Highlighting cost savings for welfare fraud detection in Berks and Schuylkill counties

HARRISBURG – Senator David G. Argall (R-Berks/Schuylkill) recently highlighted the cost savings that were obtained during the 2016-17 Fiscal Year by the Office of Inspector General through welfare fraud field investigations and legal proceedings in Berks and Schuylkill counties.

Based on the figures provided by the Office of Inspector General for the 2016-17 Fiscal Year, the office saved approximately $2.4 million in Berks County and $622,774 in Schuylkill County through various welfare fraud prevention initiatives.

While Argall noted that these cost savings are significant in the region and across the state, he believes more needs to be done.  “As Chairman of the Senate Majority Policy Committee, one of the biggest issues my colleagues and I continue to tackle is welfare fraud and abuse in Pennsylvania,” Argall said.  “My goal regarding welfare reform is to end the abuse of the system so that we can save the state money and afford to provide additional assistance to the truly needy.”  

Argall has been at the forefront of several welfare reform initiatives over the years, including one that was vetoed by the governor during the 2015-16 legislative session which would require the state to hire more investigators within the Office of Inspector General in order to detect more welfare fraud.  Argall reintroduced the same bill this legislative session as Senate Bill 425.  

Argall also mentioned his disappointment in the governor’s recent veto of welfare reform measures as laid out in House Bill 59 which would establish a work requirement for able-bodied Medicaid recipients.  “The goal of this requirement was to reduce costs in the long-term by encouraging recipients to find employment and become self-sufficient, rather than continue to rely upon the taxpayer,” Argall said.  “This has been the case in other states which have enacted this requirement and it is extremely disappointing that the governor chose to veto this legislation which would reduce fraud and save taxpayers money.”

“The focus should be on more jobs, more people working, better education and training – not more welfare costs.” Argall stated.  “My colleagues and I will continue to find ways to cut costs and provide the Office of Inspector General with the resources they need to tackle welfare fraud.”

In a recent statement issued by Pennsylvania Inspector General Bruce Beemer, he stated, “Illegal trafficking in public benefits is a real problem in our communities. Our office works every day to prevent that fraud and recover taxpayer money.  The Senate has helped to give our office new tools to fight fraud, and I encourage constituents to report suspected welfare fraud to our tip line at 1-800-932-0582.”  

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