(New Philadelphia, Ohio) – Tuscarawas County Job & Family Services wants everyone to know that May is Public Assistance Fraud Awareness Month and that “Fraud Costs All of Us”.
The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services disburses more than $2 billion in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, more than $200 million in Ohio Works First cash assistance, and more than $600 million in child care provider subsidies. Individuals who mislead caseworkers or provide false information 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 2019, our agency received 145 referrals regarding fraud. There were 77 cases that were found substantiated for fraud abuse and 33 of those cases were intentional. When a person receives an intentional program violation, they can be barred from receiving benefits for the rest of their life. Those intentional fraud attempts totaled $67,046.
Once a fraud case is reported, our investigator gathers evidence and determines a monetary amount of fraud committed. There were 240 overpayments completed with a total of $218,468.68. An overpayment is not necessarily intentional but requires recoupment. The agency collected $44,624 from those overpayments in recoupment and $15,519 in cash from the recoupments. Those cases will continue to be ongoing until the recoupment is paid. We are also able to collect tax returns from those who owe overpayments and $63,790.74 was collected in tax offsets in 2019. Thanks to the diligence of our workers and the community, our agency received $30,053.39 for accurately determining, investigating, and prosecuting those committing fraud.
Applicants and recipients of public assistance programs are encouraged to report their circumstances accurately and timely in order to avoid facing potential criminal charges, program disqualification, and repayment of benefits issued improperly. Residents of Tuscarawas County may report suspected public assistance fraud by calling our agency at 330-339-7791 and ask to speak to a fraud worker. You can also report fraud on our website: www.tcjfs.org or by going to www.jfs.ohio.gov/fraud.