Acts of welfare fraud constitute intentional misuse of various state-funded welfare programs. Such acts result in the delivery of welfare benefits to people who are undeserving of them, and consequently depriving those truly in need of vital resources. Generally, acts of welfare fraud involve misrepresentation, willful misstatement or omission of pertinent facts in order to receive benefits. Among the most common forms of welfare fraud include failure to report additional income, failing to disclose information about household family members, and giving false information regarding one’s inability to work. In some cases, people have likewise been guilty of welfare fraud by filing for benefits for feigned injuries or illnesses.
Welfare fraud acts, from the small fraudulent claims of unorganized individuals to extensive activities of organized criminal rings, have cost the government millions in misallocated benefits each year. It is considered an injustice toward people who rightfully deserve state assistance because of their social status, family circumstances, and personal conditions or disabilities.
To turn a blind eye to such injustice is an act of negligence. Therefore, if you know that someone is committing fraudulent acts in his welfare application and is misusing welfare benefits, speak up by reporting the fraud to the proper authorities.
As welfare fraud is a crime, its corresponding penalty is a felony conviction warranting imprisonment for many years. As this crime has been proven to have grown to extensive proportions in some parts of the country, several states currently offer large rewards for people who report a welfare fraud cases that lead to a conviction. Here are guidelines to help you go about reporting welfare fraud to the right authorities.
The first thing that you have to remember when reporting welfare fraud is that you need to be certain that it is happening. Gather pertinent data, such as details of instances when the fraud was committed, how long the fraud has been occurring, the names of people who are involved, their addresses and places of employment, and a list of names of witnesses who can verify the alleged fraud.
Use the Proper Channels
Once you have enough data to support your suspicions of fraud, contact the appropriate individual or welfare agency where you believe the fraud was committed or where the people involved with the fraud are currently living. Welfare fraud investigations are conducted on a County level in most U.S. states. You can find a list of contact information of welfare agencies and authorities on the United Council on the Welfare Fraud website: www.ucowf.org.
Opt for Online Reporting
Some people fail to report welfare fraud because of the inconvenience it will cause in terms of time, effort and money when personally filing a report at their nearest welfare agency. If this is the case, then online reporting is an alternative. In some states, welfare fraud can be reported via an online form. If you wish to be contacted for further clarifications for the duration of the welfare fraud investigation, you can indicate your name and contact details. However, an option to remain anonymous throughout the process is likewise available.
Welfare fraud is a crime. Help stop injustice towards people who need welfare benefits the most, and report welfare fraud when you suspect it.