Fast Facts about Welfare Fraud in Pennsylvania
Welfare Problems Uncovered by House Republican Policy Committee
Through public hearings and independent research, the House Republican Policy Committee during the past several years uncovered the following problems with Pennsylvania’s welfare system:
· During one hearing, a testifier characterized the environment at the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) under former Gov. Ed Rendell by saying it was a culture of “close your eyes and authorize,” where workers were encouraged not to verify welfare applicants’ eligibility for benefits.
· The committee obtained documentary evidence showing the former head of DPW under the Rendell administration encouraged employees to “bend the rules” to provide welfare benefits to more applicants.
Welfare Fraud Uncovered by Democrat Auditor General Jack Wagner
In a 2009 audit of the state’s special allowance program under the DPW, Wagner revealed the following:
· In Delaware County, an invoice for beauty supplies was altered from $321 to $821.
· In Philadelphia, a father of five was paid $7,367 to babysit his own children, a feat he accomplished by using a fake name and Social Security number.
· Two students at beauty schools were given $637 for supplies that were never purchased.
· One individual received $2,215 for two automobiles and repairs.
· One Allegheny County resident was issued 99 different Access cards, the electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards used by welfare recipients.
Welfare Fraud Reported by the Media
In addition to official government inquiries into welfare fraud, members of the media have produced stories documenting additional problems:
· WPXI-TV in Pittsburgh produced a story detailing various examples of welfare fraud.
o A woman in Westmoreland County was reportedly receiving welfare benefits from two states at the same time.
o Customers at a convenience store were reportedly buying illegal drugs with welfare benefit cards.
o According to its story, the Pennsylvania Office of Inspector General reported that investigators filed nearly 1,200 criminal complaints accusing people of fraudulently obtaining more than $4.9 million in benefits.
· KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh reported a story about a woman who allegedly sold crack cocaine out of the daycare facility she operated. The woman accepted welfare cards as payment for the cocaine and used the cards to purchase her groceries.