Upgraded security helps Pa. Department of Human Services save millions

    A woman pays for her groceries using state assistance at a supermarket (Seth Wenig/AP Photo)

    A woman pays for her groceries using state assistance at a supermarket (Seth Wenig/AP Photo)

    The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services has announced it has increased oversight for its major programs — and it’s paying off financially.

    The department reported Thursday that savings increased by $65 million over the last fiscal year.

    As DHS Secretary Ted Dallas explained, the programs the department runs are complicated.

    The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — or SNAP — and other state benefits involve a lot of paperwork, and Dallas said administrative errors are relatively common.

    But he said the department has made some changes in the last year that have cut down dramatically on payments to ineligible applicants.

    “There are two things — one was we hired some more staff, and that was sort of in a no-brainer category because these folks more than pay for themselves several times over,” he said. “And then, when we make payments, we have made some changes and upgraded the technology we use there and tightened up those data checks.”

    Dallas said, all told, the savings for this year is pegged at $648 million.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.