Baker Applauds House Passage of Legislation to Prevent Fraud in State’s LIHEAP and Weatherization Assistance Program
HARRISBURG – State Rep. Matt Baker (R-Bradford/Tioga) this week joined his colleagues in the House in voting to advance legislation aimed at making sure taxpayer dollars set aside to help the truly needy stay warm in the winter months is not abused by unscrupulous individuals.

“The state’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, known as LIHEAP, came under scrutiny following a 2007 audit by the state’s auditor general in which hundreds of cases of fraud were detected,” said Baker, a co-sponsor of the bill. “The legislation we passed this week will go a long way in helping to deter fraud and make sure that only those truly qualified receive assistance. Although I am not in favor of what some may see as more red tape, this is the type of additional check that is necessary in order to protect taxpayer money from abuse.”

House Bill 1991, which passed the House unanimously, would require the Department of Public Welfare and the Department of Community and Economic Development to verify the eligibility of recipients of LIHEAP and the Weatherization Assistance Program with the use of the Income Eligibility Verification System.

In addition, the legislation includes a fraud reporting requirement for program employees, recipients, applicants and contractors. Cases of suspected fraud would be reported directly to the Office of Inspector General.

Baker noted that House Bill 1991 also would direct the auditor general to conduct periodic performance audits of the programs.

“It is long past time that such commonsense legislation was passed into law to provide a greater assurance that the state’s most vulnerable citizens receive needed assistance and are not robbed of services by individuals set on defrauding the system,” said Baker.

House Bill 1991 now goes to the Senate for consideration.

State Representative Matt Baker
68th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Tricia Lehman
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