WAUSEON, OHIO – May is Public Assistance Fraud Awareness Month in Ohio, and the Fulton County Job & Family Services (FCJFS) is spreading the word that “Fraud Costs All of Us.” Reusable grocery bags promoting fraud awareness are being distributed at local grocery stores, reusable “chiller” containers were passed out at the Health Department’s Baby Fair, and the JFS staff will participate in training on fraud identifiers.
In 2013, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services disbursed about $3 billion in SNAP food assistance, $300 million in OhioWorks First cash assistance, $600 million in child care subsidies and $1.8 billion in state and federal unemployment compensation. Individuals who mislead caseworkers or lie on an application for benefits are believed to account for a small percentage of the funding disbursed, but the department takes even small fraud cases very seriously.
FCJFS Director Amy Metz-Simon comments, “Fraud is like a ‘little white lie’ – those simple things that count toward eligibility but aren’t reported. These include failure to declare all the income in your home, failure to notify our office of your return to work, and even claiming unmarried, when in reality the couple is married. These are just a few examples of fraud, but all impact the programs and the ability of the participant to receive assistance.”
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. Residents of Fulton County may report suspected public assistance fraud by calling Marsha Horner, FCJFS Fraud Investigator at 419-337-0010 option 2 for Public Assistance then option 4 to report fraud.