MDHHS receives Framework Grant
By Journal Staff
LANSING — Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General is the recipient of one of five SNAP Fraud Framework Grants awarded by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service.
The OIG received $749,987 to implement innovative concepts and best practices over the next three years aimed at improving state efforts to detect, investigate and prevent the misuse of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program program benefits, MDHHS said in a news release.
“Michigan is committed to helping families in need put food on the table,” MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel said. “This grant will help improve recipient fraud prevention, detection and investigation efforts for Michigan’s SNAP program, which will help ensure these benefits are being used properly and beneficiaries are not affected by bad actors fraudulently using their benefits.”
The award will support a variety of program integrity efforts including investment in computer forensic examiner software and hardware to assist in cybercrimes associated with SNAP. OIG will collaborate with MDHHS’ Economic Stability Administration to provide targeted education to beneficiaries through media campaigns that inform recipients about the security of their Electronic Benefits Transfer cards.
OIG investigators and managers will attend a nationally recognized training course on investigative interviewing techniques.
“We appreciate FNS for supporting Michigan’s fraud prevention efforts,” Inspector General Alan Kimichik said in a news release. “The SNAP Fraud Framework grant will assist OIG in their work to investigate fraud, waste and abuse in the SNAP program administered by MDHHS and to increase program integrity and accountability. This work benefits all Michigan residents by helping ensure that funds for public assistance programs are available to families that truly need them, and that taxpayer dollars are spent on their intended purpose.”
Michigan will also implement and test their EBT vendor’s integrated fraud management tool that pairs with the EBT distribution system for fraud control and monitoring. The tool provides analytics, monitoring, alerts and cardholder notification of potentially fraudulent activities, which will allow MDHHS to better monitor and identify potential skimming, trafficking and/or cloning of EBT cards.
OIG has consistently led the nation in identification, investigation and prosecution of public assistance fraud, MDHHS said. With the recent explosion of debit card cloning and skimming, educating recipients and others on methods to protect their SNAP EBT card and benefits remains a challenge. In addition, the prevalence of dark web sales of citizen’s SNAP EBT card information has created a growing environment for bad actors.