Welfare Reform Measure Requiring Recipients of State Energy and Weatherization Assistance to Verify Income Passes State House
HARRISBURG – In an effort to prevent further waste, fraud and abuse in the state weatherization and energy assistance programs, the House passed a measure that will require recipients to verify their income eligibility, said Rep. Kurt Masser (R-Columbia/Montour/Northumberland).
House Bill 1991 requires the use of a 19-point electronic system to verify the income of recipients receiving energy assistance through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), and requires the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) to do that same for those receiving state weatherization services. The bill also strengthens fraud reporting measures and expands whistleblower protections for these programs.
“I was a proud supporter of this bill because every dollar we can save from fraud, waste and abuse is a dollar that can go to someone who truly needs it,” said Masser. “Services provided through the LIHEAP and weatherization programs are too important to allow fraud to continue within the system.”
This bill, which was the subject of a House Health Committee hearing, was crafted in response to a series of audits from Auditor General Jack Wagner that went back to 2007, including follow-up reports through 2012.
Masser sponsored an amendment to require the DCED to implement a conflict of interest policy to the state’s weatherization program. Prior to the passage of this legislation, no such policy existed. Earlier this year, Wagner reported that one agency approved more than $600,000 in weatherization services for an 83-unit apartment building that the agency owned.
“This measure prevents fraud from occurring with contractors and local agencies before it can even happen,” Masser said.
House Bill 1991 has been sent to the governor for his approval.
For information on this bill or any other state-related issue, contact Masser’s office in Elysburg by calling 570-648-8017.
State Representative Kurt Masser
107th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Krisinda Corbin