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  1. #1

    Default Food Stamp And Welfare Fraud

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: Pennsylvania.

    I am being accused of welfare fraud for making a mistake on paperwork a month after being in a near fatal car accident and going through a windshield. I had no idea what was really going on until a good 4 months after the accident. Now 2 -1/2 years later they are coming after me and saying that I was overpaid and I have to go to court for a criminal case!! I have never done anything to anyone or committed any crime my entire life.
    I have post concussion syndrome, PTSD, and post traumatic vertigo, to name a few of my problems since the accident. I recently started receiving SSI due to my not being able to work. My short term memory is shot, and my anxiety has only been worsened by these accusations. When i applied the first time it asked who lived with me. I listed both of my children but was only applying for my daughter and myself. I also applied for medical benefits just for her and I. Just becuase my son lived with me doesn't mean that he turned his pay check over to me. He paid for our cell phone and other household bills. I was being honest when I said he lived with me. I was answering the questions the best to my ability at that time.

    Has anyone else been accused of something like this that they did not intentionally do??

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Dauphin County, PA
    Posts
    439

    Default Re: Food Stamp/welfare Fraud

    You listed both your children live with you but did the Welfare office know that your son help pay for some of the household bills?

  3. #3

    Default Re: Food Stamp/welfare Fraud

    No, I didn't list it at the time because I had no idea what he would have to help me with. I forgot to mention that 3 days prior to the accident my ex-husband was told to leave because he was suddenly acting delusional and later found to have schizophrenia. So I was not even aware of how I was going to pay for anything at that point. Everything happened so fast and then I was in the hospital for 3 weeks.
    It seems that they are trying to say that my son's income was all going into our home when it wasn't. He had car payments, etc., his own bills, on top of helping me out when I needed it. Eventually I got alimony and my mother also helped me out when she could. That wasn't called countable income since she as pretty much lending me money to survive.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Dauphin County, PA
    Posts
    439

    Default Re: Food Stamp/welfare Fraud

    He may not have given over his whole check but his giving and paying some of it should have been reported. And I am unsure by the way you wrote it but did you tell the Welfare office that your mother helps out when she can and that your receive alimony?

    Just because you didn't know if your son was going to help out right when you filed the application isn't much of a defense considering on all the papers you should have received explaining how much you were going to be received and how much you bills were there is always a statement saying "if there is a change in spending and income you must notify the office with in x amount of days."

    If you had notified them of the changes there is a chance the amount of food stamps might not have been altered or it could get lowered. Which is now why they are saying they overpaid you, because you failed to notify them.

    You're going to need to get a lawyer for this.

    I'm assuming since you said that they are going to pursue this criminally that the OIG has sent you notification of this. Unfortunately, I was only able to find that in times of overpayment a reason of "al to of things going on at home and not understanding the forms and how it works" only works for Cash Benefits and not Food Stamps.

    If you go to court over this overpayment this is what is likely to happen. Taken from the PA welfare Site.

    . OIG may instead decide refer your case to the District Attorney’s office, especially if you were overpaid a lot of money, or if you have had overpayments before. If they do this, you will probably be charged with criminal fraud. If this happens, you will go before a judge who can do one of three things: Order you to pay back the money; Disqualify you from getting welfare for six months to life; or Order you to pay a fine. Very few people go to jail for welfare fraud. But a criminal record may make it harder for you to get a job or an apartment or a loan in the future.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Dauphin County, PA
    Posts
    439

    Default Re: Food Stamp/welfare Fraud

    I also forgot to add that if your son wasn't buying and making his own meals his income should have been added from the beginning.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Food Stamp/welfare Fraud

    Thanks for all the information. My Mother helping me out was not countable income since I paid her back for what she had given me. That was only until I started to get alimony. Which I did report as income.
    Unfortunately because I was really not understanding too much at the time I applied, due to the memory losses and seriously just not really knowing what was goiing on half fo the time, I failed to fully comprehend the paperwork. They are saying that my son's entire income should have been counted as household income. I cannot see how that can be since he had his own bills, etc.. He also didn't live with me full time part of 2006 and 2007, which they fail to believe. They are saying that they ovepaid me $3,000.00, and I have to go before a magisterial judge at district court for a preliminary trial.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Officially across the country from where I've been all my life
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    3,537

    Default Re: Food Stamp/welfare Fraud

    I think you are severely missing the point and they are going to nail you on it. Your mother put money into the household. Whether or not you paid her back is not the point. You are to report every DIME that comes into your house, which includes your son's paycheck. If he wanted to be independent and live independently, then he should have done so in his own household, but then of course, you're going to say that he couldn't afford to live independently, thus he was benefitting from the welfare money coming into the home.

    You can use this story about you having PTSD and a concussion and you not understanding the paperwork if you want to, however, there are phone numbers you can call, people you can talk to and people that can and will assist you in completing your reports if you had just asked them.

    In reality, jail time is probably not going to happen, however, you will probably be put on probation, be made to pay back the money you were overpaid, and possibly be banned from the welfare program for anything from a number of years to a lifetime.
    If you wanted babies all to yourself, you should have created them by yourself. Until you do that, children have the right to BOTH parents, especially since you found them suitable to procreate with.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Food Stamp/welfare Fraud

    This is NOT a story I am using, it is all the truth. Apparently no one wants to hear the truth and I will end up being raked over the coals for being honest about my condition and anytihng else that iI say.
    I do have PTSD along with a bunch of other mental and physical disorders steming from the accident that in turn made me have to apply for the food stamps. After being examined and treated for over 2 years and being diagnosed with all of this, I am pretty sure that the doctors aren't lying.

    My mother did not just hand over cash whenever I needed it, she bought paper and cleaning supplies for me along with paying for our moving truck and movers when we had to move. I do not see how that is countable income, since it was money that I had to borrow in order to survive. Ans no I am not going to say he could afford to live independently, he chose to stay with me because I couldn't function completely for quite some time. As far as him benefitting from welfare MONEY, I never received anyhthing but the food stamps and medical help. My son works 2nd shift and eats at the place he works. He also brought home and still does, food and other things that we need every week.

    I never asked for a thing from anyone my entire life, and was embarrassed to even apply for the food stamps. None of this has been easy and now treating me like a criminal is just ridiculous. I worked my entire life, and was always very independent.
    There are so many people out there who are truly screwing the system and never get caught. I accidently mis-read paperwork and I am suddenly a criminal.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Officially across the country from where I've been all my life
    Posts
    3,537

    Default Re: Food Stamp/welfare Fraud

    Again, I think you are missing the point....

    Your mother may have not given you money, but she purchased goods for the house. Look at a copy of your old reports, I know here, you are to report anything and EVERYTHING that comes into your house, which includes whether or not someone gave you things for your household.

    No one is disputing that you may have some medical condition, what I'm saying is that it may not get you very far if you are considering using it as a defense.
    If you wanted babies all to yourself, you should have created them by yourself. Until you do that, children have the right to BOTH parents, especially since you found them suitable to procreate with.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Dauphin County, PA
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    439

    Default Re: Food Stamp/welfare Fraud

    How long were you receiving food stamps? In Pa every 6 months you must submit a review and have an interview to see if things have changed. . If you had a review that would have been the latest time you could have told them about the changes, aside from the 10 days.

    You're still not getting that even though your son had his own bills and such he still provided some to the household therefore his income needed to be included. Otherwise when they review your case and see that your bills you pay exceeds your income it turns up red flags.

    If you were confused you should have asked your case worker(s) questions before signing forms, one of the forms stating that everything you have told them is the truth.

    You really should speak to a lawyer about this, it won't be easy to go it on your own.

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