May. 18, 2020

HARRISBURG – Rep. Ryan Warner’s (R-Fayette/Westmoreland) legislation aimed at ensuring proper use of Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards was approved today by the House Health Committee.

House Bill 2179 would close a loophole in the law as it relates to use of EBT cards by authorized representatives.

“Just as we have a responsibility as a society to help those in need, we also have a responsibility to protect our hard-working taxpayers from fraudulent use of their money,” Warner said. “Welfare fraud cheats the taxpayers and takes funds away from people who legitimately need them. My bill aims to help prevent that.”

Under current law, a person eligible for and receiving benefits can designate an authorized representative to use their EBT card, a common occurrence when the eligible individual is a child or a person who is unable to leave his or her home. Although the individual receiving benefits must sign a “rights and responsibilities” agreement, the authorized user does not.

In 2016, a Department of Human Services (DHS) audit discovered that the state’s inspector general is precluded from investigating and pursuing criminal charges against authorized users because DHS does not require them to review and sign the same information as cardholders.

House Bill 2179 would close this loophole by requiring authorized users for EBT cards to sign the same “rights and responsibilities” agreements as those who are eligible for benefits, holding all recipients and authorized users to the same standards of use.

The bill now goes to the full House for consideration.

Representative Ryan Warner
52nd Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Patricia Hippler
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