Pennsylvania Senate approves bill to end "triple dipping"

The Pennsylvania Senate unanimously approved legislation in October that would prevent state employees from collecting retirement benefits only to return to work and collect unemployment after leaving the job - a practice dubbed "triple dipping."

The legislation, H.B. 421, was introduced in January by Rep. C. Adam Harris (R-82) and stipulates that individuals who leave their place of employment in order to maintain retirement benefits are ineligible for compensation. The legislation had 31 co-sponsors when introduced and currently has 34 co-sponsors.

Individuals found to be in violation of the law will be required to pay a penalty of 15 percent of the amount of unlawful compensation to the Unemployment Compensation Fund.

Sen. John R. Gordner (R-27), the chairman of the state Senate Labor and Industry Committee, said the legislation will help protect the benefits of individuals who are legitimately out of work through no fault of their own.

"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."