For Immediate Release:
Oct. 10, 2014
DCF Press Office
DCF Awarded Prevention Grant to Fight Food Stamp Trafficking
TALLAHASSEE—The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) awarded the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) $346,000 to help Florida prevent abuse of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps.
The money is a part of a SNAP Recipient Trafficking Prevention Grant and will be spent on improving the prevention, detection, and prosecution of SNAP abuse by analyzing fraud tracking and investigating retailers and program recipients to eliminate criminal activity.
“DCF continues to lead the country in groundbreaking public benefits fraud prevention, saving taxpayers more than $58 million last fiscal year,” Interim Secretary Carroll said. “I am proud of our team's continuing work to protect the identities of our clients and ensure only those who truly need help receive it.”
DCF’s Office of Public Benefits Integrity (OPBI) has seen unprecedented cost avoidance and increased security for Florida’s public assistance clients. In fiscal year 2014, the department’s efforts resulted in a savings of $58.8 million. In March, Governor Rick Scott honored DCF with a “Governor’s Savings Award” for innovative and proactive cost savings.
From July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014, the department conducted more than 25,500 public assistance fraud investigations into waste, fraud and abuse within the public assistance programs administered by the department and saved $32.85 million from fraudulently going “out the door.” In addition, OPBI identified $34.4 million in public assistance overpayments, and recovered more than $19.4 million in overpayment claims.
The department launched a first-of-its-kind fraud prevention initiative to combat public assistance fraud in May 2013. Florida was the first state in the country to implement a front-end customer authentication process, focusing on stopping fraud at the front door. The customer authentication tool produced an additional $25.7 million in cost avoidance savings and staff efficiencies. The tool ensures public assistance clients’ identities are verified, preventing fraudulent applications and ensuring benefits go to the individuals who need them most.
DCF determines eligibility for federal food assistance and Medicaid programs and conducts front-end fraud protection for individuals applying online. The department works closely with the USDA and the Division of Public Assistance Fraud at the Florida Department of Financial Services that investigate and prosecute retailer food stamp trafficking and other fraudulent public assistance programs.
For more information about DCF’s public assistance fraud prevention initiatives, or to report suspected fraud, visit www.MyFLFamilies.com/ReportFraud.