Pennsylvania Passes New Law To Stop Welfare 'Double-Dipping'

| by Robert Fowler
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom WolfPennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf

New Pennsylvania legislation signed by Gov. Tom Wolf will help curb the amount of welfare abuse in the state, targeting the practice known as “double-dipping.” The bill was introduced by Republican state Rep. Aaron Kaufer of Kingston.

Kaufer, newly elected in 2015, has been vocal about cutting down the amount of welfare abuse in Pennsylvania, referring to its northeast portion as a “welfare haven,” according to Citizens Voice.

“We need to get the services out to people who truly need help, not people who are trying to scam the system,” Kaufer said.

The lawmaker singled out the practice of double-dipping, or collecting welfare benefits from multiple states, meaning that some Pennsylvania residents are also collecting assistance from neighboring states such as New York or New Jersey.

“If you’re moving here, you should not continue to be collecting in another state,” Kaufer said. “People do want to move here because of our quality of life. We’re better than New Jersey or New York and a lot of places. But, for people who are double-dipping, triple-dipping and we’re aware of people quadruple-dipping, that’s not acceptable.”

A 2011 report concluded that Pennsylvania was wasting $5 million a year out-of-state welfare transactions, according to Times Leader.

Kaufer introduced legislation that would require Pennsylvania applicants for welfare benefits to disclose states in which they have received assistance.

The bill will also will also empower the Pennsylvania Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to contact other welfare agencies in other states to ensure that former recipients are no longer receiving benefits.

“This bill simply mandates that we inform states in which Pennsylvania welfare recipients have previously collected benefits that they are now receiving benefits in our state,” Kaufer concluded.

The bill passed the Pennsylvania House and Senate with Bipartisan support and was signed by Gov. Wolf on Dec. 28, according to Citizens Voice.

“Every dollar we can save from fraud, waste and abuse is a dollar that can go to someone who truly needs it,” Kaufer said after his first major legislative victory. “This reform measure will prevent people from collecting benefits from multiple states, also known as double dipping, as well as ensure tax dollars are not supporting those simply seeking to take advantage of the system.”

Sources: Citizens Voice (2), Times Leader / Photo Credit: Governor Tom Wolf / Flickr