In Illinois, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program helps low-income households purchase food. The goal is to provide healthy and nutritious food for people who can't afford to purchase groceries. Unfortunately, some misuse the program. SNAP fraud can occur when a person sells his benefits or lies on the application about household income, assets or people living in the home. Retailers can commit SNAP fraud by abusing the program and not following the rules or guidelines. If you suspect fraud, you can report it online, over the phone or through the mail.
Report food assistance fraud by completing and submitting the "Report Fraud" form found on the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services website. If you prefer, you can report fraud over the phone by calling the state's Fraud Hotline at 844-453-7283.
Complaints may also be filed through the United States Department of Agriculture's Office of the Inspector General. You can use the online form or report fraud over the phone by calling 800-424-9121. Written complaints are also acceptable. You can mail the written complaint to:
United States Department of AgricultureOffice of Inspector GeneralPO Box 23399Washington, DC 20026-3399
To assist with the investigation, provide as much detailed information as possible. Include the subject's full name, age, date of birth and address, employment information, sources of income and assets. If you suspect there are household members the subject failed to list on their application, include the names and relationship to the subject, such as "friend" or "dad." If you believe the subject is collecting benefits from a deceased relative or household member, provide the decedent's name and date of death.
Your contact information is requested in case further communication is needed during the investigation. Your testimonial and statements may be needed to take action. According to the USDA, your information remains confidential and won't be revealed. Although you can submit an anonymous report, the inability to speak to you may hinder the investigation.
Consequences of Fraud
If the subject is convicted of SNAP fraud, consequences can include temporary or permanent disqualification from the program. The recipient also may be required to repay benefits obtained illegally. Retailers guilty of SNAP fraud can face criminal charges, which if prosecuted can result in restitution payments and jail time.