Roae Applauds Welfare Reforms Approved by House as Part of State Budget Deal
The state House tonight approved and Rep. Brad Roae (R-Crawford) voted for a comprehensive welfare reform bill that is part of the overall state budget agreement. The bill now heads to the desk of Gov. Tom Corbett for his signature.
“The crackdown on welfare fraud is long overdue,” Roae said. “People don’t mind paying taxes to fund welfare programs for the truly needy, such as people with legitimate disabilities who cannot work. But taxpayers also think welfare recipients better be looking for a job and they better not be using their welfare checks to buy drugs.”
The four welfare reforms would:
Authorize random drug testing for welfare applicants who have been convicted of a prior drug felony.
Require the use of a fraud detection program that would run welfare applicants’ information through an income eligibility verification system before providing benefits.
Prevent “benefit shopping,” where people apply for welfare benefits in a county other than the one in which they live in order to receive higher benefit payments. Under this initiative, applicants would receive benefits based on their place of permanent residence.
Change the fraud-laden special allowance program under the Department of Public Welfare (DPW). This would reduce the cost of this program by up to 25 percent.
“The drug testing component is just common sense,” Roae said. “Many employers now conduct pre-employment drug testing. If people who work hard all day and pay taxes have to do this, people who get welfare checks should do the same. In addition, I am pleased this legislation will crack down on fraud and allow the welfare department to make changes to programs that will save state taxpayers hard-earned dollars.”