Contact Information 
District Office
1 West Broad Street
Suite 100
Hazleton, PA 18201
Phone: (570) 453-1344
Fax: (570) 459-3946
Hours:  8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m

Capitol Office
47 East Wing,
Main Capitol
PO Box 202116
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2116
Phone: (717) 260-6136
Phone (Toll-Free): 855-282-0611

Fax: (717) 782-2921
Welfare Reforms are Working, Says Toohil
HARRISBURG – Welfare reform laws that were enacted over the summer are beginning to produce significant results, according to Rep. Tarah Toohil (R-Luzerne). The House Majority Policy Committee held a public hearing last week in Harrisburg to highlight the progress that has been made to cut waste, fraud and abuse from the Department of Public Welfare (DPW).

“I am pleased to report that the reforms put in place with the enactment of the 2011-12 state budget are working,” said Toohil. “The goal is to reduce DPW costs by $470 million and it appears we are well on the way of accomplishing it.”

DPW Executive Deputy Secretary Timothy Costa testified at the hearing that more than 100,000 ineligible welfare recipients have been removed from the state’s Medicaid program since July. Costa said those cases were closed simply by enforcing current rules and regulations that were unenforced under Gov. Ed Rendell. Many of those ineligible recipients had either moved out of state, were no longer eligible or had recently died.

“Under the Rendell Administration, welfare spending increased by billions of dollars and programs like Medicaid appeared to be out of control,” said Toohil. “Pennsylvania taxpayers should be concerned about the apparent lack of oversight that formerly existed in DPW and be pleased to learn that new leadership has been able to remove these ineligible recipients from the rolls so quickly.”

Costa also said DPW plans to work with the auditor general’s office in curbing abuses within the department’s Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card system. A recent audit found that EBT cards were being used for out-of-state purchases, some as far away as Hawaii.

In addition, Costa said a new drug testing law that was included in the reform package is expected to be up and running in its first county in January. Additional county rollouts will follow. Under the new law, drug felons applying for public assistance will be subjected to random drug testing before receiving benefits.

“Welfare spending makes up 40 percent of this year’s $27 billion state budget,” said Toohil. “We need to make certain that funding is spent efficiently, with the money going to our most vulnerable residents and not to those who set out to defraud the system. There is still much work to be done, but taxpayers should be encouraged that progress is being made toward correcting the problems of the past.”

State Representative Tarah Toohil
116th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Rep. Toohil’s Office 
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