May. 28, 2020

HARRISBURG – Continuing its work to protect taxpayer dollars, the state House today approved legislation sponsored by Rep. Ryan Warner (R-Fayette/Westmoreland) that would help prevent fraudulent use of Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards.

“One of the most important responsibilities we bear as state representatives is to be good stewards of the tax dollars people send to Harrisburg,” Warner said. “To allow welfare fraud to occur is an affront to the hard-working taxpayers in our state, and to the people who fall on hard times and are genuinely in need of assistance.”

Warner introduced House Bill 2179 to close a loophole in the law as it relates to use of EBT cards by authorized representatives. Under current law, a person eligible for and receiving benefits can designate an authorized representative to use their EBT card, a common occurrence when the eligible individual is a child or a person who is unable to leave his or her home. Although the individual receiving benefits must sign a“rights and responsibilities” agreement, the authorized user does not.

In 2016, a Department of Human Services (DHS) audit discovered that the state’s inspector general is precluded from investigating and pursuing criminal charges against authorized users because DHS does not require them to review and sign the same information as cardholders.

House Bill 2179 would close this loophole by requiring authorized users for EBT cards to sign the same “rights and responsibilities” agreements as those who are eligible for benefits, holding all recipients and authorized users to the same standards of use.

The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Representative Ryan Warner
52nd Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Patricia Hippler
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