Tuesday, January 6, 2015

DSS: Cracking down on fraud


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DSS: Cracking down on fraud

Ryan Hanchett reporter@thefranklinpress.com   
PUBLICATION: Franklin Press, The (NC)

SECTION: News
DATE: July 18, 2014

Page: 1A


The Macon County Department of Social Services is in the process of cracking down on fraud. The Integrity Initiative is an amplified attempt to identify citizens who are inappropriately taking advantage of food and nutrition services.
Income maintenance investigator Chrissy Wallace will be leading the charge on fraud prevention along with DSS attorney Micheal Butler.
"Food stamps are a scarce resource and we need to make sure that the people who should receive those benefits can do so," Butler said. "I have the utmost confidence that she (Wallace) will find those people who have been, either knowingly or unknowingly, defrauding the system and ultimately we will be able to better serve the people who truly need the program." Macon County DSS had a fulltime fraud investigator until six years ago when funding cuts at the state level resulted in the position becoming part-time. During the 2014-15 budget process, Macon County DSS Director Jane Kimsey was able to find money to fill the position again.
"We were able to secure additional federal funding and make it work where Chrissy can spend her time solely on fraud prevention," Kimsey said. "Obviously, this Integrity Initiative is one that we are taking very seriously."
The program will begin by identifying people who are receiving food and nutrition assistance despite not meeting the requirements. Once those offenders are identified there are several recourse options for DSS to pursue.
"The most egregious offenders could face prosecution for fraud," Butler said. "Those who have made inadvertent errors on their applications or made a one-time error may face repayment of benefits used. If those benefits are not repaid, the county will utilize collection procedures and garnish future tax refunds, future benefits, or even lottery winnings."
Another option available to the department is an administrative disqualification hearing, which could potentially lead to suspension of benefits and a payment plan to repay any money received in food stamps inappropriately.
Addressing fraud in the food and nutrition services area of DSS is just the beginning. Wallace will eventually move on to Medicaid, energy assistance, transportation and child care subsidy fraud as well.
"Basically, if a person knows that they have been doing something wrong regarding their benefits they should come in and get it straightened out immediately," Butler said. "It is better to get ahead of it and pay it back willingly than it is to wait until it leads to withholding funds or criminal prosecution."
In 2013, a total of 3, 043 households used food and nutrition services in Macon County.
The total amount of benefits paid out through the program was $8, 834, 221. That money comes 100 percent from the federal government. The state and county split the administrative costs associated with the Department of Social Services equally.
"Having a fulltime employee to monitor the database will allow us to better identify any fraud that is taking place within the department," Kimsey said.
"There will not be any way to give one set of information when applying for Medicaid and a different set of information when applying for food and nutrition assistance or receiving social work services. Everything is going to be streamlined under one database that the investigator will have access to."
Anyone who has information regarding food and nutrition assistance fraud is encouraged to call Macon County Department of Social Services at (828) 349-2124.

Submitted to blogg:  By Gwen Taylor, PIO

Monday, December 15, 2014

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program


Macon County DSS will accept applications for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program known as LIHEAP, beginning Friday, January 2, 2015 for individuals and families with the lowest income.  All eligibility requirements must be met which includes income & asset guidelines. 

LIHEAP provides a one-time annual vendor payment to help households that are eligible with their heating expense. All households determined eligible for LIHEAP must provide the agency with the name of the vendor they would like payment remitted to.  All electric utility customers seeking assistance with their utilities bill must bring a copy of the bill for accurate account information.  You also must provide verification of  income.

Applications will be taken at Macon County Department of Social Services from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm and will continue through March 31st or until LIHEAP funds are expended.

For more information, please contact Macon County DSS at 828-349-2124.
 
Gwen S. Taylor, PIO

 

 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

LIHEAP


MACON COUNTY DSS

LOW INCOME HOME ENERGY ASSISTANCE (LIHEAP)

 

Macon County DSS will accept applications for the  Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program known as LIHEAP on Monday, December 1, 2014.  LIHEAP provides a one-time annual vendor payment to help eligible with their heating expense.

 

December 1st – December 31st:

 

To be eligible a household must have either:

·       An elderly person ages 60 and above OR;

·       A disabled person receiving services through the Division of Aging and Adult Services (DAAS)

·       In addition income guidelines must also be met.

 

January 1st – March 31st if LIHEAP funds are still available:

 

·       Applications will be accepted for all low income individuals and families.

 

CIP Program

 

In addition On December 1st the CIP program will be excepting applications for households needing assistance for their immediate heating needs and to alleviate their heating crisis.  Eligible households must meet criteria for heating assistance, which includes;  income limit which is less than 150%  of the federal poverty levels.   Also there must be one US Citizen in the household and a resident of Macon County.

 

The Crisis Intervention Program (CIP) will provide payment to the vendors for eligible households.  Also, required to be eligible households, you must have 10% or less LP gas, 15 inches or less of Fuel Oil/Kerosene or a Disconnect Notice from Duke or Haywood Electric Company.  Those that use wood as a heat source must have less than 1 cord of wood.

 

The Crisis Intervention Program (CIP) is to resolve the immediate  life threatening crisis, only minimum deliveries of 100 lbs. of propane, 100 gallons of fuel oil/kerosene, or 1 cord of wood will be approved. 

 

No appointments will be made for LIHEAP or CIP.

