Grove Supports Pro-Taxpayer Welfare Reforms
HARRISBURG – Rep. Seth Grove (R-Dover) today voted in favor of a proposal that will tighten control over one of the most fraud-riddled programs in Pennsylvania, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
“This is a program that has hemorrhaged millions of dollars in taxpayer funds,” said Grove. “In our efforts to return accountability to state government programs, LIHEAP has been a constant area of concern. I am proud to co-sponsor this bi-partisan legislation to help preserve programs for the needy and ensure taxpayer dollars are appropriately used.”
House Bill 1991 would require the departments with oversight of the LIHEAP and Weatherization Assistance Program to verify the income eligibility of recipients. It also would require program staff, contractors and recipients to report suspected fraud to the Office of Inspector General.
In addition, the legislation requires the auditor general to complete periodic audits of the programs to identify fraud and prevent future misconduct.
The auditor general’s office has been instrumental in identifying fraud in the programs, including hundreds of cases of individuals collecting benefits by using the Social Security numbers of deceased individuals, and a scheme by Philadelphia LIHEAP employees who collaborated to steal a half-million dollars from the program.
“The amount of fraud uncovered in this program is shocking,” said Grove. “This legislation is important to cleaning up Pennsylvania’s public assistance programs. Citizens deserve to know their money is not being stolen by unscrupulous individuals. Once taxpayer funds come into the public coffers, it becomes the responsibility of public servants to ensure they are applied appropriately. This legislation will go a long way in safeguarding taxpayer dollars.”
House Bill 1991 was unanimously approved in the House and will now go before the Senate.
More information about Grove and his legislative priorities is available at RepGrove.com or Facebook.com/RepSethGrove.
State Representative Seth Grove
196th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Nicole Wamsley