A Serious Crime: Eligibility Fraud
Some people withhold important information when applying for help through their county Department of Social Services.
Under North Carolina law, persons who do not give caseworkers necessary information to determine eligibility for programs such as Work First Family Assistance, Food and Nutrition Services, Medicaid, Energy Assistance, Special and Emergency Assistance, and surplus commodities commit a crime.
The crime fraud is committed when people (1) receive or try to get help by giving caseworkers false and inaccurate information, or (2) withhold information.
Read this information carefully.
Be sure to tell your caseworker all facts needed to determine the kind of assistance you are eligible to receive.
If you are not sure about the information your caseworker currently has, call immediately.
When you make a statement to your caseworker, provide complete information and be honest about the information you give.
Report any changes involving you or any member of your household to your caseworker today.
What Happens When A Person Is Found Guilty Of Committing Welfare Fraud?
A person found guilty of welfare fraud can be (1) fined, (2) placed in jail, or (3) fined and placed in jail.
People guilty of eligibility fraud may receive an even stiffer penalty. That penalty could include all of the following: a fine, jail sentence and mandatory repayment of all benefits received.
A person found guilty of welfare fraud will not be allowed to get assistance for:
- 1st offense: 1 year
- 2nd offense: 2 years
- 3rd offense: permanently
- 1st time court finding of purchasing illegal drugs with food stamps: 2 years
- Misrepresenting identity or residence to get food stamps in more than one place: 10 years
What Can Be Done?
If you suspect that someone is cheating the Department of Social Services, contact the DSS Fraud Hotline at: 336-570-6488 or call the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services through its CARE-LINE at 1-800-662-7030, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
People suspected of committing eligibility fraud will be investigated without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age or disability.