Op-Ed: Should suspected terrorists receive welfare benefits? They did in Massachusetts.

By: Senator David G. Argall (R-29)


On April 15, 2013, our nation lost three innocent individuals, with several more severely injured. The Boston Marathon bombing was a chilling reminder that no day in this great nation should be taken for granted. The tragedy that unfolded a few months ago brought our nation together to stand strong with Boston.

In the weeks following the horrific events at the Boston Marathon, the Boston Herald printed a story illustrating significant abuses within Massachusetts’ welfare system. Specifically, the two brothers allegedly behind the attacks and their families received over $100,000 in taxpayer-funded welfare benefits. One brother was living in Russia for six months while on the public dole. Most importantly, these individuals were on the Federal Terrorist Watchlist while on public assistance.

Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-25) and I sent a letter to the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare asking if these abuses could occur here. Specifically, could an individual leave the country for six months and still receive state benefits? How could someone afford an expensive international flight while asking for public assistance? Most importantly, we should work with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to ensure suspected terrorists do not receive welfare benefits.

In a recent chat with Dom Giordano, a popular Philadelphia talk radio host, I made it clear that this issue needed to be brought to light. I have never advocated taking public funding from our most vulnerable citizens: those who suffer a mental or physical handicap or our elderly. However, hard-earned tax dollars should never go to terrorists or the many others who abuse our public welfare system.

It is our joint goal to shed light on these abuses that occurred in Massachusetts. Most importantly, we want to ensure we are protecting valuable tax dollars from going in the wallet of those who seek to do harm our nation and her people. I look forward to working with the Corbett Administration to see how we can best maintain the integrity of our government and its assistance programs, and limit the potential for abuse of tax dollars.

Back to Top