Assistance programs often provide a bridge between difficult times and better times in people’s lives. These programs exist to help people with true needs. One of the challenges of providing services is identifying people who misuse or manipulate the system.
“Wright County Health & Human Services strives to get the right services to the right people at the right time,” says Director Jami Goodrum Schwartz. “To do this, we need to cut down on waste and fraud.”
From May 2018 to May 2019, there were 264 fraud cases opened for investigation in Wright County. Savings by closing a case based on the fraud findings amounted to $58,664. The amount of over-payments identified was $284,905.
Statewide, there were 9,795 cases investigated with a savings of $3.8M in closed cases. Over-payments cited statewide were $10M. Of the total state cases, 213 were criminally charged and 596 administrative waivers were signed. By signing a waiver, a recipient agrees to be disqualified from all programs except Medical Assistance.
Wright County’s fraud investigators note that the most common types of cases involve false information about household composition, residence and unreported income.
The public can help reduce program abuse by reporting possible fraudulent activity. “WCHHS will investigate each situation to protect the integrity of the programs we administer and to make sure services are received by the people that need them,” Goodrum Schwartz said.
Typical clues that may indicate fraud include:
1. A person does not have a job but has expensive possessions.
2. People are coming and going from a recipient’s home at all hours.
3. It’s unclear how has the recipient has been providing for their basic needs.
If citizens want to report a fraud case, they should be specific on why they believe someone is committing fraud. Provide the name of the individual; the address, if known; and a phone number for investigators to contact the person making the report. All reports remain confidential.
To report suspected fraud, contact the state’s Department of Humans Services (DHS) website https://fraudhotline.dhs.mn.gov or call 800-627-9977. The DHS forwards the report to the county where the recipient lives. All cases are investigated, and not all reports are legitimate cases of fraud.
Learn more: http://www.co.wright.mn.us/259/Fraud-Investigation