Pennsylvania welfare department identifies more than 600 with improper benefits

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HARRISBURG -- More than 600 people fraudulently collected welfare benefits from outside of Pennsylvania, the state Department of Public Welfare announced today.

The benefits, some drawn for more than a year, came through Electronic Benefit Transfer cards that are used for cash assistance, food stamps and medical assistance programs.

A report, issued in April after a three-month review of more than 1,000 flagged cases, detailed the fraudulent cases. Those deemed inappropriate account for one-tenth of 1 percent of people receiving benefits statewide.

In a press release, the Department of Public Welfare Secretary Gary Alexander said, "This is a victory for all Pennsylvanians who legitimately use and need our social safety net and for the hardworking taxpayers who pay the bills."

According to the report, closing the cases saved the department almost $1 million in benefits, including more than $100,000 in Allegheny County.

More than three dozen people had been using the benefits from out of state for more than a year. About a third of the closed cases had been used from outside the state for six months or more.

Most of the people involved in the cases drew the benefits through the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program. More than 15 percent drew money from cash assistance.

The department closed more than two-thirds of the flagged cases in Allegheny County, the highest rate among six different areas in the state. homepage - breaking - state

Michael Macagnone is a summer intern with the Pennsylvania Legislative Correspondents Association. First Published May 29, 2012 3:00 PM


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