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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: June 27, 2017 09:59 AM
From: Representative Russ Diamond
To: All House members
Subject: Fighting Welfare Benefit Fraud & Abuse
Pennsylvania has an outstanding prescription medication assistance program for older adults known as PACE and PACENET. Unfortunately a recent letter from PACE inviting my father – who has been deceased for nearly two years – to apply for SNAP benefits, brought to my attention a glitch in the system that must be promptly addressed.

Currently, the Department of Aging consults with federal agencies to check for deceased applicants and enrollees. As evidenced by my experience, this can result in a significant lag time in removing deceased individuals from those lists.

With the advancement of technology and communications, we can go one step further by accurately checking such records in a more timely manner to ensure we are not wasting time and resources offering benefit programs to residents who have already passed away.

Given that I am quite familiar with all my father’s personal identifying information, I can easily imagine a less scrupulous person being tempted to fraudulently apply for benefits using the identity of a deceased person.

For this reason, in the near future I intend to introduce legislation requiring the Department of Aging to cross reference its list of beneficiaries with death records maintained by the Department of Health on a monthly basis. This will enhance the system and increase efficiencies within the PACE program by more promptly removing deceased persons from their database.

Please join me in cosponsoring this legislation aimed at reducing benefit fraud and abuse.

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Introduced as HB1588