Public assistance checks bound for Southeast misplaced

Posted: Friday, December 07, 2001

JUNEAU (AP) -- An Anchorage post office has misplaced roughly 700 public assistance checks and 4,500 medical coupons bound for poor elderly and disabled people in Southeast.

The state mailed the checks last Friday but so far only a handful arrived to the recipients, said Jay Livey, commissioner of the state Department of Health and Social Services

''We think a few of those got through, but we think right now that most of the checks are misplaced,'' Livey said.

People in the lower Panhandle received their checks but those in Juneau and the northern portion of the region did not, state officials said.

The checks are worth about $350 each and are intended to supplement monthly Social Security income distributed to the elderly and disabled. The medical coupons are used to verify eligibility for Medicaid.

The delay does not affect recipients who receive their payments through direct deposit or the Quest Electronic Benefit Card.

The U.S. Postal Service is tracking the missing shipment and the state intends to reissue checks if the shipment is not found by next week, state officials said.

State officials are asking those who encounter a hardship because of the missing checks to call the agency on Monday at 1-800-478-3537.

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