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Tobash Supports Welfare Reform Package
4/7/2011

Responding to reports of waste, fraud and abuse within the state Department of Public Welfare (DPW), House Republicans have introduced a package of legislation aimed at reforming the system, Rep. Mike Tobash (R-Schuylkill/Berks) announced today.  

“The welfare system was created to look out for people who need help, but we also need to look out for the taxpayers who fund the system,” Tobash said. “When welfare dollars are handed out to people who don’t need or deserve them, both taxpayers and legitimate welfare recipients are hurt by it. Welfare fraud must be stopped.” 

Tobash said the need for reform is demonstrated in recent audits conducted by Democrat Auditor General Jack Wagner. For example, one Allegheny County resident was issued 99 different Access cards, the electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards used by welfare recipients. In Philadelphia, a father of five was paid more than $7,000 to babysit his own children, a feat he accomplished by using a fake name and Social Security number. More recently, a daycare provider in Allegheny County was accused of selling drugs from her facility and accepting welfare EBT cards as collateral for drugs. 

“This is simply unacceptable,” Tobash said.  

The eight-bill package, known as WelFAIR (Fairness, Accountability, Integrity and Responsibility), would reform the welfare system by:

  • Using photo identification to make sure benefits aren’t misused.
  • Cross referencing welfare applicants through 19 different databases to confirm eligibility.
  • Strengthening legal penalties for those who commit welfare fraud.
  • Preventing applicants from “benefit shopping” in other counties.
  • Reducing abuse in a welfare program that helps people truly in need get to and from doctor appointments, pharmacy visits, methadone clinics, dialyses treatments, physical therapy and other medical appointments.
  • Transitioning the fraud-laden special allowance program from grants to a loan-based initiative.
  • Prohibiting the purchase of tobacco with welfare benefit cards.
  • Requiring drug felons who apply for welfare benefits to submit to random drug tests.  

For more information about the WelFAIR initiative, visit RepTobash.com.  

State Representative Mike Tobash
125th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Contact:  Patricia Hippler
phippler@pahousegop.com
717.772.9846
Facebook.com/RepTobash

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