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Fraud claims

California has clarified the fraud referral process (ACL 13-89), and  issued a “California CalFresh Integrity Plan” that sets out how the state will address fraud that involves trafficking, sell, and conversion of benefits. These are all forms of Intentional Program Violations (IPV). The IPV process and penalties are set out below.  Applicants and recipients must cooperate in establishing eligibility in order to receive benefits.  This may include a home visit when documentary evidence is insufficient to provide “a firm determination of eligibility or benefit level”. [MPP §63-300.5(i); 7 C.F.R. § 273.2(f)(4)(iii).] Home visits must only occur on a case-by-case basis, and must be scheduled in advance with the household [MPP § 63-300.44]. The county must work out a time with the applicant for the visit before a worker comes, however it does not have to tell applicants the exact time of day of the visit. Applicants do not have to let workers visit their home, but this could lead to a denial of benefits.

Households, however, are not required to meet with one of its fraud investigators. See FNS Memorandum to Program Directors, Food Stamp Program Cooperation with Fraud Investigations (April 24, 2003).

California is piloting a “Work Number” verification system through Equifax.  With the rise in Identify Theft, Equifax may indicate that some has work earnings who did not work at indicated employer.  The counties using Equifax for verification are required to comply with certain steps to inform individuals how to contest disputed reports of earnings.  [ACIN I-41-14.]  Additionally, if taking an adverse action based upon an Equifax report, the counties must sent a Notice of Action that must include the following:

  • The name, address, and telephone number of the Credit Reporting Agency (CRA), (including a toll-free telephone number, if it’s a nationwide CRA), that provided the report;
  • A statement that the CRA did not make the adverse decision and is not able to explain why the decision was made;
  • A statement setting forth the consumer’s right to obtain a free disclosure of the consumer’s file from the CRA if the consumer makes a request within 60 days; and
  • A statement setting forth the consumer’s right to dispute directly with the CRA the accuracy or completeness of any information provided by the CRA.
  • The county must provide the client (“consumer”) with a copy of Exhibit 3 to ACIN I-41-14 (the Universal Membership Agreement)

http://www.equifax.com/answers/correct-credit-report-errors/en_cp has information and an on-line dispute form.  In addition, Equifax is required by that law to provide a one free Employment Data Report every 12 months. [15 U.S. Code § 1681j.]  To get the free annual disclosure call TALX directly at (866) 604-6570 or to the work number website.  (You must know your employee pin; if you do not know your pin , call the toll-free number, you can request your EDR via IVR phone system or talk to a phone agent who can manually credential you using “out of wallet questions.” Once you are credentialed, they are supposed to process the EDR and return it to you.