Public Assistance Fraud
Program Integrity Unit
The Program Integrity Unit seeks maintain the integrity for all programs of public assistance covered by Lincoln County Department of Social Services. We attempt to deter fraud through the use of education, early detection and prosecution. Every case that is referred to Program Integrity is assessed for over-issuance of benefits and if necessary disqualification or court action is taken.
It is against the law to make false statements or to willfully withhold information when applying for public assistance. If you do not provide truthful information or withhold information on an application or re-certification for public assistance you can be charged with fraud and/or disqualified from receiving assistance. Public Assistance Fraud is committed when someone receives or attempts to receive public assistance by providing the Department of Social Services inaccurate or false information or by withholding information to obtain assistance they are not qualified for. Improper use of benefits such as trading or selling benefits is also considered fraud.
If found guilty of fraud a person will be financially responsible to repay the full amount of benefits issued that were not qualified for, face potential criminal charges and jail time, and can be disqualified from receiving certain benefits. If found guilty of Food and Nutritional Services fraud you will be disqualified from receiving benefits for:
- First offense- 1 year
- Second offense- 2 years
- Third offense- permanently disqualified.
What can you do?
If you suspect someone is committing Public Assistance fraud please contact the Program Integrity Department at 704-736-8752, Monday through Friday (8am-5pm) or on a walk-in basis at Lincoln County Department of Social Services. You will speak with the Program Integrity staff who will investigate each report as it is received. Persons making a report can remain anonymous.
Prevent Public Assistance Fraud:
- Don’t hide or give wrong information to obtain benefits
- Do not trade or sell your benefits
- Don’t use someone else’s benefits
- Don’t use your benefits for someone else
- Report required changes promptly