Pa. Senate votes to end ‘triple dipping’ benefits

HARRISBURG (AP) – Pennsylvania state senators have approved a bill designed by state Rep. Adam Harris (R-Mifflintown) to end so-called “triple dipping” in which retirees come back to work and then leave to collect unemployment benefits.

Senators voted unanimously Monday on the bill, sending it back to the House where a similar version passed unanimously in March.

Under the bill, jobless benefits would be prohibited for people who are getting pensions but come back to work under a temporary agreement designed to preserve the employee’s pension or retirement pay.

The bill is aimed particularly at state workers who come back from retirement for no more than 95 days. Because the state makes them leave after 95 days or lose their pension, they’re currently eligible for unemployment compensation benefits.

“Pennsylvania taxpayers cannot afford and will not accept this gluttony of benefits,” Harris said. “My legislation will prevent reitrees from collecting money from three separate pots.

State Sen. John R. Gorder (R-Bloomsburg) said the bill is needed to preserve benefits for the unemployed who truly need them.

“Under current law, there is no prohibition against an individual collecting unemployment if he or she leaves a temporary job to continue retirement or annuity benefits,” Gordner said. “In the past three years, more than 600 state retirees have returned to work on a temporary basis and have then collected $2 million in benefits while receiving a state pension.”

The bill is expected to be presented to Governor Tom Corbett for his signature in the near future.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.