House Approves Grove Bill to Lock Up Unemployment Compensation Payments for Prisoners

HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania House of Representatives today unanimously approved Rep. Seth Grove’s (R-Dover) House Bill 403, which would increase penalties on individuals who commit willful fraud to obtain unemployment compensation benefits, including cases of fraud by incarcerated individuals.

“It is very disheartening to know that prisoners in this Commonwealth are putting an additional burden on the taxpayers by fraudulently collecting unemployment compensation while incarcerated,” said Grove.  “My legislation aims to put a stop to this illegal practice.  It is also meant to send a message to criminals, who may have been eligible for benefits upon release, that if you play this game in Pennsylvania, there will be a price to pay.”

Grove’s legislation would impose an additional 52-week penalty for claimants who illegally apply for benefits while incarcerated.  This penalty would follow these individuals years into the future should they become eligible and attempt to apply for unemployment benefits again.

In addition to fraud by prisoners, House Bill 403 also addresses other types of fraud.  The legislation would increase the monetary penalty from its current range of $100 to $1,000 to $500 to $1,500 for claimants who knowingly make false statements to obtain unemployment benefits.  It also increases the minimum number of penalty weeks from two to 10 and removes the current four-year statute of limitations.  Additionally, it would allow for penalties to be collected through liens, civil action or any other means available by law for up to 12 years after the end of the benefit year.   

“Benjamin Franklin said, ‘A small leak will sink a great ship,’” and Pennsylvania is attempting to fix all the small leaks in our unemployment compensation system so it can continue to provide a safety net for individuals who genuinely are eligible for benefits,” said Grove.  “This legislation builds on the two laws we passed last session to restore solvency to our distressed UC system.”

House Bill 403 now heads to the Senate for debate and consideration. 

More information about Grove’s legislative priorities is available at and

Representative Seth Grove
196th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact:  Nicole Wamsley