The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

June 24, 2014

Audit: State welfare payments linked to dead people

The Associated Press

— HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania’s auditor general says the state Department of Welfare paid out more than $200,000 in benefits through electronic benefit transfer cards linked to the Social Security numbers of dead people.

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale released an interim audit report Tuesday at a Capitol news conference.

He says $212,000 worth of food stamps, cash assistance and other benefits were provided between July 2011 and March 2012 on 138 ACCESS card accounts related to the Social Security numbers of people who died as long ago as the 1980s.

DePasquale says his audit did not find evidence of widespread fraud, but rather a serious systemic problem with the department’s handling of the ACCESS cards.

A voicemail seeking comment from the department wasn’t immediately returned.