Bill would streamline public welfare spending

    An August audit of DPW’s “Special Allowance Program,” found “lax oversight” and an “environment that encourages potential fraud.”

    An August audit of DPW’s “Special Allowance Program,” which dispenses financial aid to lower income Pennsylvania residents, found “lax oversight” and an “environment that encourages potential fraud.”

    Listen:
    [audio: 091110sdwelfare.mp3]

    Mike Turzai, an Allegheny County Republican, says his bill would help correct that.

    Turzai: Among other things, the measure would eliminate the funding that’s directly provided to welfare recipients for certain needs and programs.

    Instead, Turzai would have DPW make those payments to the organizations providing the services.

    Turzai: You don’t know what some of the folks are doing with the money, but if you have good documentation you pay it right to the end-user provider that’s providing that service. We’d require payments be made directly by DPW, no intermediaries. Documentation of payments.

    DPW did not return a call for comment. Turzai and other Republicans say there are scores of examples of aid recipients using DPW grants to buy drugs and alcohol, but critics say the Republicans are drumming up anecdotal evidence, and exaggerating the amount of welfare fraud that’s taking place.

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