May is Public Assistance Fraud Awareness Month in Ohio, and HCJFS is spreading the word that “Fraud Costs All of Us.”
Each year, 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.
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 Hamilton County can report suspected public assistance fraud by calling HCJFS at 513-946-2217 or going to www.hcjfs.org/fraud or www.jfs.ohio.gov/fraud.
SELL BENEFITS, BUY TIME
- Selling less than $100 in benefits carries a prison sentence of up to one year and fines of up to $1,000.
- Selling benefits can result in a total of 20 years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines.
- One of the most common ways fraud is reported is by screenshots of social media.
- Selling benefits could result in a permanent loss of benefits.
FRAUD COSTS YOU
- Committing benefit fraud and could cost you any future benefits.
- Committing benefit fraud and could cost you your freedom, for up to 20 years.
Don’t believe it, listen to the story of one Hamilton County woman who found out the hard way.