Audit: Agency paid public assistance benefits to dead people

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – An audit by the state’s fiscal watchdog has found Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services was paying public assistance benefits to the accounts of dead people, prompting policy changes at the agency.

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale says his latest audit shows that from July 2013 to June 2014, DHS paid public assistance benefits to over 2,300 deceased holders of Electronic Benefits Transfer cards.

The department changed its policy in August after receiving a draft of the audit. Caseworkers now take immediate action when notified of a death.

DHS Secretary Ted Dallas says many findings noted in audit were addressed well before the report was issued.

Dallas also contends the amount of improper payments made during the 12-month period is incorrect. The report says approximately $693,000 in erroneous payments were made; DHS says their records show the amount was about $330,000.

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