The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, is designed to help households make ends meet, but sometimes people abuse the system. SNAP fraud commonly includes redeeming food assistance benefits for cash, receiving benefits in more than one state and lying about the household income or assets to qualify. Not only is SNAP fraud illegal, it costs taxpayers millions of dollars each year. If you suspect fraud in Ohio, you can report it to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Service or the United States Department of Agriculture Office of the Inspector General.
Reporting to the State
The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services investigates reports of public assistance fraud. You may file an online fraud report against a store or a recipient. You are asked to provide your contact information in case the investigators have any questions, but can choose to remain anonymous. You'll need to include as much identifying information as possible about the store or individual, including the name, location, how you suspect fraud and date it began. Due to the state's privacy laws, the JFS will not be able to discuss the results of the investigation with you. You may also report fraud by phone at the Fraud Hotline at 800-627-8133.
Reporting to the USDA
The USDA runs SNAP on a federal level. If you suspect fraud, you can report it directly to the USDA Office of the Inspector General. You can report fraud to the OIG several different ways.
- Call 800-424-9121 or 202-690-1622.
- Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mail a written explanation of the fraud to the United States Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector at General PO Box 23399 Washington, DC 20026-3399.
- Complete the online form at "Submit a Complaint" on the OIG Hotline website.
Your identity remains confidential under the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989.
If there's enough evidence, a hearing is held to determine if the accused intentionally committed SNAP fraud. Under Ohio law, convicted individuals may be disqualified from the program for 12 months on the first offense. A second offense results in a 24-month disqualification. If the individual violates a third time, he is permanently disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits. If convicted of selling or trading benefits of more than $500, the individual is permanently banned from SNAP.