The Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare is stepping up its efforts to stop Welfare fraud by creating an Office of Program Integrity.
Gary D. Alexander, state Secretary of Public Welfare announced recently that since January the department reviewed its processes in order to enforce and tighten rules and regulations.
“Preventing waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer dollars is a top priority, and it is time for a culture change to instill and infuse integrity into the department’s programs and services,” Alexander said in a news release. “We have an obligation to the truly needy as well as to taxpayers. There is simply no room for any waste, fraud or abuse.”
The office has identified ways to more efficiently manage reporting and prevent wasteful and fraudulent payments across all welfare programs. As a result, more than 100,000 ineligible cases have been removed from the welfare rolls, saving taxpayers more than $34 million.
The Office of Program Integrity is staffed by existing employees and consolidates all department-wide efforts into one office and is directly linked to the Office of Inspector General, the office responsible for investigating welfare fraud.
“The Office of Inspector General is glad to be a partner in this vital effort, recognizing that fraud prevention is as equally important to detection and prosecution,” state Inspector General Kenya Mann Faulkner said in the news release. “By taking steps to stop fraud before it starts, we can protect taxpayers’ interests and ensure that scarce public resources remain available to eligible Pennsylvanians in need.”