For Immediate Release:
November 17, 2017
DCF Recognizes Fraud Awareness Week
~More than $41 million in fraudulent public benefits stopped last year~
TALLAHASSEE – Governor Rick Scott proclaimed November 12-18, 2017 as Fraud Awareness Week in Florida. In recognition of Fraud Awareness Week, the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) reminds Floridians of the importance of preventing fraud and recognizes the outstanding efforts of DCF’s Office of Public Benefits Integrity (OPBI) for a record breaking year for preventing and recovering fraud in public assistance programs.
“I am proud of the diligent efforts made by OPBI, working every day to ensure that public assistance benefits are going to those truly in need and prevent benefits from going to those committing fraud,” said DCF Secretary Mike Carroll. “When our investigations find fraudulent activity occurring, immediate action is taken to handle the issue and hold the individual accountable.”
In Fiscal Year 2016-2017, OPBI’s benefits integrity program conducted 22,820 investigations resulting in $41.3 million in cost-avoidance savings (benefits not issued due to fraud detection) and 907 client disqualifications. This exceeds last year’s $32.8 million and a 26 percent increase in fraud prevention efforts. For every $1 expended by the state, the benefit integrity program returned $17.73 in cost avoidance.
During the same time frame, the benefit recovery program within OPBI processed more than 28,900 overpayment referrals and established 16,659claims valued at more than $43.6 million. This exceeds last year’s record year of $42.8 million. For every $1 expended by the state, the benefit recovery program produced $17.39 in accounts receivable claims to recover benefit overpayments. Additionally, recovered overpayments through the federal Treasury Offset Program collections reached an all-time record of $15.6 million, exceeding the previous year by $8 million.
If you are aware of someone who should not be receiving public assistance, report potential public assistance fraud online at www.myflfamilies.com/reportfraud.
The Office of Public Benefits Integrity is responsible for investigating public assistance fraud or misuse regarding the SNAP (food assistance), TANF (cash assistance), and Medicaid programs by individuals or merchants. DCF is dedicated to preventing, detecting, and recovering waste, fraud and abuse within the public assistance programs. Any time fraud is uncovered, OPBI refers the suspected fraud to the Department of Financial Services’ Division of Public Assistance Fraud and appropriate law enforcement for criminal investigation.
To learn more about this program, visit http://www.myflfamilies.com/service-programs/public-benefits-integrity.
Contact: DCF Press Office, 850-717-4450