 

For more information, please contact Macon County DSS 828-349-2124.

Applications will be taken at Macon County DSS

located at 1832 Lakeside Drive, Franklin NC

 Monday – Friday from 8 am – 4 pm as long as funds are available.
By Gwen Taylor, PIO

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

2014 Crisis Intervention Program


The Crisis Intervention Program known as CIP will be administered by Macon County DSS.  Applications will begin on Monday, November 3rd  beginning at 8:00 am.  You must be in a LIFE THREATENING EMERGENCY/CRISIS.

 Applications will be taken for households needing assistance for their immediate heating needs and to alleviate their heating crisis.  Eligible households must meet all criteria for heating assistance which includes;  income limit which less than 150%  of the federal poverty levels..    The target population is that at least someone in the household is 60 or older, or be approved disabled, or have a household with a child five (5) years of age or under AND be in a life threatening emergency.   Also there must be one US Citizen in the household and a resident of Macon County. 

 The Crisis Intervention Program (CIP) will provide payment to the vendors for eligible households.  Also, required to be eligible, you must have 10% or less LP gas, 15 inches or less of Fuel Oil/Kerosene or a Disconnect Notice from Duke or Haywood Electric Company or natural gas provider.   If you have a disconnect notice you must bring the notice with you at time of application.   Those that use wood as a heat source must have less than 1 cord of wood.

 The Crisis Intervention Program (CIP) is to resolve the immediate life threatening crisis.  Only minimum deliveries of 100 lbs. of propane, 100 gallons of fuel oil/kerosene, or 1 cords of wood or a disconnect notice with the minimum amount to resolve the crisis will be approved. 
 
For more information, please contact Macon County DSS at 828-349-2124.  Application will be taken Monday – Friday from 8am – 4 pm as long as funds are available at Macon County DSS located at 1832 Lakeside Drive, Franklin NC. 

 For all other households the CIP program opens up December 1st and meet stated guidelines.
Gwen Taylor, PIO

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

February 3rd - LIHEAP


Macon County DSS will accept applications for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program known as LIHEAP, beginning Monday, February 3rd for individuals and families with the lowest income.  All eligibility requirements must be met which includes income & asset guidelines. 

 

LIHEAP provides a one-time annual vendor payment to help households that are eligible with their heating expense. All households determined eligible for LIHEAP must provide the agency with the name of the vendor they would like payment remitted to.  All electric utility customers seeking assistance with their utilities bill must bring a copy of the bill for accurate account information.  You also must provide verification of January’s income.



Applications will be taken at Macon County Department of Social Services from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm and will continue through March 31st or until LIHEAP funds are expended.



For more information, please contact Macon County DSS at 828-349-2124

Posted By Gwen S. Taylor, PIO

Monday, November 25, 2013

Low Income Housing Energy Assistance Program


MACON COUNTY DSS

LOW INCOME HOME ENERGY ASSISTANCE (LIHEAP)


Macon County DSS will accept applications for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program known as LIHEAP on Monday, December 2, 2013.  LIHEAP provides a one-time annual vendor payment to help eligible with their heating expense.

 December 2nd – January 31st:

 To be eligible a household must have either:

·       An elderly person ages 60 and above OR;

·       A disabled person receiving SSI, SSA, or VA disability AND receiving services through the Division of Aging and Adult Services (DAAS)

·       In addition income guidelines must also be met.

 
February 1st – March 31st if LIHEAP funds are still available:

 Applications will be accepted for low income individuals and families.

 
Applications will be taken at Macon County DSS

located at 1832 Lakeside Drive, Franklin NC

 Monday – Friday from 8 am – 4 pm as long as funds are available.



No appointments will be made for LIHEAP.

For more information, please contact
Macon County DSS 828-349-2124.

                                                                               Posted By Gwen Taylor 

Crisis Intervention Program


The Crisis Intervention Program known as CIP will be administered by Macon County DSS this year.  Applications will begin on Friday, November 1st beginning at 8:00 am.  You must be in a LIFE THREATENING EMERGENCY/CRISIS.

 Applications will be taken for households needing assistance for their immediate heating needs and to alleviate their heating crisis.  Eligible households must meet all criteria for heating assistance.    The target population is that at least someone in the household is 60 or older, or be approved disabled, or have a household with a child five (5) years of age or under AND be in a life threatening emergency.   Also there must be one US Citizen in the household and a resident of Macon County. 

The Crisis Intervention Program (CIP) will provide payment to the vendors for eligible households.  Also, required to be eligible, you must have 10% or less LP gas, 15 inches or less of Fuel Oil/Kerosene or a Disconnect Notice from Duke or Haywood Electric Company or natural gas provider.   If you have a disconnect notice you must bring the notice with you at time of application.   Those that use wood as a heat source must have less than 1 cord of wood.
 
The Crisis Intervention Program (CIP) is to resolve the immediate life threatening crisis.  Only minimum deliveries of 100 lbs. of propane, 100 gallons of fuel oil/kerosene, or 2 cords of wood or a disconnect notice with the minimum amount to resolve the crisis will be approved. 
 
For more information, please contact Macon County DSS at 828-349-2124.  Application will be taken Monday – Friday from 8am – 4 pm as long as funds are available at Macon County DSS located at 1832 Lakeside Drive, Franklin NC. 

                                                                                                                          Posted By Gwen Taylor