Welfare Fraud is a crime that is defined in Minnesota Law by Minnesota Statute 256.98. It is a form of theft. Any person can be found guilty of fraud if they applied for public assistance benefits or assisted someone in doing so and it is learned that for some reason the actions taken caused the assistance given to be an amount greater than the party was actually entitled to receive.
Public Assistance Benefits
In Minnesota the most common are:
- Basic Sliding Fee Daycare Assistance
- Diversionary Work Program (DWP)
- General Assistance (GA)
- Health Care Coverage
- Medical Assistance (MA)
- MFIP Child Care Assistance
- Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP)
- Minnesota Supplemental Aid (MSA)
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
Reasons for Welfare Fraud
Failure to report changes in household composition, such as not advising the county of who is residing in the home and whether or not someone moves in or leaves. This includes adults and children.
Failure to report changes in income or assets. The income of all parties in a home must be reported as well as any changes in the amount. Other types of income changes can include an increase or decrease in working hours, the beginning or ending of employment, lay-offs, raises, cost-of-living increases, and income from a new or different source such as worker's compensation, pension income, re-employment benefits, etc.
Assets must also be reported as well as any changes received from them such as the receipt of a lump sum of money, receipt of an inheritance, the purchase or sale of real estate, stocks, motor vehicles, or recreational items, to name a few.
Avoid Being Found Guilty of Welfare Fraud
Report all changes no matter how large or small, some may affect benefits and some may not. If they do not, there is no problem. However, if they would affect your benefits, reporting the information when the changes occur will allow assistance benefits to be adjusted accordingly.