Public assistance fraud targeted

Wood County Courthouse

(Submitted by Wood County Job and Family Services)

May is Public Assistance Fraud Awareness Month in Ohio, and Wood County Job and Family Services is spreading the word that “Fraud Costs All of Us.”

Agency staff have spoken on a local radio show, car magnets have been placed on agency cars, and reusable shopping bags with the Fraud Awareness log and local phone numbers have been distributed to area thrift stores and food pantries.

In 2016, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services disbursed about $2.4 billion in SNAP food assistance, $237 million in Ohio Works First cash assistance and $617 million in child care provider subsidies. Individuals who mislead caseworkers or lie on an application for benefits account for a very small percentage of funding disbursed, but the department takes even the smallest fraud cases very seriously.

Wood County was recently awarded a Certificate of Recognition for Excellence in Claims Management by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. Wood County ranked 2nd among all county Job and Family Services of similar size, establishing 246 claims and recovering $178,163 in over payments in 2016.

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 issues improperly. Residents of Wood County may report suspected public assistance fraud by calling Wood County Job and Family Services at (419) 373-6964 or (419) 373-6950.