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May 23, 2012 | By | Posted in Legislature

House unanimously passes bill to end ‘triple dipping’

Senate to consider bill in June
 
By Melissa Daniels | PA Independent
 
HARRISBURG — The House of Representatives unanimously passed legislation Wednesday to keep pension collectors from “triple dipping” into Pennsylvania's unemployment funds, a practice that cost the state some $2 million in two years.

 
House Bill 2346 looks to prevent retired state workers from collecting unemployment checks after returning to work in a temporary capacity as an annuitant. Nothing in state law prohibits former employees from doing so, but the new legislation amends the law to keep employees who voluntarily leave a position to maintain eligibility for pension benefits from collecting unemployment.
 
The bill "is part of a jobs package that amends the unemployment compensation law really to weed out fraud, and to make sure that those benefits for individuals who are deserving of those benefits,” House Majority Leader Rep. Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, said after the bill’s passage.
 
State Rep. Adam Harris, R-Juniata, sponsored the bill after learning of a constituent's concern about the practice. When former state employees take advantage of benefits, Harris said, it “tarnishes the reputation of state government and wastes public resources.”
 
The state says 459 annuitants engage in the practice in 2010 and 2011.
 
Senate officials expect the bill to be considered in June, said Erik Arneson, spokesman for Senate Republicans.
 
“Triple dipping is a major issue that the administration has publicly said can only be changed through legislation, so we are very much encouraged by today’s unanimous House vote,” Arneson said.
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