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Audit: 2,300 Deceased People on Welfare

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HARRISBURG -- In just one year, Pennsylvania paid public assistance benefits to more than 2,300 dead people, according to an audit released Thursday by Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale.

The auditor general's 114-page audit found the state paid benefits to some people after they died. In one case, a woman died in March 2013 but someone went on an $800 shopping spree using that woman's Access Card during the holiday shopping season.

The auditor general said the Department of Human Services needs to hold itself more accountable when it comes to monitoring who is paid benefits on EBT cards.

From July 2013 to June 2014, the audit found more than 2,300 dead people received public assistance benefits.

DePasquale says it totaled almost $700,000.

The auditor general says in half the known cases, someone spent on the Access Cards after the card holder died.

"DHS has acknowledged that case workers should have referred these cases to the Inspector General, but did not," said Auditor General DePasquale.

DePasquale adds 15,000 people receiving benefits spent $22 million in other states over a three-year period.

While some of that money may have been spent on food and services in neighboring states, the auditor general found $14 million spent in Florida, a high percentage of that during winter months.

Money was spent in other resort states.

"And nearly $100,000 in Hawaii. It's probably safe to say most people weren't going to Hawaii to do their grocery shopping," DePasquale said.

The Department of Human Services released a statement claiming the amount of money paid to dead people at about $330,000 -- less than half of what the audit found.

The DHS also says it has made changes to, "ensure only those who are eligible receive benefits."


  • Julie

    OMG! Talk about someone being asleep at the wheel!?
    Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, seems a “huge” shovel is needed to rid the dead weight on all levels that are not doing their jobs!

  • robertbb99

    The people spending the money 99% of the time is someone in the deceased person household. They know there is very little chance of being caught. Even when caught not much happens except they are told to pay it back (which few do). At least that is how it is where I work when we find out a claimant died. To even pursue criminal charges there has to have been a lot of money involved like way over 10K and the case has to be a slam dunk or the fraud people and the DA won’t pursue it because it will tarnish their stats.

  • Jeff Woehrle

    Perhaps one of “Barack Obama’s” most sterling accomplishments:

    More people on welfare in America than ever before.

  • Meatballkop

    And what has happened to the DHS workers that failed to refer these to the Inspector General’s office? The should be held liable!


    How about Scranton those people are getting SSI, food stamp, sect 8, etc..etc.. working under the table.. what’s the result?

  • Master0fPuppets

    I’d wager that 95% of them are registered active voters, and they’re all voting for Killary this year… and all voted for Hahama both times. This kinda sh*t drives me insane – dead people getting benefits, and I’m sure, full Social Security Disability, but I fight for disability 10 times over the past 15 uears – denied every time. makes me want to take a dump on the judge’s desk. Oh, did I mention the judge was middle-eastern, EVERY time? Several times, fell asleep during my testimony. Ugh.

    • Master0fPuppets

      You’re so right, I’m a miserable person, totally. Not only am I a disabled USMC Veteran, but most of my illnesses are from volunteering with the Red Cross at Ground Zero. I wrote 9 or 10 sentences out of anger and frustration, toward corruption and our country’s failure to take care of it’s own, yet give the shirts off our backs to refugees who we’re not even sure aren’t the ones attacking us on our own soil. Yep, that definitely tells you everything there is to know about me. You’re not getting another minute of my time. You’re not worth it. Enjoy talking to yourself from here on. I’m ignoring you.

    • Ron McLaughlin

      Are these thefts being investigated ? Should not be too hard, follow the $$ trail (where was it spent ,when ,cameras at where they where used ) is there even an effort to investigate ? Finally if (ever) these criminals are found will they be prosecuted ? Deported (if need be) and possessions seized ( in the commission of a crime -cars,jewelry etc.) to repay the taxpayers ?

  • Chuck

    Close the loophole. Chase these people down. Get convictions. Make restitution . There are penalties in place for punishment. It is called waste fraud and abuse. To make it a race issue is ill advised. Most people on welfare and food stamps are Caucasian. I know that doesn’t fit the narrative of the racists in here however it is true. Have someone look it up for you and read you the results.

  • Drinking until I get an access card

    I’d like to say, unbelievable BUT, who is in charge of making sure this doesn’t happen? I’m not surprised at all. PA politicians at their best with the relatives they hire collecting paychecks for doing nothing.

  • Sherry

    Not all people on welfare are dead beats .I worked all my life and then became disabled.i get $16 a month in food you tell me what you can buy with that besides a loaf of bread , milk and some bologna .I live with my mom because I can’t afford to live on my own .so don’t say all people on welfare are dead beats.

  • Jerry

    This is bull, I’m tired of paying for these people to go on vacation, pathetic. We’re out here killing are selves & paying these taxes for all are a disgrace to let people get away with this wow

  • Ivan The So-So

    People on welfare are deadbeats. My borough is full of them. And they have a problem with us, huh! Deadbeats, all of them.

  • reality

    What is just as concerning is that amount spent at resorts in Florida and in Hawaii?? I can’t afford to go to them places and if they truly are in need of assistance they shouldn’t be able to afford to go to them places either. Welfare needs to be looked at and reformed. Create more jobs to enforce the welfare programs and quit ripping hard working tax payers off.

  • Susan Conrad

    I get forms in the mail, fill them out and mail them back. Then, I lose my benefits until I go through days of aggregation. Yet 2300 dead people get benefits…..Wow!

  • Justin

    So every tax paying Pennsylvanian was robbed by our commonwealth…. and there are no repercussions? They were told to be more careful…..

      • Marvin

        I am sure he paid property taxes, lots of them, and he had lots of employees, and they bought things and paid taxes, so you would be shocked at how much a large business contributes to the local and national economy. But you are obviously a demoncrat, so your knowledge of facts eludes you.

    • Independents Tule

      Just for clarification ,what party held the govenor’s office and the state congress the year that the audit was conducted?

      • Johnkimball

        The liberal welfare state has become so firmly established in our society it doesn’t matter one bit which political party is in power. The welfare train rolls on. And if anyone tries to rein it in they are automatically labelled racist sexist bigot homophobe and their political career is over. So take that crap trying to blame it on republicans and shove it.

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