Burns: It’s time PA gets tough on real welfare reform

Inspector general report highlights continued welfare fraud abuses

HARRISBURG, May 14 – Saying ‘enough is enough,’ state Rep. Frank Burns is urging swift action on efforts to crack down on welfare fraud, citing a report this week from the state inspector general, which charged 178 people with fraud that cost the state nearly $890,000.


“How is it possible so many people are scamming the welfare system of close to $900,000? The system is broken and it’s time the legislature stops ignoring the problem and takes action,” Burns said. “It’s a slap in the face to the people who truly need assistance and to the hardworking taxpayers of Pennsylvania.”


Burns, D-Cambria, a longtime advocate of welfare reform, recently signed on as a supporter of legislation to create a pilot program to move welfare recipients to full-time jobs in one year. The “welfare to work” bill would establish a public-private partnership designed to wean welfare recipients off the system by letting them continue to collect benefits while gradually phasing in pay for their full-time work.


Burns has sponsored a variety of welfare reform bills, including measures that would require drug testing for individuals to receive public assistance and would place photo IDs on welfare benefits cards – both efforts that could prevent welfare fraud, he added.


“People who can work should be working, not living off the system, and the vast majority of people in my district feel the same way,” Burns said. “While I support law enforcement’s efforts to crackdown on these crimes, only when we enact real, comprehensive welfare fraud reforms will we actually see an end to this abuse.”