Reporting Public Assistance Fraud in Ohio
Those who report public assistance fraud in Ohio help maintain fairness in the network of public assistance programs designed to help some of the state’s neediest and most at-risk residents. OH public assistance fraud is a serious offense that takes many forms, from knowingly falsifying documents and misrepresenting information to exchanging benefits for cash. Welfare fraud has several possible penalties, and both the federal government and the state government work hard to prevent fraud and prosecute those who found guilty of intentionally breaking the rules of these programs. The penalties for public assistance fraud range from temporary disqualification from public assistance services for beneficiaries to criminal prosecution and imprisonment for retailers. Reporting public assistance fraud is important not only to prevent the mismanagement of valuable taxpayer funds but also help ensure that benefits are available to the families that need them most. Programs like Medicaid, unemployment insurance (UI), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) help millions of families across the country by giving them benefits they need to survive. SNAP fraud and other such offenses undermine the system and put these families at greater risk. If you are wondering, “How can I report public assistance fraud in Ohio?” review the following paragraphs.
What constitutes public assistance fraud in Ohio?
Ohio public assistance fraud comes in many forms, as there is a large number of public assistance programs that some residents abuse. Those who report public assistance fraud must be aware of the various types of fraud to ensure they provide the right information on their reports. One of the most common types of fraud involves providing false information on program applications. Many welfare programs, such as TANF and SNAP, implement income eligibility requirements to ensure they provide benefits only to those low-income families who need them most. These eligibility requirements are typically based on the household’s total income, with higher thresholds for households that have more family members. Concerned residents sometimes report public assistance fraud on welfare beneficiaries who knowingly provide false information about the number of members living in their household, who misrepresent their income, who fail to disclose additional sources of income or who even claim benefits under an alias.
Other types of welfare assistance fraud include continuing to receive benefits despite no longer being eligible to do so. This type of welfare program fraud is one of the most common with unemployment insurance, in which a small number of claimants continue to receive benefits after they have already found another job. One type of food assistance fraud is trafficking of benefits, which involves families claiming SNAP benefits and then selling them in exchange for cash. When reporting welfare fraud, you will need to provide information about what program is being defrauded and explain why you think the beneficiary is committing fraud. For more information on reporting welfare program fraud, download our comprehensive guide today.
Ohio Public Assistance Fraud Penalties
The penalties for public assistance fraud in Ohio range from relatively minor to very serious. The severity of public assistance fraud penalties depends on the type of fraud committed, the length of time the beneficiary defrauded the program and the amount of money that was stolen or misused. In the event of food assistance fraud, those who received benefits they were not entitled to can be required to pay them back and may be disqualified from participating in SNAP or other food assistance programs either temporarily or permanently depending on the extent of the fraud. However, nutrition assistance fraud committed by retailers carries much more severe consequences. Retailers that provide false information in order to become part of the SNAP program may face civil penalties, a $10,000 fine and imprisonment for as many as five years.
How to Report Public Assistance Fraud in Ohio
Those wondering, “How can I report public assistance fraud in Ohio?” have many options for doing so. When you report public assistance fraud, you will need to provide information about the recipient you believe is committing fraud and the nature of the offense. While you may provide your name and information, you have the option of remaining anonymous. A public assistance fraud report may be submitted to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) or directly to the federal government agency that administers the program. In the case of SNAP and other food assistance programs, you can report fraud directly to the United States Department of Agriculture, which can be done by phone, mail or online. OH public assistance fraud reports can be submitted through the ODJFS for all services, including food assistance, Medicaid, unemployment insurance, child care assistance, etc.
Some states offer a public assistance fraud reward program to encourage residents to report fraud. Under the welfare fraud reward program, residents of these states may be eligible to receive compensation when they report fraud, particularly if a significant amount of money is recovered from the case. While this welfare assistance fraud reward program may not be offered in Ohio, reporting welfare program fraud is still important to keep the programs operating as smoothly as possible. Learn more about reporting fraud by downloading our guide.