HARRISBURG – Three senators are advocating for additional investigators within the Office of Inspector General with a sole purpose: find welfare waste, fraud, abuse and misuse.
Senators David G. Argall (R-Schuylkill/Berks), Ryan Aument (R-Lancaster) and Mike Regan (R-Cumberland/York) introduced Senate Bill 425, which would require the Office of Inspector General to hire at least 50 percent additional staff dedicated to finding fraud within public assistance programs administered by the state’s Department of Human Services and Department of Health.
Each welfare fraud investigator is able to identify over $1.2 million on overpayments or fraudulent activity. The senators say that is a reason why this is a commonsense approach to saving valuable tax dollars.
“This measure will pay for itself again and again,” Argall said. “We believe this proposal will maintain the integrity of our public assistance programs and keep a watchful eye over taxpayer dollars. Taxpayers are rightfully frustrated when they read reports of welfare fraud – we are saying enough is enough with those who swindle the public assistance programs.”
“If we want to have the resources to help those who truly need assistance, then we cannot allow cheaters to game government programs,” Aument said. “Given the broad expansion of Medicaid to an additional 500,000 people under the Affordable Care Act, it is responsibility of government to ensure that our programs are free of waste, fraud and abuse. Additional investigators will help make sure we are appropriately protecting the integrity of our assistance programs to the benefit of the people who genuinely need help and the taxpayers providing that help.”
“In my service as Deputy Inspector General, I saw firsthand the efficacy and importance of this little-known state office,” Regan said. “Dedicating additional staff resources to investigating and eliminating fraud sends a clear message to working Pennsylvanians that we value their significant tax contributions and are doing everything possible to ensure their tax dollars are being used appropriately.”
Similar legislation was approved by the Senate last session with bipartisan support.
Anyone who has information regarding welfare fraud is encouraged to call the Office of Inspector General’s toll free welfare fraud tipline at 1-800-932-0582.