State representatives should move quickly on Monday to close a loophole that allows state retirees to also collect unemployment as well as their pensions.
It's an outrageous situation that already has cost taxpayers more than $2 million, and it needs to stop immediately.
Basically, after they retire and begin collecting their pensions, former state employees can be hired back for up to 95 days as contract employees when their expertise is needed. Clearly, there can be valid reasons for such actions, such as training new employee.
If the retirees work for more than 95 days, their pension benefits are affected, so typically they have a contract for a shorter period. The problem is after their contracts are up, some retirees then file for unemployment compensation based on their "involuntary" termination.
Essentially this is triple-dipping: The person receives a pension check, a temporary check as a contract employee of the state and then an unemployment check when their contract ends.
And, unbelievably, under state law, they qualify for unemployment compensation on top of their pensions.
That just isn't right, and it's happening hundreds of times. PA Independent reports that House aides found 459 pensioners who worked as contract employees and then filed for unemployment in 2010 and 2011, costing taxpayers about $2.1 million.
This is why state representatives should vote unanimously on Monday for House Bill 2346, which specifies that people who leave a job, such as contract employees, to preserve their retirement benefits are ineligible for unemployment compensation.
Senators also should quickly follow suit and send this measure to the governor.
It's time for this triple dipping to stop.