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Bill to Address Welfare Fraud Heads to Governor with Delozier Amendment Included
Legislation that would permit employees within the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare (DPW) to report cases of suspected fraud directly to the Office of Inspector General (OIG) is now headed to the governor’s desk for his signature, said Rep. Sheryl Delozier (R-Cumberland). The bill was passed unanimously by the House on Oct. 4, and was approved by the Senate on Dec. 16.
“I introduced an amendment to the bill’s final version to address some of the serious issues that have been uncovered in DPW,” Delozier said, referring to the numerous reported cases of fraud, waste and abuse in programs administered by the Department. “Those who oversee tax dollars must ensure that funds are only used for those truly in need and have recourse if they suspect otherwise.”
For more than a year, Auditor General Jack Wagner conducted several audits of DPW, which revealed significant waste of money and lax oversight of management.
A Jan. 28, 2009, report revealed that more than $3.3 million was misappropriated in Medical Assistance payments. It was determined that improper eligibility determinations were a result of DPW’s failure to verify recipients’ age, disability, family relationship requirements and to promptly review applicants’ financial and other eligibility information. 
Finally, an Aug. 20, 2009, report highlighted the potential of fraud and mismanagement of DPW’s Special Allowance Program, which assists welfare recipients in employment and training programs with expenses such as books, tools, clothing, transportation and child care. Wagner’s audit revealed that sufficient documentation was missing to justify 45 percent of the 3,201 Special Allowance payments examined. Specifically, auditors found insufficient documentation for 163 recipients totaling $564,700.
Delozier’s amendment to the bill permits DPW case workers to report suspected fraud directly to the OIG without having to obtain approval from management. This was a practice that was used throughout previous administrations, which resulted in an average of 150 cases reported each month. Once the policy was altered by the Rendell administration, the average number of reported cases dropped to one a month. In addition, this measure would prohibit sanctions against employees who report fraud.
“Those who work on the public’s behalf need to be able to notify the appropriate authorities in questionable cases without the fear retaliation or consequences,” Delozier said. “Residents of the 88th District expect state employees to ensure their tax dollars are being used legally and for the purpose they were intended.”
Delozier said that she is hopeful the governor will promptly sign the bill into law.
Rep. Sheryl Delozier
88th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
(717) 761-4665
Contact: Tim Eller
House Republican Public Relations
(717) 260-6242
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