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Hazleton, PA 18201
Phone: (570) 453-1344
Fax: (570) 459-3946
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Harrisburg, PA 17120-2116
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House Passes Toohil Bill to Crack Down on Welfare Fraud

The House of Representatives has passed legislation by Rep. Tarah Toohil (R-Luzerne) to strengthen penalties for those convicted of more than $1,000 worth of welfare fraud by increasing the offense to a third-degree felony, which will bring the Welfare Code into line with existing penalties in the Crimes Code.   

“By increasing the penalties for fraud, we are sending a clear message that fraud and abuse of Pennsylvania’s welfare system will not be tolerated,” said Toohil.  “Anyone who attempts to defraud the system and waste taxpayer dollars will be severely punished.” 

In addition to increasing the penalties for fraud, Toohil’s bill will clarify existing law on welfare fraud to include the use of access devices such as ACCESS cards or EBT cards, which are debit cards which allow recipients of public assistance benefits to authorize transfer of benefits from their account to a retailer account to pay for products received. 

“Pennsylvania law concerning welfare fraud was written before ACCESS cards even existed,” Toohil said.  “My legislation brings the welfare code up to date with current technology.” 

Toohil stressed that her legislation will have no impact on anyone lawfully receiving benefits in Pennsylvania. 

“This is not an effort to deny assistance to anyone who genuinely needs it,” Toohil added.  “My legislation seeks to eliminate the waste, fraud and abuse which make it more difficult to serve those who are truly in need.” 

Toohil’s bill will now be sent to the state Senate. 

State Representative Tarah Toohil
116th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Contact:  Rep. Toohil’s Office 

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