The state Department of Public Welfare has completed its initial review of out-of-state transactions for electronic benefit cards. 653 individuals have been cut off from benefits, most because they were no longer living in Pennsylvania. Most were using the food stamp program; some were collecting other types of assistance.
Department of Public Welfare spokeswoman Ann Bale says they looked at people consistently making transactions out-of-state and flagged more than one thousand who were spending consistently in another state over a three month period. They discovered 653 who were no longer eligible for the benefits.
She says when people are spending consistently outside of Pennsylvania, it’s an indication they may no longer be residents of the state. Once you move out of Pennsylvania, you are no longer eligible for Pennsylvania benefits.
The initial review looked at states that do not border Pennsylvania. Now the department will start taking a closer look at transactions in neighboring states.
Bale says the department is able to look at the type of transactions, and can identify when legitimate activity has been going on.
She says the review sends a message. This is only the beginning of their research into this type of fraud.