HARRISBURG – Senator David G. Argall (R-Schuylkill/Berks) announced this week that the Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously passed bipartisan Senate Bill 891.
This bill amends the State Lottery Law by requiring the Pennsylvania Department of Aging to cross-check their list of PACE (Pharmaceutical Assistance Contract for the Elderly) and PACENET (PACE Needs Enhancement Tier) beneficiaries with death records maintained by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
“When my own father passed away in 2015, he was still receiving letters from the state a year after his death encouraging him to apply for food stamps. Representative Russ Diamond (Lebanon) experienced a similar incident where his father, who had been deceased for almost two years, received a letter from PACE asking him to apply for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits. In order to properly combat welfare fraud and abuse in our Commonwealth, we need to take proper action in improving efficiency in programs such as PACE and PACENET. We need to ensure that dishonest individuals are not fraudulently applying for these benefits by using the identity of someone who had passed away.”
Though the Department of Aging is currently working with federal agencies to identify applicants and enrollees who are deceased, this has often resulted in substantial lag time in updating their records.
With this bill, the Department of Aging and the Department of Health would be required to work together in maintaining up-to-date records of individuals enrolled in the PACE program.
“By improving efficiency and operations within the program, we will save taxpayers money by not providing benefits to individuals who have already passed away and deter individuals from committing welfare fraud and abuse.”
Before entering Appropriations, Senate Bill 891 previously passed the Senate Aging and Youth Committee by unanimous vote on April 24.