To combat hunger, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) helps households in need pay for food. In Arkansas, the Department of Human Services specifies the rights and responsibilities of all SNAP recipients. Certain actions are classified as fraud, including selling or trading benefits for cash, using the program to buy alcohol or tobacco or giving false information on an application. If you suspect fraud, file a report with the state of Arkansas or the United State Department of Agriculture.
Arkansas Department of Human Services
You can file a confidential report with the Arkansas Department of Human Services through the fraud and abuse hotline at 800-422-6641. You'll be able to speak directly to a special investigations agent during business hours. If you call after business hours, you can leave a message or provide your contact information to have an agent return your call. Reports are confidential, which means your name won't be used in the report. However, the agency may contact you with follow-up questions to help with the investigation.
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United States Department of Agriculture
Although states set implement SNAP locally, the USDA administers the program on a federal level. You can report fraud directly to the USDA. You can report any type of SNAP fraud to the USDA. However, they recommend reporting the fraud to the state if it involves lying about household income or assets to obtain benefits. Your information is kept confidential and is never disclosed to the suspect. There are various ways to report fraud, including:
Your report should include as much information as possible. Provide details about the type of fraud that occurred, including any dates and locations. Help identify the suspect by providing his name, address, date of birth and place of employment.
Consequences of Fraud
If there is enough evidence to suspect fraud, an investigative hearing is held. If found guilty of fraud in Arkansas, consequences can include temporary or permanent disqualification from SNAP. Additional consequences are up to $250,000 fines and/or up to 20 years in prison. Federal prosecution for SNAP fraud includes a mandatory jail sentence.