Murt Bill to Change Department Name to ‘Human Services’ Heads to Governor’s Desk
HARRISBURG—Rep. Tom Murt’s (R-Montgomery/Philadelphia) bill to change the name of the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) to the Department of Human Services is now headed to the governor’s desk for his signature.
“I am pleased this bill will soon become law,” Murt said. “Not only does the new name more accurately reflect what the department actually does, but it also removes a stigma that’s been placed on the people and families who have relied on the department for their health and well-being.”
Murt noted the agency’s mission is to promote, improve and sustain the quality of family life; break the cycle of dependency; and protect and serve Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable citizens.
“Only one of the department’s seven program offices deals with what one would consider welfare,” Murt said. “Pennsylvania is the only state still calling its human services department ‘welfare.’ Even the state’s county governments had eliminated the term.”
The legislation would phase in the name change to limit the costs of the alteration. House Bill 993 also establishes an anonymous Department of Human Services fraud tip line by requiring the department to create a toll-free telephone number and email to report suspected fraud or abuse. All credible complaints would be subject to a thorough investigation or referred to the Office of Inspector General. The department would submit annual reports on its fraud prevention activities to the governor and General Assembly as well as make it available online.
Murt acknowledges that a name change alone will not change a culture, but it is a means to an end.
“If we want a department that truly places a priority on helping Pennsylvanians live more meaningful, independent lives, then change the name to reflect the mission,” Murt said. “If we want to reduce or eliminate welfare in Pennsylvania, let’s start with the name.”
Representative Thomas P. Murt
152nd District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: David Foster
267.207.0207 / 
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