TOPEKA - Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) Secretary Phyllis Gilmore is pleased to announce that DCF's Anti-Fraud Unit has substantially increased investigations and judgments since it was created in 2011. The Unit is also utilizing new technology to combat welfare benefits fraud.
"Most benefits recipients are not abusing the system," Secretary Gilmore said. "For those who are, we're working hard to ensure the fraud stops so that only those who qualify for assistance will receive it."
In 2012, nine new fraud special investigator positions were created, to bring the Anti-Fraud Unit to a total of 16 investigators plus support staff. The group is spread across the state to cover DCF's four regions. In 2013, the Anti-Fraud Unit implemented a statewide fraud investigations and legal action case tracking system. The system creates nearly real-time ability to view and assess statistics, trends and types of investigations..
In fiscal year (FY) 2012, fraud investigations totaled 1,213. In FY 2013, they increased to 3,094. The total value of judgments in fraud cases for FY 2013 was $941.846. During the first quarter of FY 2014 alone, the Anti-Fraud Unit initiated 1,221 investigations and established judgments total $603,225. Today, for FY 2014, judgments total $1.3 million. The unit is currently on track to see a 34 percent increase in investigations and more than double the total amount of judgments compared to the previous fiscal year.
"I am proud of the good work the Anti-Fraud Unit is doing," Secretary Gilmore said. "Taxpayers deserve to know their hard-earned money is benefitting families in need, not criminals."
Ahead of a federal mandate this month, DCF began using a new tool to crack down on prohibited use of the Kansas Benefits Cards/Vision card. The Fraud Navigator is technology purchased from the current electronics benefits transfer (EBT) contractor that allows DCF the capability of identifying and blocking EBT transactions at restricted locations.