Program Integrity (Fraud)
The Fraud Program is committed to the elimination of fraud and abuse of the public assistance programs and to ensuring the quality and accuracy of the public assistance programs. Program Integrity assures citizens receive benefits to which they are entitled and in the correct amount. It also prevents payments to families and detects and determines client misrepresentation. Program Integrity recovers all overpayments made in public assistance programs due to client error, client fraud or worker error. Recipient fraud can occur when a recipient makes a false statement or fails to report information to their county department of social services and receives public assistance benefits to which he or she is not entitled. The Rutherford County Department of Social Services Fraud Investigator is responsible for investigations, prosecution, and recovery of these overpayments.
Purpose of the Program
- Prevent fraud, misuse, or abuse of the public assistance programs so that benefits are available for the truly needy.
- Identify overpayments caused by error, abuse, or fraud in the public assistance programs
- Assure that recipient overpayments are recouped
When applying for assistance through a local county Department of Social Services it is very important that a person does not withhold important information.
Under North Carolina law, persons who do not give caseworkers necessary information to determine eligibility for programs such as Work First Family Assistance, Food Stamps, Medicaid, Energy Assistance, special and emergency assistance, and surplus commodities commit a crime.
The crime welfare fraud is committed when people:
- Receive or try to get help by giving false and inaccurate information, or withhold information
A person who is found guilt of welfare fraud can be:
- Placed in jail or,
- Fined and placed in jail
- Fined, jail sentence, and mandatory repayment of all benefits restored.
If you suspect fraudulent activity involving any public assistance recipients or desire additional information about the program, please call us at (828)-287-6173 or e-mail Paula Riggs. Any information you provide will be kept confidential. All reports will be thoroughly reviewed for investigation.