By Lydia Wheeler - 01/16/15 02:47 PM EST
The commonwealth of Pennsylvania will pay $48.8 million to settle Department of Justice claims that it doled out public assistance benefits to illegal immigrants.
DOJ said Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services gave illegal aliens benefits under three welfare programs: Medicaid, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families and Supplement Nutrition Assistance, formerly known as food stamps, from January 2004 to December 2010.
Under the Personal Responsibility Work Opportunity Act, only documented immigrants, who have been in the country for more than five years and meet certain low-income requirements, qualify for federal benefits programs.
“The Department of Justice will continue to ensure that everyone, including the states, follows the law, but also recognizes the importance of these programs administered by the state that are essential for lower income individuals,” said Joyce Branda, acting assistant attorney general for DOJ’s Civil Division.
“This settlement demonstrates our commitment to protect taxpayer funds and ensure they are used for their intended purposes.”