May is Public Assistance Fraud Awareness Month

Tuscarawas County Job & Family Services would like to bring attention to the fact that fraud costs all of us. Government assistance is income-based and those who qualify must provide verifications that they meet the low-income standards when applying.  After a case is authorized, the client is responsible for reporting any changes that may affect their eligibility.  When the client doesn’t report the change, and the agency becomes aware of the change, an overpayment or prosecution can occur.

Since May of 2022, there have been 50 fraud referrals made for investigation.  Most of the cases were referred from the food assistance program.  The fraud workers also reviewed some cash assistance and medical assistance cases.  So far, $44,837.00 in overpayments has been repaid.  Funds that were found to be overpaid are required to be paid back either in a lump sum or by payments.  Yearly income taxes are also obtained from the IRS if clients fail to make their payments.  Clients who are determined to have intentionally committed fraud to obtain benefits will also lose their ability to obtain benefits in the future, as well as face criminal prosecution.

Our agency allows the public to provide information on people committing fraud by either calling our agency at 330-339-7791 (ask for a fraud worker), or by using the agency’s website  www.tcjfs.org.  Information can be provided which will go directly to the fraud worker at the agency to review.  Reporters can remain anonymous.  It is necessary to be vigilant against fraud to allow the program to maintain its purpose of helping those in need.

Cooperation is key in uncovering fraudulent behavior, and we encourage the community to provide information to the agency if they feel fraud of government benefits is occurring.

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