WILMINGTON — May is Public Assistance Fraud Awareness Month in Ohio, and Clinton County Job and Family Services (JFS) is spreading the word that “Fraud Costs All of Us”.
In Clinton County, about 11,000 individuals receive Medicaid, about 5,000 receive SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and 324 receive cash benefits. Almost 100 percent of all cash recipients are received by relatives caring for children.
Most individuals who receive public assistance are working, stated a JFS media release.
All programs require an eligibility process and the goal of all Clinton County JFS programs is self-sufficiency, said Kathi Spirk, the director.
There is a work requirement for food assistance recipients and those who may receive standard cash payments. There are work and training programs provided at the agency by Ohio Means Jobs.
In 2018, there were 320 open job interviews held, and 180 individuals were hired with 15 employers participating.
Each year, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services disburses more than $2 billion in 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, said Spirk.
It is imperative that all Clinton County JFS public assistance programs meet the high standards of policy compliance. Clinton County JFS’ anti-fraud efforts in 2018 processed 48 overpayment referrals, for a total collection of $51,123.77.
Those fraud recoupments are a combination of food and cash assistance, and Medicaid programs.
These efforts could not be possible without the partnership with local law enforcement, the Clinton County Prosecutor’s Office, and the courts, Spirk said.
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 Clinton County may report suspected public assistance fraud by calling Clinton County Job and Family Services at 937-382-0963, or going to www.jfs.ohio.gov/fraud .