HARRISBURG – Taxpayer dollars provided to Pennsylvania’s Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) and Medical Assistance program would be better protected from fraud and abuse under a package of bills approved by the Senate today, according to Sen. Dave Argall (R-29), Sen. Scott Martin (R-13), Sen. Mike Regan (R-31), and Sen. Michele Brooks (R-50).
“Many of my constituents are upset when they hear just how many taxpayer dollars are wasted or stolen from these important programs that are designed to get struggling Pennsylvanians back on their feet,” said Argall. “These bills will ensure that taxpayer dollars are going to those in genuine need, not to bad actors trying to game the system.”
“Taxpayers deserve the peace of mind to know that state government is working to protect the tax dollars they send to Harrisburg,” Martin said. “Pennsylvania faces significant budgetary challenges in the years ahead. We simply cannot afford to see tax dollars lost due to fraud or poor management, especially in programs that are intended to serve people in need.”
“Taxpayer dollars are finite and need to be guarded carefully,” said Regan. “These bills were designed for taxpayers and protecting our society’s most vulnerable citizens. It’s important that we put these additional safeguards in place as responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars.”
“This bill package aims to improve oversight into programs that exist for those in real need,” said Brooks. “The bills passed by the Senate today will only serve to bolster these programs for the future and those who require them.”
Senate Bill 243 will ensure that SNAP and Medical Assistance benefits are not being spent on the deceased. It would require the Department of Human Services to check death certificates with the Department of Health’s Bureau of Vital Statistics. Argall, Martin, Regan, and Brooks drafted the bill after a state audit found 2,324 Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cardholders received benefits after they passed away. The bill was approved by a bipartisan vote of 28-21.
Senate Bill 244, sponsored by Argall, Martin, and Regan, would require the Department of Human Services to compare income and employment records held by the Department of Labor and Industry with recipients of SNAP and Medical Assistance benefits to prevent fraud. According to the Office of the State Inspector General, 85 Pennsylvanians have thus far been charged with public assistance fraud in 2023. The bill was approved by a bipartisan vote of 28-21.
Senate Bill 245 would update the Public Assistance Integrity Act to require the Department of Human Services to issue a yearly report on their efforts to ensure lottery winners are not receiving cash benefits. The Public Assistance Integrity Act, which was originally sponsored by Regan, closed a loophole that did not require lottery winnings to be considered as income when determining eligibility for benefits. The bill was approved by a bipartisan vote of 28-21.
All three bills now advance to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for its consideration.