Auditor: Pa. issued $200K in welfare benefits to dead people - abc27 WHTM

Auditor: Pa. issued $200K in welfare benefits to dead people

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Pennsylvania's Department of Public Welfare in nine months provided more than $200,000 in benefits to payment card accounts associated with dead people, the state's auditor general said Tuesday.

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said an ongoing audit found $212,000 in benefits were issued to 138 electronic benefit transfer, or ACCESS, cards between July 2011 and March 2012, several months after the Social Security Administration reported the deaths of the people whose Social Security numbers were on the account.

Eight of the Social Security numbers are those of people who died in the 1980s, DePasquale said.

In one case, DePasquale said a DPW staffer raised concerns when an ACCESS card was issued to an account using the Social Security number of someone who had been dead for two years, but those concerns were not enough to trigger a investigation for six years.

During those six years, the recipient received estimated cash benefits of $10,000 and SNAP benefits of $22,000, but DePasquale said there is no indication DPW turned the case over to the Office of Inspector General for investigation of possible fraud.

DePasquale said the ongoing audit, expected to be completed next year, is a follow-up to a 2009 audit and a 2011 special report that found serious deficiencies in DPW's management of the EBT/ACCESS card program.

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