Target 11 Investigates Welfare Fraud Follow-Up

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PITTSBURGH,None — State Rep. Tim Krieger,R-Delmont, has introduced legislation in the state House aimed at curbing fraud and abuse in the electronic benefits program.

Ebt access cards are given to 750,000 Pennsylvania's to help with groceries, and other items. They spend approximately $200 million every month.

A Target 11 Investigation earlier this month exposed welfare access cards being sold for cash and some recipients using the cards to buy groceries for other people.

"You have to wonder what they are doing with 207 bottles of pop. It's clearly misuse," said Krieger.

Krieger heard all of the stories about access cards being sold for cash and cards used to buy questionable items and he has decided to take action.

"Frankly, you don't need to be out there buying steaks. Most of us can't afford and it frustrates people when they see people in front of them doing that," Krieger said.

Krieger is now taking action. He's introduced legislation in the House of Representatives that would establish an electronic benefits management program. Krieger said that program would monitor access card usage outside the state and track cards used to buy goods and services that do not comply with the program rules.

"It's obviously rife with abuse. If we're going to do this as a society, we need to make sure people follow the rules and again, it needs to be designed to get people of this program. It's not supposed to be a way of life and it can not be," said Krieger.

Krieger also told Target 11 that he supports placing photo IDs on access cards so store clerks can tell if they right person is using the card. Krieger is also drafting legislation that calls for random drug testing of welfare recipients.

"If we chose to give people money to help them out of poverty, we have a right to put stipulations on how that money is used," said Krieger.