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House stops triple-dipping by state retirees - abc27 WHTM

Dauphin County

House stops triple-dipping by state retirees

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -

It is called triple-dipping, and it goes like this:

A state worker retires and collects a lump sum and a pension. The worker then goes back to work for the state. This is often a good thing, because they have institutional knowledge and don't require training, and the state isn't forced to put an employee on the full-time payroll. But to protect their pension, the workers (called annuitants) can only work for 95 days, so that's what they do.

But some, on day 96, file for unemployment compensation. And they get it. It's perfectly legal.

But that doesn't make it right. House Republican Adam Harris calls it a gluttony of benefits.

"It's not really fair for them to draw from the state pot of money that's for people who lose their jobs through no fault of their own," said Harris. "That's what the (unemployment compensation) fund is there for, and we want to protect the integrity of that fund."

Harris's bill (HB421) would stipulate that any retiree who voluntarily leaves employment to maintain retirement benefits is ineligible for unemployment. The triple-dipping ban passed the House unanimously Tuesday. Harris says good behavior shouldn't have to be legislated but sadly it does.

"This isn't right. You know you shouldn't be doing this, and I should point out most employees don't do it."

But last year Harris estimates about 200 employees did, and it cost the system nearly $2 million.

"That's $2 million we could use in education, we could use in corrections, we can fix a road. We need that revenue. We think this bill closes that loophole and that's a good thing."

The House passed similar legislation last year, but the Senate didn't take it up. A spokesman for Senate Republicans said there's support for the concept, and the bill will likely move in the coming weeks.

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