House Republicans are hoping to apply new anti-fraud policies to Pennsylvania’s welfare programs to ease the effect of large-scale cuts planned in the coming budget proposal.
State Representative David Reed’s “WelFAIR” package would require welfare recipients to provide photo identification and would cross-reference applicants, as well as increase penalties for defrauding the system.
The legislation would also prevent welfare dollars to be used for tobacco, require drug felons to submit to random drug tests, and change the “special allowance” program from grants to loans.
Reed says the bills would be implemented in conjunction with the new budget – specifically, cuts to the Department of Welfare.
“We want to make sure that those cuts are focused on the folks who are getting benefits right now who don’t deserve it, and we want to make sure that they’re not impacting the folks who truly need help across the state,” says Reed.
Reed says both the DPW and Auditor General Jack Wagner have recognized a widespread problem with welfare fraud.
The Indiana County Republican says he’s confident the bills will pass the House when put to vote next week.