May is Public Assistance Fraud Awareness Month in Ohio, and the Fayette County Department of Job and Family Services is spreading the word that “Fraud Costs All of Us.”
Fayette County Department of Job and Family Services employs a full-time trained fraud and benefit recovery investigator. The investigator works with local and state agencies, including law enforcement in the investigation and prosecution of fraud activities.
Some types of investigative techniques used is undercover surveillance, grocery store video and reports received from community residents. There are many resources available that our agency can utilize in the fight against fraud. Individuals found to be committing fraud are removed from the program, must repay any improperly obtained benefits, and may face criminal charges and jail time.
In 2015, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services disbursed about $2.5 billion in SNAP food assistance, $259 million in Ohio Works First cash assistance and $573 million in child care subsidies. Individuals who mislead caseworkers or lie on an application for benefits account for a very small percentage of the funding disbursed, but the department takes even the smallest fraud cases very seriously.
In 2015, Fayette County DJFS investigated over 2,251 fraud complaints (employment, household composition, trafficking). A total of 33 cases were referred for criminal action. Those cases resulted in $107,640.95 being received by individuals fraudulently. Twenty-seven of those plead guilty. The agency has collected $110,880 worth of benefits received fraudulently or in error in Cash Assistance, Food Stamp, Medicaid, and Child Care.
Fayette County Department of Job and Family Services asks for your help in the fight against fraud. To report welfare fraud, you may contact Fayette County Job and Family Services at 740-335-0350 or go to JFS.Ohio.gov/Fraud
Fayette County Department of Job and Family Services submitted this article.