TOPEKA – The Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) is fighting benefits fraud by expanding its anti-fraud division and by introducing a new Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card. The card will replace the current Vision card. Both cards will continue to be accepted by all retailers that currently accept EBT cards. Only those applying for new benefits or those who need to replace a damaged, lost or stolen card will receive the Kansas Benefits Card.
“We expect this new card to be good for our clients and good for the State of Kansas,” DCF Secretary Phyllis Gilmore said. “The card includes a number of security features that will help us prevent benefits fraud and abuse.”
Beginning June 24, benefits cards will no longer be issued at area DCF service centers. All Kansas Benefits Cards will be delivered by the U.S. Postal Service. Delivery by mail is a strategy for the prevention of benefits abuse and the fraudulent issuance of the cards. It also minimizes the possibility that the cards will be used by those who are not approved to receive benefits. Additionally, mailing the cards discourages the repeated replacement of lost or missing cards.
The card also includes information where the card cannot be used. It reads, “Cash benefits cannot be transacted/used in any liquor store, gambling establishment or any adult oriented entertainment location. Misuse and/or selling of this card is unlawful.”
DCF recently added to its Anti-Fraud Unit a Director, Chief Investigator, two hotline administrative assistants and 16 fraud special investigators to its Anti-Fraud Unit. These professionals are trained to:
• Identify potential fraud/trafficking indicators
• Monitor patterns of activity indicating potential abuse by analyzing data collected from EBT transactions and activities
• Develop models of cross-link indicators to detect high-probability-of-fraud and trafficking situations
The fraud investigators currently monitor excessive EBT card replacement and manual EBT card entries (a possible indicator that a retailer and recipient are fraudulently processing transactions).
“Fraud is theft,” Secretary Gilmore said. “We are serious about identifying culprits of benefits card abuse and ensuring that only those who qualify for assistance receive it.”
Those who suspect benefits fraud can call 800-432-3913.
There are approximately 150,000 active EBT card cases in Kansas.
Kansas Benefits Card customer service is available by calling 800-997-6666, (TTY) 800-766-3777. The service line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Clients can also visit www.ebtEDGE.com