Turzai Calls for Tougher Oversight of DPW's Special Allowance Program, Fights for Reforms to Decrease Fraud
8/20/2009
Rep. Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny), House Republican whip, released the following statement regarding Auditor General Jack Wagner’s report that Pennsylvania’s Department of Public Welfare (DPW) has several systematic flaws regarding the oversight of the department’s special allowance program. The special allowance program is designed to assist welfare recipients in work training. The auditor general’s report found the potential for fraud in 45 percent of the cases tested. Turzai has sponsored legislation that specifically deals with DPW’s special allowance payments.
 
“With the state facing a $3.2 billion deficit, we have to ensure that the hard-earned tax dollars from the people of Pennsylvania are being used appropriately. During this tough, economic time, families throughout the Commonwealth have been tightening their belts and reprioritizing their spending. DPW clearly needs a better monitoring system in place to prevent duplication of benefits. Much tighter restrictions and better oversight are needed for special allowance disbursements.
 
“Pennsylvania’s welfare system has been in dire need of reform for years. Last session, as House Republican Policy Committee chairman, we made welfare reform one of our top priorities. The committee held numerous public hearings on the topic and heard testimony from federal and state welfare experts. The message was always the same: Our current welfare system is unacceptable and systematic changes are needed to ensure that state funds are going to those who truly need assistance. 
 
“I have sponsored an amendment to House Bill 1391 that would reform DPW’s special allowance program to limit payments for child care, transportation, union fees, testing fees and professional fees. By ensuring that state money is going toward programs that help individuals prepare for certain careers and maintain current employment, more people will move from welfare to work and break the cycle of government dependence. We can and should lend a helping hand to those who are truly in need but we also need to make sure that those who can work find meaningful employment and break the cycle of government dependence.” 
 
Rep. Mike Turzai
28th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

(412) 369-2230
Contact: Tricia Graham
 (717) 260-6296