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Public Benefit OverpaymentsPrintE-mailPDF

What is an overpayment? An overpayment happens if you don’t report changes in income or household members to the County Department of Job and Family Services within ten (10) days from the date of change. Failure to report a change can be considered an intentional program violation. The County Department of Job and Family Services (CDJFS) or the Prosecutor’s office will decide whether you withheld information on purpose.

If your caseworker receives the information but does not take action to reduce benefits that may cause an overpayment. This is called an administrative error.

What benefits can be overpaid? Cash benefits and food stamps: AFDC, TANF; OWF and Food Stamps, now the Ohio Directions Card.

Can I be charged with welfare fraud and also receive a notice of overpayment from the CDJFS? Yes. The Prosecutor’s office determines if you committed fraud. The Prosecutor can take the evidence to the grand jury. Contact the Public Defender’s office for assistance if you are being investigated or have been charged with welfare fraud.

The CDJFS determines the overpayment amount after the criminal case is over. CDJFS will mail a written notice about the overpayment to you. If you disagree, you must request a state hearing within sixty (60) days of the mailing date on the notice.

How does the CDJFS collect an overpayment? If you currently receive benefits, your benefits will be reduced to repay the overpayment. If you don’t currently receive food stamps or cash assistance, any payment you make to the CDJFS is voluntary.

However, CDJFS may intercept your tax refund to pay an overpayment. Your federal tax refund can be intercepted to pay a food stamp overpayment. Your state tax refund can intercepted to pay a cash overpayment. You will receive a notice in October before the intercept. If you are making monthly payments on your overpayments, your tax refund will not be intercepted.

Can I be disqualified from receiving benefits? Yes. You can be terminated for fraud. Fraud does not mean that you simply made a mistake or forgot to tell your caseworker something. Fraud is something you do on purpose that you knew was wrong.

To prove that you committed fraud, the CDJFS must prove that you:

  1. told your caseworker a lie or something misleading on purpose; or,
  2. didn’t tell your caseworker something or hid facts on purpose; or
  3. did something on purpose that violated the law or regulations so that you could get benefits that you are not eligible for; or
  4. sold EBT or Directions cards.

Can I request a state hearing if I don’t agree with the decision of the CDJFS? Yes.

The CDJFS will review the evidence to determine if you withheld information. If so, a written notice of an intentional program violation will be mailed to you. If you disagree with this action, you must request a state hearing within 90 days of the mailing date of the written notice.

A state hearing may also be scheduled by the CDJFS if you don’t sign an agreement that you committed fraud and agree to be disqualified.

You can’t receive benefits while you are waiting for a state hearing.

A hearing officer from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services will review the evidence to determine if an intentional program violation was committed. The County Department of Job and Family Services must prove its case by clear and convincing evidence.

If you request a state hearing, call Legal Aid to request assistance.

If an intentional program violation did occur, you will be ineligible to receive benefits for a period of time: For example for an OWF 1st violation, 6 months; 2nd violation, 1 year; 3rd violation, permanent ineligibility.

Can the Department of Job and Family Services report my overpayment to credit bureaus? Yes. CDJFS is required to report delinquent and current consumer non-tax debt to credit bureaus. The CDJFS is required to provide 60 day notice to you before reporting a consumer debt to a credit bureau.

 

 

This article is meant to give you general information and not specific legal advice.
Prepared by Community Legal Aid Services, Inc. Updated April, 2012. CE-71-F222-CLAS

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