to a tax on the poor.

NEAR CLE ELUM, Wash. – JPMorgan Chase is on track to comply with a new state law that requires disclosure of an 85-cent ATM fee charged to welfare recipients. So says the company’s Northwest chairman, Phyllis Campbell.

“We’re working hard to figure out how we can disclose that on our ATMs and is part of the law now and we absolutely are complying. We’re very close to making sure it will be done. The question is can it be done on other bank’s ATMs and that’s something I can’t answer,” Campbell said.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington spends nearly four times what Michigan does to provide food and cash benefits via debit card. That’s just one of the findings in a recent survey of what states are paying large financial institutions to provide welfare benefits electronically.