Joint workgroup seeks proactive ways to reduce benefit fraud

The OIG’s Benefits Program Integrity team has established a workgroup with Texas Health and Human Services Access and Eligibility Services to discuss current fraud prevention methods and proactive efforts to reduce benefit fraud.

Through the partnership, Access and Eligibility Services is exploring opportunities to enhance fraud prevention efforts on benefit applications by better understanding the definition of household composition and the required number of household members. Household composition and total household income are significant factors in establishing the eligibility and allotment of funds for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

Clients who knowingly or mistakenly misrepresented their household when applying for medical, nutrition and financial assistance made up 50% of benefit investigations during the previous quarter of fiscal year 2024. Clients must return any overpayments regardless of whether the misrepresentation was a mistake or purposeful.

In turn, the OIG team is sharing their expertise on what eligibility staff should look for during the application process and how to determine when to refer a client to the OIG for investigation.

When applying for benefits, clients must understand that providing false information can result in administrative disqualification and prosecution. By working together to prevent fraud before it can occur, the joint effort will ensure resources are available for those truly in need.