MIAMI COUNTY — May is Public Assistance Fraud Awareness Month in Ohio, and the Miami County Department of Job and Family Services is spreading the word that “Fraud Costs All of Us.”
“The theme “Fraud Costs All of Us” is a reminder that people who obtain benefits through fraudulent means are improperly receiving and spending our tax dollars, putting themselves and their families at risk of sanctions and legal action, and affecting our ability to maintain the integrity of the programs we administer,” Commissioner John “Bud” O’Brien said.
In 2016, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services disbursed $2.4 billion in SNAP food assistance and $252 million in Ohio Works First cash assistance.
“Individuals who mislead caseworkers or lie on an application for benefits account for a very small percentage of the funding disbursed, but the department takes even the smallest fraud cases seriously,” added Commissioner Jack Evans.
According to the county’s Job and Family Services Director Teresa Brubaker, the department investigated more than 200 complaints of possible fraud in Miami County in 2016. More than $45,000 in overpaid Ohio Works First Cash, food stamps, Medicaid and childcare assistance was collected.
Fraud investigators have access to a variety of programs to enhance the effectiveness of conducting fraud investigations, Commissioner Greg Simmons said.
“Miami County fraud investigators work diligently to build positive relationships with a host of potential resources throughout the county, including law enforcement, prosecutors, local businesses, landlords, property managers and various other entities,” he added.
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 Miami County may report suspected public assistance fraud by calling the Miami County Department of Job and Family Services at (937) 440-3471 or going to www.jfs.ohio.gov/fraud.